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John H. Donovan, 69th New York / 19th VRC

Discussion in 'Period Civil War Photos & Examinations' started by GELongstreet, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    John H. Donovan was born in Ireland on June 24, 1840. He moved to the US as a teen and became a lawyer just when the war started. He joined the 69th New York Infantry Regiment as a 1st Lieutenant in Company D. He was shot through the eye and lost an ear at Malvern Hill and became a POW; being questioned by Generals Hill and Magruder while recuperating in Richmond. He belonged to a group of four Lieutenants exchanged for Col. (later Brig. Gen.) John Gregg. At Fredericksburg, by now Captain of Company G, he participated in the Irish Brigade's assault against Marye's Heights, leaving a written account of it, and was wounded again. He transferred to the 1st Regiment of the Veteran Reserve Corps and then to the 19th Regiment. With the later he belonged, by now a Major, to the units guarding Elmira Prison. When the war ended he was brevetted Colonel.

    After the war Donovan decided to stay in the army and became a Captain in the 44th Infantry, Veteran Reserve Corps. He also was brevetted Major in the Regular Army for his services in the Battle of Seven Pines. Later the regiment was integrated into the 17th Infantry. He resigned in 1878 and died on April 16, 1882.


    That is all information about him I could find; picking that from several mentions in the ORs and other original documents or lists, the linked blog and the 69th NY page. Picture from pinterest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017

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  3. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Here we have Donovan either as Major with the 19th VRC or as Bvt. Major in the regulars after the war. The picture is from the aforementioned blog.
     
  4. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Thanks. Porr fellow.
     
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  5. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    These types of photos and stories always make me wince. And as much as I respect those guys the BJ in me then always thinks of the Monty Python black knight scene. It's amazing to me how many lost limbs and sustained multiple debilitating wounds and, yet, returned to service. These days you'd be out on the first one.

    I really do think folks of that era were, generally, tougher than we are. Some of that is just because they didn't have an alternative but returning to service after losing an eye or a limb just seems really hard corps to me. Tough old coots.
     
  6. The Gael

    The Gael Private

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  7. The Gael

    The Gael Private

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    Excellent information on Donovan! Where did you find his birth date and prewar information? I have been trying to do more research on him.
     
  8. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Thanks. Found that little about his pre-war life, those two sentences, on wikipedia; unfortunately unsourced. It was posted by an anonymous IP user who hasn´t done anything since then, at least not with the same IP, so asking him where he got it from would probably not work either.
     
  9. The Gael

    The Gael Private

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    I finally found a descriptive list entry for him. It stated that he was 21 years old, had dark blue eyes, dark brown hair, had a fair complexion and stood 6'4" tall. At the time of enlistment he was a printer & law student.
     
  10. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    @Mike Serpa another candidate for your profile pic?!

    And I have to agree with @John Winn - not only that they had to learn how to live a "normal" life with a missing limb without the amazing things modern day prosthetics can do - they also had to overcome the psychological impact. They knew exactly what could happen and just went back to war! What a pity that psychology was no common subject then, I'd love to read a book written by someone who had interviewed him and could explain what drove him and all the others to return to the ordeal! I think there would be a lot to learn there for people like me who never really left their comfort zone ...
     
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