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J.W. Barnett

J.W. Barnett

Federal (USV)


James Wilson Barnett

(1839 - 1929)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

In 1860 he was a 20 year old divinity student living on his parent's farm in Derry Township, Westmoreland County, PA. He mustered into service as Private, Company K, 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry sometime after 16 September 1861.

On the Campaign

He was with his Company in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was appointed Commissary Sergeant of the regiment on 25 December 1862 and Quartermaster Sergeant on 1 March 1863.

He passed an examining board and was commissioned First Lieutenant, 10th Regiment, US Colored Troops, and mustered and joined the regiment on 22 November 1863. He was appointed acting regimental Assistant Quartermaster in February 1864, and was acting Brigade Quartermaster (in First Division, 25th Army Corps) from June to September 1864. He was back with his regiment from January to April 1865, then detailed again to Brigade staff (in 3rd Division, 25th Army Corps), then at Corpus Christi, TX. From October 1965 to January 1866 he was Brigade Assistant Inspector General, briefly back with his regiment, then in March and April 1866 the Depot Quartermaster at Houston, TX.

After the War

He taught school for a year and was a clerk in a Pittsburgh, PA store. He opened his own store in Johnstown, PA in 1868, then, in 1870, with 2 partners, two more stores, in Derry and Hillside, PA. He ran the Hillside store as sole owner after 1874. At the 1870 census he was a living with his parents in Derry Township but by 1880 he was a dealer in general merchandise living in his own place with his wife and 5 children. In 1900 he was ticket agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad, but by 1910, still living in Derry, was the postmaster at Hillside, PA. He'd finally retired completely by 1920.

References & notes

His USCT service from his Compiled Service Records,1 Colored Troops 8th-13th Infantry, online from fold3. His service in the 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry from the muster roll for the Field & Staff (as J. Wilson Barnett), online from the Pennsylvania State Museum, and from his own October 1865 application for a Regular Army commission. Personal details from family genealogists, the US Census of 1860-1920, and his obituary in the Latrobe Bulletin of 28 September 1929. His gravesite is on Findagrave. Thanks to Ric Thomas for his help sorting out Barnett's service as well as for copies of his photograph, commission letter, muster roll, and obituary.

He married Sophronia Catherine "Fronie" Gore (1848-1922) in 1870 and they had 5 children.

He may be easily confused with the James W. Barnett (1826-1872), also from Westmoreland County, PA, who served in Company C of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry 1861-1864.


05/27/1839; Derry Township, Westmoreland County, PA


09/28/1929; Hillside, PA; burial in Unity Cemetery, Unity Township, Westmoreland County, PA


1   US War Department, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who served in US Volunteer organizations enlisted for service during the Civil War, Record Group No. 94 (Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917), Washington DC: US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 1903-1927  [AotW citation 28949]