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J.M. Comly

J.M. Comly

Federal (USV)


James Monroe Comly

(1832 - 1887)

Home State: Ohio

Command Billet: Regimental Officer

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 23rd Ohio Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He trained as a printer, and was eventually editor and proprietor of the Ohio State Journal, in Columbus, Ohio. On 15 June 1861 he was commissioned Major of the 63rd Ohio Infantry and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 12 October. In December 1861 he was appointed to fill the vacancy of Major of the 23rd Ohio; described by then-Lieutenant Russell Hastings:

The vacancy of the majority was filled by Governor Dennison sending from Ohio an editor named James M. Comly. We didn't like this act of the Governor, for the promotion of one of our Captains to be Major would have given us each a step and would have been regular. Poor Major Comly was not received with open arms. We were not rude to him but he must have seen and felt that he was outside of our "hail fellow well met" circle.

On the Campaign

He succeeded to the command of the regiment after Lieutenant Colonel Hayes was wounded at Fox's Gap on South Mountain on 14 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Colonel on 19 October 1864, was honored by brevet to Brigadier General in March 1865, and mustered out at Cumberland, MD on 26 July 1865.

After the War

He was Postmaster of Columbus, and U.S. Minister to the Hawaiian Islands, 1877-82. In 1883 he went to Toledo and owned and edited the Toledo Commercial there.

References & notes

His service from the Roster1 and Heitman.2 His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a CDV sold by Cowan's in April 2014.

Most records have him as James M. Comly but his 1863 marriage record says James M.S. Comly; at least one genealogist has him as James Monroe Stewart Comly.

He married Elizabeth Marion Smith (1844-1902) in May 1863 and they had 5 children.

More on the Web

See a story he told after the war about a musician in his unit at South Mountain, online from Ohio in the Civil War; and see also Lieutenant Russell Hastings' memoir, transcribed online by the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.


03/06/1832; New Lexington, OH


07/26/1887; Toledo, OH; burial in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, OH


1   State of Ohio, Roster Commission, Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, 12 Volumes, Akron: The Werner Company, 1893-95, Vol. 3, pg. 71  [AotW citation 29472]