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First Lieutenant and Adjutant Joseph Davis, U.S.V.

Lieutenant Joseph Davis (Thirtieth Regiment Massachusetts Veteran Volunteer Infantry), whose emigrant ancestor was William Davis, of Roxbury, Massachusetts (born in Wales in 1617), was born at Boston, Massachusetts, November 24, 1840, the oldest son of William Davis, Jr., one of the leading merchants of Boston, and his second wife, Maria Davis, of Roxbury.

He is directly descended from the old Colonial Governors John Winthrop and Thomas Dudley, and has prominent Revolutionary ancestry, being great-great-grandson of Aaron Davis, of Roxbury (captain of a company of Minute-Men, and, later, colonel of a Massachusetts regiment in the fight at Lexington), a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congresses, General Court, etc., and is great-grandson of Moses Davis, private in " the first company of Minute-Men raised in America," commanded by Captain Moses Whiting, in Colonel John Greaton's Minute Regiment, April 19, 1775.

Lieutenant Davis was educated in the public schools of Boston and graduated by the English High School in 1858.

At a "war meeting" held in the Town-Hall of Medford, Massachusetts, the evening of April 18, 1861, he enlisted as a private in the Lawrence Light-Guard of Medford, Company E, Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Militia, then expecting marching orders. The next day, April 19, 1861, the Fifth Massachusetts Regiment, as ordered, reported upon Boston Common, and from there marched to quarters in Faneuil Hall. Lieutenant Davis was on duty with the regiment at Washington and in Virginia till it was mustered out of service.

He next enlisted January 2, 1862, in the regiment raised by General B. F. Butler, designated " The Eastern Bay State Regiment, No. 2, New England Division," and was by Lieutenant-Colonel Jonas H. French, commanding, appointed hospital steward. This regiment was afterwards called the Thirtieth Massachusetts, commanded by Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, of the regular army. Lieutenant Davis continued hospital steward at Ship Island, Mississippi, New Orleans, the first siege of Vicksburg, and battle of Baton Rouge, till commissioned second lieutenant and assigned to duty with Company K, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, October, 1862.

The rest of his military service was with this regiment. He was present with it upon its every campaign and march. Engaged in the action of Plain Store, Louisiana, May 21, 1863; siege of Port Hudson and Koch's Plantation, July 13, 1863. At the close of 1863 the regiment re-enlisted and became a veteran regiment.

The malarial swamps of Louisiana were so fatal that it was a common circumstance that only one officer to a company was able to do duty. From this cause Lieutenant Davis was, while second lieutenant, assigned to command different companies, till he had at different times commanded every company in the regiment. He was a company commander in every battle in which his regiment was engaged after he received his commission.

In July, 1864, the Thirtieth Massachusetts was transferred from Louisiana to Virginia, and Lieutenant Davis was with it in the pursuit of Early between Washington and the Shenandoah Valley, and in the battles of Opequan, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, etc.

October 22, 1863, he was commissioned first lieutenant, and in October, 1864, was appointed regimental adjutant, which office he held until February 12, 1865, when, it being evident that the end of the war was near, and his health being undermined by the exposures of long service, he was given a surgeon's certificate of disability, and resigned his commission.

In July, 1865, he settled at Denver, Colorado, but moved in February, 1867, to Trinidad, Colorado, where he remained, engaged in business, till November, 1886, when he returned to Denver, where he now (1892) resides.

Lieutenant Davis was married November 4, 1874, to Miss Sarah Augusta Davis, of Jerseyville, Illinois, and has one child, Joseph Swallow Davis.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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