* OFFICIAL *
- Mar 15, 2013
John A. Jones was born December 6, 1821 in Georgia. He studied law and engaged in the practice of his profession at Columbus with his father. His sister, Mary Howard Jones, married Henry L. Benning about 1834 and he married Mary Louisa Leonard in 1843. His father was aging and soon John A Jones joined brother-in-law Henry Benning in the practice of law.
When the war commenced, John A Jones was a 40 year old lawyer, living in Columbus with his wife Mary Louisa and their four young children. On May 23, 1861, he enrolled for service and raised a company of infantry, known as the 'Southern Guards.' He was elected Captain of the company which became Company I of the 20th Georgia Infantry. On August 21, 1861, he was promoted to Major. On March 7, 1862, Lt. Col. John B. Cumming was promoted to Colonel, and Jones was elevated to fill the vacant spot, becoming the regiment's Lt. Col.
On May 29, 1863, John A. Jones was promoted to Colonel of the 20th Georgia. He was killed July 2, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg. The details of his death were reported in the Columbus Sun and reprinted in The Savannah Republican of July 24, 1863.
I always thought Colonel Jones was shot and killed during the worst part of the fighting, but evidently, that is not the case. According to the article, after the regiment had retired to a place of relative safety and the firing had generally subsided, he was seated in consultation with his brother-in-law, General Benning, and other officers, when Jones was struck in the head by a fragment of shell that exploded nearby, killing him instantly. I can't think of any reason that the manner of his death, as reported here, should not be considered accurate.
DEATH OF COL. JOHN A. JONES - The melancholy news of the death of this gallant young officer, so well and favorably known in this community, reached us several days since; but hoping for the best, and fearing lest we should give useless pain to his family and friends, we did not make the announcement public. There is, however, no longer any doubt as to the reality of the sad affair. It seems that Colonel Jones, after having led his regiment gallantly in the charge by Gen. Benning's brigade, and shared with his comrades the honor of capturing the enemy's batteries in front, and when the brigade had retired to a place of comparative safety, and after the firing has principally ceased, Col. Jones was seated on the ground in company with Gen. Benning and other officers, when a shell from one of the enemy's batteries fell near him, exploded, and a fragment striking a rock near by, glanced and struck Col. J on the side of the head, penetrating the brain, and which caused instant death. He leaves an aged father and mother, a wife and interesting family, and a large circle of friends, to mourn his loss.
Originally published in the Columbus Sun; reprinted in The Savannah Republican. (Savannah, Ga.), July 24, 1863, page 2.
The Daily Sun. (Columbus, Ga.), August 08, 1863, page 1.
Daily Columbus Enquirer. (Columbus, Ga.), February 10, 1866, page 3.