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Federal (USV)


Joseph O'Neil

(c. 1833 - 1867)

Home State: New York

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 63rd New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Age 28, he enrolled in New York City and mustered as Captain, Company A, 63rd New York Infantry on 7 August 1861. He resigned and was discharged on 10 March 1862, but was recommissioned Captain on 25 March.

On the Campaign

He commanded his Company in Maryland. At Antietam on 17 September 1862:

Captain O'Neill's Company on the right, is annihilated. He comes to the left of his regiment, where Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler and Major Bentley are:
"You must give me another command - not one of our Company remains able to do duty."
He had another command very soon. Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler and Major Bentley are wounded, and have to go to the rear. Captain O'Neill takes command of all that remains of the regiment. The right wing is completely gone, and only a portion of the left is still standing - the others have been either killed or wounded ...

The rest of the War

He was appointed Major after Major Bentley was promoted. He commanded the regiment again at Fredericksburg, VA on 13 December 1862 and was seriously wounded in his right arm. Disabled for field service, he mustered out of the 63rd New York on 12 June 1863.

He enrolled as Captain of the 43rd Company, 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps on 29 January 1864. He was honored by brevet to Major, USV (dated March 1865) and was Subassistant Commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau at Thomasville, GA from April to December 1866. He was still in service when he died of disease on 2 January 1867.

More on the Web

His service from the Adjutant General,1 the Army Register,2 and Robert McClernon's Fredericksburg Casualty List, online from the NY State Military Museum; the quote above is from an un-sourced newspaper clipping in their collection. Further information in the finding aid [pdf] to the National Archives microfilm Field Office Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (M1903). Personal details from Conyngham,3 who has him as Joseph O'Neill. His gravesite is on Findagrave, which has his birth in 1839.

He married Mary Ann Burke (later Murphy, 1840-1926) and they had two children. Their son Joseph Patrick O'Neil (1863-1938), a career Army officer, commanded the 179th Infantry Brigade, 90th Division in France in WWI.


c. 1833; County Cork, IRELAND


01/02/1867; New York City, NY; burial in Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, Queens County, NY


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1901, Ser. No. 27, pg. 148  [AotW citation 26163]

2   US Army, Adjutant General, Official Army Register of the Volunteer Forces, U. S. Army, 8 vols., Washington, DC: Adjutant General's Office, 1867, Part VIII, pg. 84  [AotW citation 26165]

3   Conyngham, David Power, The Irish Brigade and Its Campaigns, New York: William McSorley & Co., 1867, pp. 566-567  [AotW citation 26164]