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Federal (USA)


John Willse

(c. 1837 - 1899)

Home State: New York

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: 4th United States Artillery, Battery B

Before Antietam

An 18 year old laborer, he enlisted in New York City on 2 June 1855 as a Private in Battery B, 4th United States Infantry and reenlisted on 7 April 1860, then at Camp Floyd, Utah Territory. He was with the Battery in Ruby Valley, UT in July 1860, and was a Private in the Battery as it joined the Army of the Potomac in October 1861. He was promoted to Corporal by September 1862.

On the Campaign

He was wounded in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

By the autumn of 1863 he had been promoted to Sergeant and commanded a gun, but he went absent without leave. He returned to the Battery during an amnesty period but was reduced to Private. He may have been a Sergeant again when he reenlisted on 15 July 1864 at Petersburg, VA, but he was listed as a deserter on 31 August and apprehended and returned on 24 November 1864.

After the War

He reenlisted at the end of his term on 1 December 1867, a Private, at Fort Leavenworth, KS and was discharged on 1 December 1870 at Fort Riley, KS.

He enlisted again, soon afterward, as a Private in Company F, 7th US Cavalry at Fort Leavenworth on 7 February 1871 and was discharged at Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory on 7 February 1876 (4 months before Little Bighorn), still a Private. He enlisted three weeks later on the 28th at Fort McHenry in Baltimore as a Private in Battery A of the 2nd US Artillery and was discharged on 27 February 1881 in Washington, DC. There is no later enlistment record for him.

References & notes

His service from Buell1 and the Registers.2 Details from the US Census of 1860. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His last name also spelled Willsey and Willsee.


c. 1837; New York City, NY


12/21/1899; burial in US Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, Washington, DC


1   Buell, Augustus, The Cannoneer: Recollections of Service in the Army of the Potomac, Washington: The National Tribune Company, 1890, pp. 18 - 20, 42, 152  [AotW citation 10480]

2   US Army, Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914, Washington, DC: National Archives, 1956, Vol. 051, pg. 235; V149/P884; V67/P308; V76/P106, 195; etc  [AotW citation 27455]