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  • Life With The 49th Massachusetts Volunteers

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    Life with the 49th Massachusetts Volunteers - Inventory Number: HIS 122

    1864 edition Life with the 49th Massachusetts Volunteers by Henry T. Johns, and published in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Hardbound 391 pages with some edge wear and foxing. Henry T. Johns served with the 9-month 49th Massachusetts at Port Hudson, Louisiana, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions there on May 27, 1863. The front page is signed by Chauncey E. Adams, who is listed as a paper maker in the 1860 census but is not on any Civil War rosters. The book contains great content on the battle and includes numerous illustrations of regimental officers. 

    Henry T. Johns - Residence Hinsdale MA; a 34-year-old Minister. Enlisted on 9/11/1862 as a Private. On 9/19/1862 he mustered into "C" Co. MA 49th Infantry. He was Mustered Out on 9/1/1863 at Pittsfield, MA. On 9/12/1864 he mustered into "A" Co. MA 61st Infantry. He was Mustered Out on 6/4/1865.  (Residence listed as "Pittsfield, MA"; Occupation listed as "Author")

    He was listed as: Wounded 5/25/1863 Port Hudson, LA. Promotions: 2nd Lieut. 9/6/1864. 1st Lieut. 1/15/1865. Capt. 4/9/1865 by Brevet. Intra Regimental Company Transfers: 2/4/1865 from company A to company C. Other Information: Born 4/8/1828 in Philadelphia, PA. Died 5/13/1909 in Glendale, CA. Buried: Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. (Wife: Martha).

    Medal of Honor Information: He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on 5/27/1863 at Port Hudson, LA. (Volunteered to take part in movement upon enemy's works under heavy fire).



    Owing to a frail physique, Private Henry T. Johns, after enlisting, was made quartermaster's clerk, hence did not share in a good many of the rougher duties of a soldier.  On May 27,1863, at Port Hudson, however, volunteers were called for, to charge on the enemy's works-a so-called “Forlorn Hope."  A genuine forlorn hope it proved to be." Ignoring my privilege to keep out of the fight,"  Private Johns says,  " I volunteered as one of a squad of fifty.  According to orders we marched towards a rise of ground, from which we were to charge on the enemy's ranks.  It was the most peculiar charge that I have ever heard of.  There was no sudden rush, no cheering, nor the usual din of a general charge.  We were merely following orders without confidence of success, yet determined to do our best.  The plan was a failure in conception and execution.  We had to charge over three-quarters of a mile of open country, exposed to the fierce fire of the enemy, and then climb the enemy's breastworks.  But we never reached it.  I ran on, knowing that my comrades were dropping on every side of me.  Nevertheless we pressed forward until, seeing that to go farther would be useless and only mean death, we retreated."

    Three others, Privates Frederick M. Deland, James W. Strong, and Francis E. Warren, also received the Medal of Honor for participating and distinguishing themselves in this same assault.

    Source:  Deeds of Valor, p. 206

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    Inventory Number: HIS 122