Picture from the National Archives, Washington, DC
John was a senior at Harvard when he enlisted in the Army. He served valiantly during the Civil War advancing from First Lieutenant to Brevet Major in 2nd Battery, Light Artillery, MA Vols., and 9th Battery, Light Artillery, MA Vols. He was badly wounded at the battle of Malvern Hill on 01 July 1862 and at Gettysburg 02 July 1863. John was a machinery designer and "inventor" by trade, and lived in Philadelphia, PA then Minneapolis, MN. He and Julia (Barber) had no children.
Source: Howe, Bigelow Family of America; records of the Bigelow Society historian/genealogist; National Archives; and MN division of vital statistics for John; Page 176 of the Bigelow Family Genealogy Volume II.
Enlisted as a private, April 24, 1861, in the 2nd Mass. Battery.
Elected Second Lieutenant, May 15, 1861. Served in Baltimore and Eastern Virginia in Autumn, 1861.
December 16, 1861 - Appointed Adjutant of the 1st Maryland Battalion.
Served in Peninsular Campaign; left arm shattered at Malvern Hill. Rejoined army in autumn; with Burnside at Fredricksburg. Contracted malaria and returned to Mass.
Appointed Captain of the 9th Mass. Light Battery by Mass. Governor Andrew
and arrived at Camp Barry on February 28, 1863.
July 2, 1863 - Wounded in the hand and side at the Trostle Farm Gettysburg, PA
August 18, 1863 - returned to command at Mine Run.
January 23, 1864 - returns home on sick leave, not fully recovered from Gettysburg wounds.
February 12, 1864, returns to command at Brandy Station.
July 13, 1864, near Petersburg, goes to rear on sick leave.
August 11, 1864, returns to Mass. on sick leave.
December 12,1864, returns to battery at Sussex Court House
January 19, 1865, discharged as Major; goes home as Brevet Major.
January 1915, Applies for Pension
Dead artillery horses lie in the yard of the Trostle house, where the guns of Captain John Bigelow 9th Massachusetts delayed the charging the 21st Mississippi while a second Federal defensive line was formed.
The Trostle House as it appears today
Special thanks to the Lorrie Stearns and the Ninth Massachusetts Battery
for information and Pictures. See the Ninth's Web Page for much more information
about the 9th. Many pictures and other information.
Additional Note: The Bigelow Society has the Military Records of Capt.
including his application for Pension dated January 2, 1915.
I hope to post these items soon, until then if you would like further
Additional information from " From My Dear Wife by Frank Putnam Deane
II, Pioneer Press, 1964"
Detailing Captain Bigelow's story from 1863 to 1865
Thanks again for the efforts of Lorrie Stearns.
[From My Dear Wife by Frank Putnam Deane II, Pioneer Press, 1964]
January, 1863 arrived amid dissension in the camp of the 9th Battery directed against Captain De Vecchi, who on the 26th resigned his commission, to the delight of the men. On February 20th, the battery's new captain, John Bigelow, arrived.
In December of 1861 Bigelow had received an appointment as Adjutant of the 1st Maryland Battalion of Artillery, had served with the battalion in the Peninsular Campaign, where at Malvern Hill his left arm had been shattered. Rejoining the battalion in the autumn, he was with the army at Fredericksburg but early in 1862 had been obliged to return to his home in Brighton, Massachusetts after contracting malaria. In January, 1863 he had again offered his services to his native state of Massachusetts and had subsequently received an appointment by Governor Andrew to the command of the 9th Battery
On April 17th, the battery was ordered to Centerville where it was to go into camp with the reserve artillery, and there by freak chance, to become attached to the Army of the Potomac when that army marched north in pursuit of Lee's Confederates, who had invaded Maryland and were headed into Pennsylvania in June, 1863.
The Keystone Battery of Philadelphia, which had been camped alongside the 9th Battery, had been ordered up to join the Army of the Potomac, but because the battery had delayed in executing the order, irked General Hunt, the Army's Chief of Artillery, canceled the Keystone's order and in its placed called up the 9th Battery. The Battery left Centerville on June 25th and marching north, joined up with the army at Edwards Ferry the next day, being attached to the artillery reserve of the Army of the Potomac in Colonel McGilver's 1st Volunteer Brigade along with the 15th New York, 5th Massachusetts Batteries and Captain R. B. Ricketts' Pennsylvania Battery; these were the guns which, with John Bigelow's Battery, were to save the day a week later at a little town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg.
When the battery arrived at Gettysburg on the morning of the 2nd of July, the great battle had commenced, but the battery was ordered into park until about three in the afternoon, when the order came for Captain Bigelow to take his battery and report to Captain Randolph, Chief of Artillery of the 3rd Corps, who directed Bigelow to take up position between a peach orchard and a wheat field in the field of a Pennsylvania German farmer named Abraham Trostle.
No sooner had the battery maneuvered into position than casualties could be counted among the men and the horse of the battery;-- now they were seeing action for the first time. Bigelow directed his fire at the Confederate batteries posted along the Emmitsburg Road with such effective results that the Southern gunners lost accuracy and slackened their fire. Now Semmes was forming his Confederate infantry in front of the buildings of the Rose farm less than half a mile distant, Bigelow turned his guns in that direction. Soon Semmes went down and his brigade dispersed with the loss of some 400 killed. Meanwhile General Kershaw had sent two of his Southern regiments against Bigelow's front and left and Barksdale's Mississippians started coming in on his right, forcing him to retire his battery which he did by prolong firing. Upon reaching Trostle's barn yard, Colonel McGilvery ordered Bigelow to hold that line at all hazards until the Union line could be reformed in his rear. No sooner had Bigelow placed his guns in this position when on came Barksdale's brigade consisting of the 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st Mississippi Regiments sweeping all before it. The Union cannoneers were order to fire double canister, which tore great gaps in Barksdale's advancing Confederates, but soon the Southerners reached the guns and hand-to hand fighting took place. The Union line meanwhile being reestablished, Bigelow was ordered to fall back and abandon his guns. The battery had delayed the Rebels long enough for the Union line to be reformed at the expense of twenty-eight men killed and wounded, including Bigelow wounded by a shot in the side; and the loss of sixty of its eighty-eight horses dead; twenty more wounded, and four of its six guns left in the hands of the enemy, but which were recovered early that evening by a charge of Union infantry.
