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J.I. Curtin

J.I. Curtin

Federal (USV)

Lieutenant Colonel

John Irvin Curtin

(1837 - 1911)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: Dickinson Seminary

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 45th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

He was educated at Dickinson Seminary at WIlliamsport, Pennsylvania, and was among

the corps of engineers which located the Bald Eagle Valley Railroad, and when the war opened, volunteered in the Bellefonte Fencibles, which became part of the Tenth regiment, sent first to defend the bridges on the line of railway leading to Washington, and subsequently to Patterson in the Shenandoah Valley. At the close of the three months' term, he recruited a company, of which he was made Captain, for the Forty-fifth, a veteran regiment.
(from Bates' Martial Deeds)
He was promoted to Major on 30 July 1862, and Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment on 4 September. John was half-brother of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin.

On the Campaign

He was in command of the regiment in the absence of Colonel Welsh, who was commanding Brigade on the Maryland Campaign. Curtin was slightly wounded in the elbow - which 'disabled' his arm - on 14 September 1862 in action at Fox's Gap, but remained with his unit and led them in action above the Lower Bridge at Antietam on 17 September.

The rest of the War

He was appointed Colonel of the 45th in April 1863 on Colonel Welsh's promotion, and led the regiment for the War's duration. He had brigade command in the IX Corps in late 1863 near Chattanooga and in early 1864 around Petersburg, where he was seriously wounded in the shoulder on 17 June 1864. He returned to his brigade in August.

He was honored by brevet to Brigadier General in October 1864, briefly held Division command, and mustered out with his unit on 17 July 1865.

After the War

Immediately after the war he ventured to develop land for coal and oil in Kentucky, but returned to Pennsylvania in 1867. He was there in the lumber business in Clinton County.

He made an address at the dedication of the Regiment's monument at Antietam on 17 September 1904.

References & notes

Service basics from the Regimental History1 and further detail from Bates.2 The photograph above is from one posted online by Uriguen.3 His gravesite is on Findagrave.


06/17/1837; Curtin, PA


01/01/1911; Bellefonte, PA; burial in Union Cemetery, Bellefonte, PA


1   Albert, Alan D., editor, and Comrades of the Regimental Association, History of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865, Williamsport (Pa): Grit Pub. Co., 1912, pg. 423  [AotW citation 689]

2   Bates, Samuel Penniman, Martial Deeds Of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: T. H. Davis & Co., 1876  [AotW citation 690]

3   Uriguen, Mikel, Photo Gallery (Generals and Brevet Generals), Generals of the Civil War, Published c. 1998, first accessed 01 January 1998, <>, Source page: /bc/bc1.htm  [AotW citation 693]