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J.P. Ash

J.P. Ash

Federal (USA)


Joseph Penrose Ash

(1839 - 1864)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Command Billet: Company Officer

Branch of Service: Cavalry

Unit: 5th United States Cavalry

Before Antietam

He had been a member of the First City Troop in Philadelphia since 1856, age 17. He was appointed Second Lieutenant, Company H, in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry 30 April 1861 (re-designated 5th Cavalry in the Summer of 1861) and was promoted to First Lieutenant, Company E, on 15 January 1862. He was on the Peninsula campaign, and in the cavalry charge at Gaines Mill.

On the Campaign

"Following the battle of Antietam, he led a squadron of 150 men as part of a larger reconnaissance from Antietam toward Smithfield on October 15, 1862. His squadron led the advance on the way to Smithfield, and the rear guard as the force withdrew under pressure toward Sharpsburg. According to the report of the mission's commander, Major Curtis of the 1st Massachusetts, 'The immediate rear guard was taken from the Fifth Regular cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Ash, and behaved with great steadiness though closely pressed by the enemy's cavalry in large numbers and annoyed by a concealed musketry fire.'"

The rest of the War

He was wounded in action 8 November 1862 with saber cuts and a gunshot wound. While recuperating he was promoted to Captain in September 1863, and returned to his Regiment in October. He was killed in action at Todd's Tavern on 8 May 1864.

References & notes

Service details here from Don Caughey's fine Fiddler's Green post on Ash, source also of the quote about his post-battle reconnaissance. The photograph is from a CDV auctioned by Cowan's in June 2010. Some of the details here from Cowan's research.


07/04/1839; Philadelphia, PA


05/08/1864; Todd's Tavern, VA; burial in St. James-the-Less Churchyard, Philadelphia, PA