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J.F. Rabardy

J.F. Rabardy

Federal (USV)


Julius Felix Rabardy

(1833 - 1926)

Home State: Massachusetts

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 12th Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

He went to sea as a merchant seaman at age 13 and came to Manchester, MA in the late 1850s and became a woodcarver making furniture. On 26 June 1861, by then 28 years old, he enlisted and mustered as Private, Company K, 12th Massachusetts Infantry. He was naturalized a US citizen on 2 July 1861.

On the Campaign

He was wounded in the leg in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862. He wrote in his diary:

The air is full of explosions and the smell of brimstone, missiles of all kinds strike the trees and dead branches fall among the wounded. I was shot through the right thigh. A poor fellow with uplifted arm begs for water. The arm is shot off and the man speaks no more. A Confederate lies in front of me with a horrible wound. It is Hell. I close my eyes. It is probably from loss of blood, sick at the sight of such carnage. I became unconscious. When I recovered all is quiet.
His leg was amputated later the same day by Surgeon Hayward.

The rest of the War

He was discharged for disability from wounds on 10 March 1863 in Washington, DC.

After the War

He was appointed Postmaster of Manchester in 1865 and held that position until 1885. He also ran a "periodical and variety" business, had the first telegraph, in 1870, and later the first public telephone, and owned a block of downtown business real estate. He owned and ran the town's first newspaper, The Beetle and Wedge, from 1875 to 1878. He retired from his business in 1898 and was an insurance agent, and finally fully retired by 1910. He lived to be 93, the oldest person in town.

References & notes

His service from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.1. Wound and surgical information from the MSHWR,2 which says it was his left leg. Personal details from family genealogists, the Naturalization Index, and the US Census of 1900-1920. His gravesite is on Findagrave. Thanks to Jim Smith for the pointer to his obituary in the Boston Globe of 20 November 1926, source of further details here.

He married the widow Eliza Abba Allen Smith (1833-1924) in August 1868 and they had a daughter Eita (1871-1951). They also raised the two children from her earlier marriage.

More on the Web

There's a little more about him in a post over on the behind AotW blog.

See an exhibit on his life and those of other war veterans in Manchester from the Manchester Historical Museum, source also of his photograph and the quote above.

His original store building on Central Street was renovated in 2017.

The Rabardy Memorial Park and Nature Preserve in Essex, MA is on land he deeded to the town in 1908 [in the MECT Woodland Guide (pdf)].


05/22/1833; Le Havre, FRANCE


11/19/1926; Manchester Depot, MA; burial in Rosedale Cemetery, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pp. 65 - 67  [AotW citation 6882]

2   Barnes, Joseph K., and US Army, Office of the Surgeon General, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, 6 books, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1870, Vol. 2, Part 3, pg. 253  [AotW citation 25935]