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Federal (USA)


John Darragh Wilkins

(1822 - 1900)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1846

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 3rd United States Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

An 1846 USMA (West Point) graduate, he had served in the Mexican War, and remained in Army service from that time. He received a promotion from Adjutant to Captain of the 3rd US Infantry in April, 1861.

Upon the death of Major Rossell [Gaines Mill, June 1862] the command of the [3rd US Infantry] regiment devolved upon Captain Wilkins, who retained it until the following spring [of 1863].

On the Campaign

At Antietam the [Sykes'] Division was held in reserve at least most of the time, and did not, therefore, take as prominent a part as usual in the battle. It left Middletown on the morning of the 15th of September, crossed South Mountain, and reaching the east bank of Antietam River, took position behind some hills on the left of the turnpike leading direct to Sharpsburg. The Third Infantry was at once thrown out as skirmishers and occupied the crest of the river bank to the right and left of the bridge. It remained in this position all night and until relieved by the 4th Infantry, about 10 o'clock next morning. During the 16th and 17th, it remained in reserve, although exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery.

The rest of the War

Wilkins was transferred to the 15th Infantry, stationed near Lookout Mountain, Tenn., in April, 1865, receiving a major's commission.

After the War

After the war, he remained in the regular army, transfering to the 33rd Infantry on September 21, 1866, and to the 8th Infantry on March 15, 1869. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th Infantry in 1873 and Colonel of the 5th Infantry in 1882, holding that position until his retirement in 1886.

References & notes

Sources: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903.; and
Introduction to John Darragh Wilkins Papers, The University of Michigan, Schoff Civil War Collection;
Intro to Army Chronicles, Lt Wilkins, 1846-48, online at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
The Third Regiment Of Infantry, Lieutenant J. H. Mcrae, 3D U. S. Infantry, 1894. - text on the 3rd US History (reenactors) site

His gravesite is on Findagrave.




02/20/1900; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA