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J.M. Favill

J.M. Favill

Federal (USV)


Josiah Marshall Favill

(1840 - 1913)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Regimental Adjutant

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 57th New York Infantry

Before Antietam

He came to New York with his family at age 3. By April 1861 he was a student in Jersey City, NJ, and he enlisted for 3 months as Private in Company C, 71st New York State Militia. He served with them, including in action at First Bull Run, until muster-out on 30 July. He recruited troops and enrolled in the 57th New York Infantry on 21 September 1861, mustering into Company A as 2nd Lieutenant on 12 November 1861. He was promoted to First Lieutenant and Adjutant on 7 March 1862.

On the Campaign

About 9 o'clock [on September 17] our division was ordered to follow French, now commanding the Third division across the river, and promptly fell in, marched around the base of the hill into the valley, and crossed at a shallow ford, Caldwell and Meagher in front. We filed off to the left along the stream, and lay down, while Meagher's brigade supported by Caldwell moved forward to the attack up the hill directly in front. As they approached the summit, they were met by a severe musketry fire, and were shelled by many guns from different directions. The first thing I noticed was General Meagher slip from his horse, and some of the men carrying him to the rear. His brigade, however, marched forward to the crest in beautiful style, but were unable to make further progress. They remained standing in line of battle, loading and firing as fast as they could, their men falling in the ranks every second, and we could see them gradually melting away.

Just then Captain Norvell, of General Richardson's staff, came along, and ordered us forward to relieve them. The order to fall in was given and with nervous force, teeth firmly set and without a word spoken, we marched steadily forward. As we approached the Irish brigade, it opened files and we passed through, immediately coming under a terrific fire of musketry, and artillery. Caldwell, in the meantime, had gone in on our left and gained considerable ground, reaching the crest of the hill. The enemy were in plain sight a very short distance below, and the Fifty-seventh and Sixty-sixth were ordered to charge, which they did, in a most gallant manner, led by Colonel Parisen on horseback. Down the slope, over a sunken road strewn with dead and dying, and into a cornfield pell mell we went, driving the flying rebels before us in splendid shape, bayoneting all who did not promptly surrender.

We finally reached a house, since known to be the Piper house, and came under a converging fire or rebel artillery and so were ordered back again, and to the left, taking a position on the slope of the hill overlooking the cornfield. Here the regiment became scattered, and it was some time before it was gotten together under the severe artillery fire.

Just at this time Colonel Brooke came up and ordered me to join his staff as aide-de-camp in place of Lieutenant Potts, carried from the field badly wounded. The first thing to do was to reorganize the line. Richardson, on the left, while directing the batteries and infantry as they fell back into new positions, was severely wounded and carried from the field. There was a considerable gap on our right and Colonel Brooke directed me to move up the regiment on the left of Caldwell's brigade to close it as the enemy were advancing, and there was danger of our line being broken. I walked across the field right on the edge of the cornfield, my ears fairly burning with the singing of the deadly minnie, I could see nothing, but the tips of the cornstalks were constantly toppling over, cut by the rebel infantry fire. When I reached the infantry line, it was lying flat down, and proved to be the Sixty-first New York, commanded by Barlow. The colonel was lying down, too, and I directed him by order of Colonel Brooke, to move by the left and close up the gap. To my surprise, he refused to budge, saying he did not recognize Colonel Brooke's authority. The balls were whistling around me as I stood arguing with him, almost beside myself for chagrin, when Brooke suddenly made his appearance. I told him the colonel refused to recognize his authority, and he, very angry, ordered him instantly to move forward. Barlow got right up, advanced the regiment, and taking the rebels in the flank, gave them a severe drubbing, getting shot himself badly, which I am afraid I thought served him right.

Soon afterwards Brooke and I, entirely alone, started for the brigade on the left. As the firing was rather serious, we walked some distance down the side of the hill and then started across. All of a sudden a section of rebel guns appeared on the crest of the hill, unlimbered, and opened fire; they saw us immediately and fired one gun at us exclusively, until we were out of sight, I told the colonel we were certainly in for it now, but he said he did not believe they could hit us anyway, and so we kept right on; the gun plowing up the earth with canister all around us, scattering the dirt and stones everywhere. A piece of shell cut off the colonel's sword knot, but wonderful to relate, did no further harm. We were not more than seventy-five to one hundred yards distant, on open ground, and could see the operation of loading and firing and the flame of the burning powder bursting out of the cannons' mouth perfectly. As the colonel seemed to care little for it, and took matters so coolly, I kept up my courage and we talked and walked away until out of range. As soon as the line was re-established we quickly drove these fellows back and so far as we were concerned, the battle was over.

While we lay on the ground in position the enemy charged French's line on our right, but they were so far off when they started, and were in such loose order and small force, that we could easily see they were beaten before they got within range. Cannon everywhere opened upon them, and French's line, when they came within range, delivered a fire that sent them back much quicker than they advanced. While they were passing our right I took a sergeant's musket, and fired several long range shots, using the adjustable sight on an Enfield piece. I tried hard, but think it doubtful if I hit any of them ...

The rest of the War

He was reassigned as First Lieutenant of Company H on 14 April 1863 and was assigned to General Zook's staff as Acting Assistant Adjutant General (AAAG) until the General was killed on 3 July at Gettysburg, when he was appointed Judge Advocate for the First Division (Caldwell's), 2nd Corps. He was made Captain of Company A on 14 November 1863. He was on sick leave and then court martial duty in Washington DC into December 1863. He transferred to Company F on 30 June 1864 and mustered out with them on 11 August 1864. He was honored by brevets to Colonel, US Volunteers and Major, NY Volunteers in March 1865.

After the War

Living in Brooklyn, he was successful in the transportation business in the Produce Exchange in New York City.

References & notes

Basic service information from the State of New York.1 Further details, the quote above, and the photo here from his Diary.2 Life dates from family genealogists and his obituary in the New York Tribune of 23 April 1913 posted online by Sue Greenhagen.

More on the Web

New York University awards the Josiah Marshall Favell Prize annually; Favell had endowed that prize in his will.


08/08/1840; Boston, Lincolnshire, ENGLAND


04/21/1913; Brooklyn, NY; burial in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, Issue 26 (for the year 1900), pg. 40  [AotW citation 13230]

2   Favill, Josiah Marshall, The Diary of a Young Officer, Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, 1909, flyleaf; pp. 11, 32-34, 186-188  [AotW citation 13231]