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J.W. Bean

J.W. Bean

Federal (USV)


John Wesley Bean

(1833 - 1933)

Home State: New Hampshire

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 5th New Hampshire Infantry

Before Antietam

A resident of Danbury, he enrolled at age 28 in Company I, 5th New Hampshire Infantry as 2nd Lieutenant on 12 October 1861. He was appointed First Lieutenant, Company A on 31 July 31 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Captain, Company I on 16 December 1862. He was wounded in action 3 June 1863 at Cold Harbor, VA. He was discharged on disability 20 September 1864. He was honored 2 March 1867 with two brevets: First Lieutenant for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of Fredericksburg, and Captain for Cold Harbor.

After the War

He accepted a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, 35th US Infantry on 22 January 1867. He transferred to the 17th Infantry on 12 August 1869, and was promoted to First Lieutenant on 13 December 1871. He was Captain on 5 March 1879 and retired from the Regular Army on 29 September 1890, probably at the rank of Major. By January 1931 he was living in Attleboro, MA and was the oldest officer on the Retired list.

WASHINGTON, March 8 [1933]
The Army paid high tribute today to the first retired officer of the service ever to round out the century mark. The distinction goes to Major John Wesley Bean who is celebrating today his hundredth birthday at Attleboro, Massachusetts. Major General Douglas MacArthur, chief of staff, and other officers here sent congratulatory messages to the veteran who retired forty-three years ago on account of disability.

References & notes

Basic information from Child, M.D.1. Regular Army dates from Heitman2. Life dates from his gravesite on Findagrave. The 1931 detail from the New York Evening Post of 1 February. The quote above from the Lowell (MA) Sun. His photo here from a CDV sold by Cowan's Auctions in December 2004.


03/08/1833 in VT


11/26/1933; Attleboro, MA; burial in Procter Cemetery, Andover, NH


1   Child, M.D., William, A History of the Fifth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, Bristol (NH): R.W. Musgrove, Printer, 1893, pp. 121 - 132  [AotW citation 13356]

2   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 203  [AotW citation 13481]