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Federal (USV)


John S. Downing

(c. 1831 - ?)

Home State: New York

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 51st New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Age 30, he enlisted on 27 September 1861 in New York City and mustered as a Private in Company B 51st New York Infantry on 18 October.

On the Campaign

He was wounded in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Corporal, date not given, and reenlisted on 1 December 1863. He was reduced to Private on 1 March 1864 and captured at Poplar Grove Church, VA on 30 September 1864. He was promoted to Sergeant on 1 May 1865 and mustered out with his Company on 25 July 1865 at Alexandria, VA.

After the War

In January 1879, then a shoemaker in Brooklyn, he pled guilty to killing his wife, was sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter, and went to Sing Sing State prison in Westchester County, NY. He was pardoned by New York Governor Odell on New Years Day 1904 after serving nearly 25 years there. By then 72 years old, he was admitted to the Soldier's Home in Bath, NY on 8 January 1904 and was there to 17 May 1904. He was re-admitted on 23 June 1909 and discharged on 3 April 1913.

References & notes

His service from the Adjutant General1 and the Muster Roll abstract, online from fold3, which do not mention his wound. His wounding from a casualty list in the New York Herald of 23 September 1862. Personal details from the 1890 US Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War and the Historical Registers of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938. Prison and pardon details the Public Papers of Benjamin B. Odell, Jr., Governor for 1903 (Vol. 3, 1907) and an article in the New York Sun of 22 January 1903.


c. 1831 in IRELAND


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, For the Year 1900, Ser. No. 25, p. 63  [AotW citation 30314]