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N. Wales

N. Wales

Federal (USV)


Nathaniel Wales

(1843 - 1924)

Home State: Massachusetts

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 35th Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

An 18 year old salesman from Dorchester, he enlisted as First Sergeant in Company G, 24th Massachusetts Infantry on 6 September and mustered on 12 September 1861. He had previously been a member of the New England Guard, a militia Company in Boston, most of whose members also joined the Regiment. He was discharged 15 July 1862 to accept promotion as First Lieutenant in Company H, 32nd Massachusetts Infantry, but transferred 13 August to the 35th. He mustered as First Lieutenant and Adjutant, 35th Massachusetts Infantry on 21 August 1862.

On the Campaign

He was hit by gunshot to the chest, in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862. He was wearing body armor, however, and was bruised but not seriously injured.

The rest of the War

He was captured near White Sulphur Springs, VA on 14 November 1862. He was paroled and exchanged, dates not given, and returned to duty on 21 February 1863. He was commissioned Major on 25 April 1863 (mustered as such 25 August). He resigned and was discharged on 9 May 1864. He was honored by brevets to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel 13 March 1865 for his actions while commanding the Regiment at the siege of Knoxville.

After the War

He lived most of his life in Jamaica Plain, Boston. He was a Lieutenant Colonel (from 1876), Colonel (1878), and Brigadier General (1882) in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (MVM), a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the US (MOLLUS), and Commander of GAR Post 113.

References & notes

Service information from Soldiers, Sailors and Marines1 and Alfred S. Roe's The Twenty-fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers 1861-1866 (1907). His gravesite is on Findagrave. His brevet citations are found in the Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (1866), and commissioned Militia service dates are from Cutler's The Old First: Massachusetts Coast Artillery in War and Peace (1917). His picture is from a CDV offered for sale by Little Round Top Collectibles (2018). His post-War activity is from the GAR's What One Grand Army Post has Accomplished: History of Edward W. Kinsley Post, No. 113 (1913), which contains a c. 1909 photograph of him [via Google Books]. A 13 October 1862 letter of his is in the Pearce Museum at Navarro College, Corsicana, TX, and mentions that he "donned breast armor before heading into the fight near Otto farm", which is credited with saving his life.

His daughter Ellen "Jerry" Wales Kingsbury died at age 106 in 2013. Her husband Howard T. "Ox" Kingsbury (1904-1991) was member of the Yale 8 (rowing team) which won the gold medal at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

More on the Web

See more about Wales, body armor, and his family in a blog post over on behind AotW.


05/1843; Boston, MA


06/18/1924; Boston, MA; burial in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 817; Vol. 3, pp. 512, 647  [AotW citation 17718]