Since my trip to Wisconsin in August, I’ve been wondering about James Campbell, brother to my 3x-great-grandmother Ann Campbell. He served in the Civil War and died in action. I wanted to learn more about his military service.
Here is how James is related to me (I smudged out my mom for privacy). He is my 4x-great-uncle.
James was born on July 29, 1830 in Glasgow, Scotland and his baptism was recorded in the register of the John Street Relief Church.1 This was a “nonconformist” church – i.e., not the State church. This denomination later became the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which is different from the Church of Scotland.2
When James was not quite a year old, the family emigrated to the United States.3 James is not listed in the passenger manifest for the Commodore Preble but perhaps infants under the age of 1 were not listed (just a guess). The family lived in upstate New York for perhaps 10-11 years before relocating to Marquette County, Wisconsin.
In the 1850 Census, James is 19 years old, living with his parents and his siblings Ann, Margaret, and Josiah plus his nephew John Miller (Ann’s son) in Buffalo, Wisconsin (a small community about nine miles south of Montello, the county seat).4 Ten years later in the 1860 Census, James is a laborer and boarding at a hotel in Necedah.5 Necedah is a small town in Juneau County, Wisconsin about halfway between La Crosse and Montello. The principal industries at the time were likely logging and lumber.
About a year later, on August 31, 1861, James enlisted as a volunteer in Company G of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry.6 The regiment left Wisconsin on September 21 and arrived in Washington D.C. on September 26. Prior to departure, he must have stopped at the Perkins photography studio in Portage for the portrait shown at right. His stripes on his sleeve show that he had already attained the rank of Sergeant. Somehow, five copies of this photo have come down to me.
The 7th Wisconsin was joined with the 2nd Wisconsin, the 6th Wisconsin, the 19th Indiana and the 24th Michigan and were later known as the “Iron Brigade”.
Here’s a summary of his regiment’s duties upon their arrival in Washington D.C.:7
- The regiment camped at Fort Tillinghast through the winter. The fort was at the side of what is today Arlington National Cemetery.
- The regiment took part in the advance on Manassas and took part in other minor skirmishes through the spring and early summer.
- On August 28, 1862, the regiment along with the entire brigade engaged in the Battle of Gainesville, known today as “Second Bull Run” or “Second Manassas”.
This photo is said to be the 7th Wisconsin at some time during July 1862.8 If so, Sergeant Campbell may be one of the men:
The brigade adopted a distinctive style of uniform, especially the hat. They were sometimes called “The Black Hats”.
Per Wikipedia, the Iron Brigade:
…earned their famous nickname, while under the command of Brig. Gen. John Gibbon, who led the brigade into its first battle. On August 28, 1862, during the preliminary phases of the Second Battle of Bull Run, it stood up against attacks from a superior force under Maj. Gen Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson at Brawner’s Farm, during the waning hours of August 28th, 1862. The brigade lost 800 casualties…9
The Wisconsin 7th lost all its field officers, leaving a Captain in command midway through the battle. A total of 323 men were killed in action out of the initial 973 men mustered the previous year.
Sergeant James Campbell was among the casualties. A newspaper account reported that he had been shot in the lungs.10 The Surgeon General’s records show that he died at a field hospital from his wounds.
This battle was a significant loss for the Union Army. The dead were hastily buried near the battlefield in temporary graves. The bodies were later reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery. There is a tombstone there for a Sergeant James Campbell, but I can’t know for sure that it’s his.11 Unidentified bodies were collected and placed beneath the first memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, the “Civil War Unknown Monument”. James is almost certainly buried at one of these locations. I lean toward the marked grave because he died at a hospital and thus his body was likely identified.
His mother Elizabeth (Tainsh) Campbell, my 4x-great-grandmother, applied for and received a Mother’s Pension. At the time of her death, she was receiving $12/month.13
I have been to Arlington National Cemetery twice, but now I think I’d like to go again and pay my respects to Sergeant James H. Campbell, my courageous 4x-great-uncle.
1 Scotlandspeople.gov.uk – Other Church Registers – Scotland, 1830 CAMPBELL, JAMES (Other Church Registers Baptisms CH3/806/12 20 GLASGOW – JOHN STREET RELIEF) Page 20 of 116.
2 See Wikipedia entry for Relief Church – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relief_Church
3 New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at and Departing from Ogdensburg, New York, 5/27/1948 – 11/28/1972; Microfilm Serial or NAID: M237; image 3 of 4
4 1850 U.S. Census, Marquette County, Wisconsin, Buffalo, Dwelling 370, Family 370, line 5.
5 1860 U.S. Census, Juneau County, Wisconsin, Necedah, Dwelling 1637, Family 1474, line 3.
6 Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865; Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office. Volume I, page 562. https://content.wisconsinhistory.org/digital/collection/tp/id/35658
7 All regiment activity is extracted from Chapter 12 from E.B. Quiner’s Military History of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1866)
8 From https://civilwartalk.com/threads/7th-wisconsin-infantry.192146/
9 Wikipedia Iron Brigadehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Brigade
10 Quiner Scrapbooks: Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865, Volume 4, image 20 of 243, Wisconsin Historical Society
11 findagrave.com https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/32002690/james-campbell
12 Wikipedia Civil War Unknowns Monument, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_War_Unknowns_Monument
13 Fold3.com, US, Civil War “Widows’ Pensions”, 1861-1910, James H. Campbell, (WC107750)