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J.E. Penn

J.E. Penn

Confederate (CSV)


John Edmund Penn

(1837 - 1895)

Home State: Virginia

Education: Randolph-Macon, U of Virginia

Command Billet: Brigade Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Jones' Brigade

Before Sharpsburg

He had attended Randolph-Macon and the University of Virginia and, by 1860, was a lawyer in Arrarat, Virginia. He was living with his (widowed?) mother, and was of substantial means.1,2 He enlisted as Captain, Co. H in the 42nd Virginia Infantry in May 1861. Though on sick leave early in the year, he had commanded the Regiment on several occasions by mid-1862.2

On the Campaign

Commanding the 42nd Virginia Infantry Regiment, he relieved Colonel Johnson in command of the Brigade on the Campaign. "Colonel Penn, commanding the Second Brigade, lost a leg" at Sharpsburg on the 17th.3 He was relieved by Captain Page of the 21st Virginia Infantry.

The rest of the War

He was captured at Sharpsburg on the 18th, and his leg was amputated at a Federal field hospital there. He was later hospitalized at Frederick and Fort McHenry, Md, finally being exchanged from City Point in December. He was promoted to Major on 24 January 1863, but resigned his commission on 10 February because of disability from his wound. He was again promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel in April, to rank from 9 August 1862.2 These promotions may have been in progress for some time prior, but he did not serve at those ranks.4

After the War

He served in the Virginia State Senate (c.1870), helping to create the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VaTech), and was a member of its board of visitors (1873-1875).5 He moved to Roanoke (Va) in 1882.4

References & notes

The photograph above is of Penn wearing Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel's stars, and is found in Chapla.6


7/3/1837; Patrick County, VA


09/27/1895; Roanoke, VA


1   1860 Federal Census, Patrick County, Arrarat, Va, pg. 1037
US Census Bureau, and USGenWeb volunteers, transcribers, USGenWeb Census Project, Published 1998-, first accessed 01 July 2005, <>, Source page:  [AotW citation 357]

2   From roster and service record data.
Chapla, John D., 42nd Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg (Va.): H. E. Howard, Inc., 1983, pg. 118  [AotW citation 358]

3   Worsham, John H., One of Jackson's Foot Cavalry, New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1912  [AotW citation 359]

4   Krick, Robert K., Lee's Colonels: A Biographical Register of the Field Officers of the Army of Northern Virginia, Dayton (Oh): Morningside Press, 1979, pg. 278  [AotW citation 360]

5   Kennelly, Tamara, University Archivist, and Oladunni Akinpelu and Katie Bondroff, The University Archives of Virginia Tech, Published c. 1996, first accessed 15 December 2005, <>, Source page: /databook/text/chap1/1_2.htm, /125th/bov/bovmem.html  [AotW citation 361]

6   Photograph of April 1863 or later, from the original in the Roanoke County Courthouse, Salem, Va.
Chapla, John D., 42nd Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg (Va.): H. E. Howard, Inc., 1983, pg. 57  [AotW citation 362]