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and Brevet Major John Bigelow, U.S.V.
Captain and Brevet Major John Bigelow, U.S.V.
Captain and Brevet Major John Bigelow was born at Brighton, now a part
of the city of Boston, Massachusetts, February 4, 1841, and graduated from
Harvard University in the class of 1861.
He enlisted as a private in the Second Massachusetts Light Battery, April
24, 1861, being the first Harvard undergraduate who enlisted for the war.
On May 2 he was elected second lieutenant of artillery, M. V. M., and on
July 31 was mustered as first lieutenant Second Light Battery,
The battery was stationed at Baltimore, Maryland, from August until
November, drilling and parading for "moral effect" and to keep that city
loyal. During November and December it was with Lockwood's expedition into
Accomac and Northampton Counties, Eastern Virginia, to disperse a body of
rebels organizing in that section.
On December 16, 1861, Lieutenant Bigelow was made adjutant First Battalion
Maryland Light Artillery, stationed at Eastville, Fast Virginia, and
served by detail as acting assistant adjutant-general on staff of General
Lockwood, commanding district, until May, 1862, when his battalion joined
the Artillery Reserve, Army of Potomac, at Yorktown, Virginia. While
acting assistant adjutant-general he secured and gave to
General McClellan plans of the
Norfolk (Virginia) defenses; also authentic information as to the crippled
condition of the "Merrimac" after its engagement with the "Monitor." He
took an active part in the artillery duels so frequent during the building
of New Bridge across the Chickahominy and in the Seven Days' battles.
||At Malvern Hill, Virginia, July
1, 1862, Lieutenant Vannerman, of his battalion, being wounded, he
took command of his section, on detached duty near the West House.
Although others had refused, and he had already lost many men, he
advanced one of his guns and saved two regiments of Couch's
division, which were short of ammunition and being cut off, firing
the last shots of the battle, about nine o'clock P.M. (five rounds
of canister); first, however, receiving a volley from the rebels,
which shattered his left arm, besides killing and wounding a number
of his cannoneers. He was present at the battle of Fredericksburg,
Va., crossing with Franklin's grand division, and resigned his
adjutancy December 31, 1862.
February 11, 1863, he was made captain Ninth Light Battery,
Massachusetts Volunteers, stationed at Fort Ramsay, Virginia
(fortifications of Washington).
In three months he had his command ready for field-service, and in June
was assigned to the Second Brigade Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.
On July 2, 1863, under heavy artillery fire, he reinforced the
hard-pressed lines of the Third Corps, near the Peach Orchard, at
Bigelow himself was shot through the hand and body. He rejoined his
battery at Warrenton, Virginia, three months later, and was on the
Culpeper campaign and at Mine Run. During the winter of 1863-64 he
commanded the Second Brigade Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, and
during the Grant campaign of 1864 his
battery was attached to the Fifth Corps Artillery, taking part in the
battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court-House, North Anna,
Jericho's Ford, Tolopotomy, Virginia; Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor,
Petersburg, and siege of Petersburg, Virginia.
Captain Bigelow was brevetted major U. S. Volunteers August 1, 1864, "for
gallant services during the operations before Petersburg, Virginia," where
he followed, with his battery, General Chamberlain's charge; dropped his
guns "in action" within three hundred yards of the enemy's works, and,
although the infantry were driven back, he held his advanced position
until nightfall, when he was relieved and the position entrenched.
As the result of his wounds he was on sick-leave from August to October,
1864; during October and November was a member of the Military Commission,
Baltimore, Maryland, and after establishing his battery in winter quarters
before Petersburg he was "honorably discharged on account of physical
disability," December 16, 1864.
He was a member from Boston of the General Court of Massachusetts,
sessions of 1873 and of 1874, and originated the "Standard Policy of
Insurance" now adopted by many States. He has made many improvements in
the manufacture of hosiery, hats, and flour, also generally used. He
married Mrs. Julia B. Gardner (nee Barber), and resides at Minneapolis,
He is, by transfer from the Massachusetts Commandery, a member of the
Pennsylvania Commandery, Military Order Loyal Legion of the United States.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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