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J. Reilly

J. Reilly

Confederate (CSA)


James Reilly

"Old Tarantula"

(1823 - 1894)

Home State: North Carolina

Command Billet: Battery Commander

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: Rowan (NC) Artillery

Before Sharpsburg

After a brief enlistment in the British Army, he came to New York in the early 1840s and enlisted as a Private in the 2nd United States Artillery in 1845. He was wounded at Churubusco in action in Mexico (1847-48), was promoted to First Sergeant, and was Ordnance Sergeant at Fort Meyers, FL when he reenlisted in 1858 during the Seminole War. He was the sole occupant of Fort Johnston at Smithville, NC when it was seized by North Carolina State troops in 1861.

He gave his age as 30 years (he was closer to 40) when he was appointed First Lieutenant of Company A, First North Carolina Light Artillery (10th Regiment NC State Troops) in April 1862 and appointed Captain of Company D - the Rowan Artillery - on 31 May 1861.

On the Campaign

He commanded the battery on the Campaign.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Major on 7 September 1863 and turned command of the Battery over to Captain John A. Ramsay, previously his First Lieutenant. He served at Ft. Fisher, NC commanding a battalion of the First Artillery and was captured there at its surrender on 15 January 1865, then the senior officer standing. He was released from Fort Delaware after taking an oath of allegiance.

After the War

He was superintendent of a Cape Fear River ferry at Wilmington and a farmer in Columbia County, NC. He lived in Wilmington to at least 1883.

References & notes

His service from the Registers, 1 the Roster,2 and Clark.3 Personal details from family genealogists and his bio sketch online from the NCPedia. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a portrait in the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Museum in Winnabow, NC.

More on the Web

He published his military memoirs in the Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States in Vol. 33 (1903) and Vol. 45 (1909), online from the Hathi Trust.


04/17/1823; Athlone, IRELAND


01/05/1894; New Hanover County, NC; burial in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, NC


1   US Army, Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914, Washington, DC: National Archives, 1956, Vol. 53, pg. 208  [AotW citation 28804]

2   Manarin, Louis H., and Weymouth Tyree Jordan, Matthew M Brown, Michael W Coffey, North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865 : A Roster, 20 Volumes +, Raleigh: North Carolina State Department of Archives and History, 1966-  [AotW citation 28805]

3   Clark, Walter, editor, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War, 1861-1865, 5 vols., Raleigh and Goldsboro (NC): E. M. Uzzell, Nash Brothers, printers, 1901, Vol. 1, pp. 497, 528, 530, 579, 580  [AotW citation 28806]