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J.B. Curtis

J.B. Curtis

Federal (USV)

Lieutenant Colonel

Joseph Bridgham Curtis

(1836 - 1862)

Home State: Rhode Island

Education: Harvard College, Class of 1856

Command Billet: Regimental Officer

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 4th Rhode Island Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

An 1856 Harvard graduate, he was from Providence, RI. In 1857 he was an engineer at New York's Central Park.

In April 1861 was appointed engineer and Captain in the 9th New York Infantry. He mustered out of that unit at expiration of term, and was appointed Second Lieutenant in the 4th Rhode Island Infantry on 16 September; promoted to First Lieutenant on 2 October 1861.

On the 1862 North Carolina expedition, then Adjutant of the Regiment, he was cited by General Parke for being "conspicuous in conducting and cheering on the men." He was wounded on that campaign at New Berne, NC. Afterward, the 4th's Colonel Rodman was commissioned Brigadier General, and Colonel Steere wounded (or ill?), and the command of the Regiment was assumed by Lieutenant Colonel George W. Tew, and Lt Curtis was detailed to General Rodman's staff. In August 1862, on the Peninsula, he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the regiment, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Tew, who had resigned.

On the Campaign

He relieved the wounded Colonel Steere in command of the regiment at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

"In November, the Regiment, with the Army of the Potomac, was in front of Fredericksburg and in the battle of December 13th, took an active part. Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, a brave and promising officer, still in command, was killed by a ball from a shrapnel shell, while reforming the regimental line ... The remains of Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis were conveyed to Providence, where they were received with military honors, and after lying in state, were buried December 20th, in the North Burying Ground."
(from Soldiers & Sailors)

References & notes

Source: Unit History from the US Park Service Soldiers and Sailors database1, extracted by SUCW Camp 2 online; additional details from Appleton's Cyclopedia2. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph in the Scott D. Hann Collection, scan kindly provided by the owner. A chalk drawing of him - posed much like the photo here - hangs in Memorial Hall at Harvard in Cambridge.


10/24/1836; Prividence, RI


12/13/1862; Fredericksburg, VA; burial in Old North Burial Ground, Providence, RI


1   US National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, Published c. 1999, first accessed 01 January 2000, <>  [AotW citation 676]

2   Fiske, John, and James Grant Wilson, editors, Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, 6 vols., New York City: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889  [AotW citation 677]