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J. Wren

J. Wren

Federal (USV)


James Wren

(1825 - 1901)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 48th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

He came to America with his family in 1828 and by 1850 was an officer in the Washington Artillery of Pottsville. In 1860 was a successful 35 year old master machinist in the family's Washington Iron Works, and was a militia Captain in Pottsville, PA. He volunteered with his Company, the Washington Artillery, for 3 months' service on 18 April 1861 and mustered with them as Captain of what became Company B, 25th Pennsylvania Infantry; one of the famous First Defenders of Washington, DC. On 19 September 1861 he enrolled again, as Captain of Company B, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, for 3 years.

On the Campaign

He was with his Company on South Mountain on 14 September and at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Major of the regiment on 20 September 1862 but resigned his commission on 20 May 1863.

After the War

By 1866 he had taken over the Washington Iron Works in Pottsville from his brothers and ran the business to at least 1870. By 1880 and to at least 1900 he was a "capitalist" in the iron business at Boyertown in Berks County, PA.

References & notes

Basic information from Gould1. His photo from Bosbyshell2 with further details from Bates.3 Personal details from family genealogists, at least one of whom has his middle name as Magee, the US Census of 1860-1900, and Morton Montgomery's Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania (1909). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Sarah Catharine Mortimer (1826-1860) in 1850 and they had 4 children, 2 of whom survived to adulthood. He married again, Clara Johns (1838-1902) in about 1865 and they had 8 more.

More on the Web

His papers, including wartime diary, are in the collection of the US Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle, PA.


03/06/1825; Clyde Ironworks, Lanarkshire, SCOTLAND


01/16/1901; Philadelphia, PA; burial in Fairview Cemetery, Boyertown, PA


1   Gould, Joseph, The Story of the Forty-eighth : a Record of the Campaigns of the Forty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry ..., Philadelphia: Regimental Association, 1908, pp. 82 - 90, 400 - 460 (rosters)  [AotW citation 5399]

2   Bosbyshell, Oliver Christian, The 48th in the War: being a Narrative of the Campaigns of the 48th Regiment, Infantry, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, during the War of the Rebellion, Philadelphia: Avil Print. Co., 1895, pg. 117  [AotW citation 5400]

3   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871  [AotW citation 29317]