On the following day the gallant battery, now under command of Junior Second Lieutenant John S. Milton and consisting of but two guns, was engaged at Zeigler's Grove on Cemetery Hill, where it helped to stem Pickett's gallant charge, losing five more horses.
During the remainder of that summer and fall the battery was active at Warrenton, where it remained in camp from August 1st until September 16th, when it again resumed the march, going to Culpepper Court House and remaining at that place until October 11th, when the battery took part in the Briscoe and Mine Run Campaigns during the latter part of November without suffering further loss.
The weary and battle-tried battery went into winter quarters on the 13th of December on a hill overlooking Brandy Station about a mile northwest of the town, where the men again occupied themselves, building log huts and making themselves comfortable for the winter.
Captain John Bigelow returned to his command of the battery on February 12, 1864. He had been severely wounded July 2nd of the previous year when his battery had made its gallant stand at Trostle's farm at Gettysburg.
Now, with the coming of the new year, the battery had been reassigned from the 1st Volunteer Brigade of the Artillery Reserve, in which it had seen so much action the previous year, to the 2nd Volunteer Brigade of the Artillery Reserve; but with the spring campaign about to get under way it had been again reassigned to Major Robert H. Fitzhugh's 34th Volunteer Brigade of the Artillery Reserve only to be assigned, a month later, to the Artillery Brigade of the Fifth Corps, commanded by J. Howard Kitching, colonel of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery.
May 4th saw the battery abandoning its winter camp at Brandy Station and resuming the march, this time to Ely's Ford on the Rapidan, where it crossed the river, finally arriving at the Chancellor House that evening. When they arrived, the Army of the Potomac was hotly engaged with the rebels in the Wilderness and then at Spotsylvania; but the battery did not see action until May 19th when it was placed in position on the Anderson Farm, near Spotsylvania, while nearby the battle of Harris Farm was being fought. Four days later, on the 23rd, after crossing to the south bank of the North Anna River at Jericho Ford, it went into its first action since leaving winter quarters, losing one man killed. Here the battery remained until the 26th, when it again recrossed the North Anna at Quarles' Ford, moving to Bethesda Church on June 1st and being under fire much of the time until the 3rd. Leaving Bethesda Church, and after much marching and countermarching, the battery crossed the James River on the 16th near Wilcox's Landing and advanced to the Petersburg front. They were hotly engaged on the 18th near the Avery House on the Baxter Road in support of an infantry attack and suffered the loss of one man killed, and six wounded, one mortally. The battery then proceeded to the Jerusalem Plank Road on the Petersburg lines, where it constructed and occupied Fort Davis.
On the 14th of August the battery moved to Fort Dushane (or Duchesne) near the Weldon Railroad, and on the 27th of October accompanied the 2nd and 5th Corps to Hatcher's Run where the corps forced a passage and returned the following day to its previous position. In December the battery accompanied General Ayres' 2nd Division of the 5th Corps on a second expedition on a the line of the Weldon Railroad, beyond the Nottoway River. Upon returning from the expedition the battery was garrisoned at Fort Rice, where it was to remain until the following February.
During the last week in December, Major Bigelow ( he had on August 1, 1864, been promoted to the rank of Brevet Major, U.S. Volunteers) had resigned his command of the battery and Lieutenant Richard S. Milton was promoted to the command, his Captain's commission being dated January 1, 1865
For the first month in the new year, the battery remained inactive at Fort Rice, but on the 5th of February it was sent on an expedition to Dabney's Mill on Hatcher's Run, where it was to view the army in action for the next two days, but not take part. On the 7th it returned to Fort Rice, remaining there until March 25th when it was ordered to join the Artillery Brigade of the Ninth Corps, commanded, by Major Charles A. Phillips, former commander of the 5th Massachusetts Battery. On the same day it was ordered up and shared in the assault against Fort Stedman, without loss.
Upon evacuation of Petersburg by the confederates, the battery on the 3rd, after turning in two of its guns, marched through the desolate city and joined in the pursuit of Lee's retreating army. On the 5th it reached Nottoway Court House where it was ordered to remain. It stayed in this vicinity until April 20th when it was ordered to City Point, arriving there April 23.
On the 3rd of May, Captain Milton headed his battery on its northward journey passing over many of the hard-fought battlefield of the previous four years, and reaching the defenses of Washington on the 13th.
The Grand Review of the victorious army was held on May 23rd (Sherman's army was to march the next day) and the gallant little battery joined in the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Six days after the review, the battery was ordered to turn in its guns and equipment--the end was now in sight for the battle-weary men. The men entrained for Boston on June 1st, arrived there two days later and immediately marched through the city (where little notice was given it because of its unexpected arrival) to Galloup's Island in Boston Harbor. There on June 6th it was mustered out of the service of the United States, being discharged three days later.
The battery had lost during its service two of its officers, and thirteen
of its enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and four additional enlisted
men had died of disease, a total of nineteen men.
also see: John 8 Bigelow