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J.F. Knipe

J.F. Knipe

Federal (USV)


Joseph Farmer Knipe

(1823 - 1901)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 46th Pennsylvania Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

A 19 year old shoemaker, he enlisted in New York City on 15 April 1842 as a Private in Battery I of the 2nd United States Artillery. He was promoted to Sergeant, served in the Mexican War, and was discharged at the end of his 5 year term on 14 April 1847 at Cerro Gordo, Mexico.

In 1860 he was a 37 year old shoemaker in Harrisburg, PA and by 1861 he was a Major in the Pennsylvania militia, aide de camp to Brigadier General Edward Williams, and brigade inspector of Pennsylvania troops. In October 1861 he was commissioned Colonel of the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry and led them in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and at Cedar Mountain, where he was wounded.

On the Campaign

He began the campaign in command of the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry but succeeded to the command of the First Brigade of the 1st Division/Twelfth Corps after Brigadier General Crawford relieved Brigadier General Williams, who took the Corps, in command of the Division.

The rest of the War

In April 1863 (to date from November 1862) he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers and fought at Chancellorsville, VA. He commanded the 1st Brigade/1st Division/20th Corps in the Atlanta campaign and the 7th Division/Cavalry Corps at Nashville, TN.

After the War

He was appointed postmaster of Harrisburg, PA (1866-68) and by 1870 was a prosperous tinner and stove dealer there. Except for brief periods, as postmaster of the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC and in a post in the Quartermaster's department at Fort Leavenworth, KS (1886-89), he lived and worked in Harrisburg for the rest of his life. By 1900 he was a property watchman and lived with his daughter Bertha and her family in Harrisburg.

References & notes

His Civil War service basics from Warner1 with US Army details from the Registers.2 Personal details from family genealogists, the US Census of 1860, 1870, & 1900, and his obituary in the Harrisburg Telegraph of 19 August 1901. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture is from a photograph at the Library of Congress.

He married Elizabeth Hagan (1833-1875) in July 1851 and they had 12 children. They named their fourth son, born in 1863, Alpheus W(illiams?) Knipe (1864 -1931).

More on the Web

See an illustrated piece about then-Major Knipe's marksmanship from the Harper's Weekly of 20 July 1861, online thanks to the Civil War Monitor.


03/30/1823; Mount Joy, PA


08/18/1901; Harrisburg, PA; burial in Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, PA


1   Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue, Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, pp. 272-273  [AotW citation 29489]

2   US Army, Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914, Washington, DC: National Archives, 1956, Vol. 043, pg. 133  [AotW citation 29490]