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Brock, John N. Jr.


Age: 21, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 11th VT INF
Service: enl 12/5/63, m/i 12/16/63, Pvt, Co. C, 11th VT INF, d/dis 6/24/64

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: abt 1842, England
Death: 06/24/1864

Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Andrew Melcher
Findagrave Memorial #: 44568459

Cenotaph: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 46849187


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None

Webmaster's Note: The 11th Vermont Infantry was also known as the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery; the names were used interchangably for most of its career


Great Granduncle of Peter Brock, Cary, NC

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Copyright notice

Arlington National Cemetery, VA

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.




Cenotaph in Mountain View cemetery, Orwell, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may have cenotaphs there.


Most men try to avoid going to a shooting war where your life isn't worth a plug nickel. Some men run towards the sound of gunfire because they can't resist the chance for glory. Some run away because they are scared to die or get hurt. The Civil War was unique in many ways. One way was that some naive young men viewed it as an adventure; a chance of a lifetime to see and do things they had never seen or done before. These unsuspecting and untried youngsters could not wait to join in the free-for-all lest it is over before they could get into the fight. Others were more reluctant to get directly involved in the strife, more fully realizing that gunfire meant a high probability of death or gruesome injury. What motivated twenty-one-year-old John Brock, Jr. to enlist in the Union Army was probably more youthful exuberance than anything else, although he may have had other reasons for joining up. His father, John Brock, Sr., on the other hand, must have had some very strong and compelling reasons to follow his son into the service during wartime when he had a house full of dependents and a wife relying on him to provide them with the basic necessities of life.

John Brock, Jr. was born in England. [1] His parents, John Brock, Sr. ( 1815-1873), and Susan Pierce (1827-1893), were both born in England as well. [2] John Jr.'s grandfather was also named John Brock. Tradition was important to this Brock family. John Jr. had seven siblings: Ann Nora (1847-?); Elizabeth C. (1850-?); Mary (1852-?); Susan C. (1854-?); Walter Edward (1857-1939); George O. (1860-?); and Freeman J. (1866-?). [3]

Four members of the Brock family immigrated from England to the United States sometime prior to 1850. Exactly when they arrived in the United States was not clearly stated in the public records consulted. But John, Sr., his wife, Susan, John, Jr. and his sister Ann Nora were all born in England. [4] According to one Ancestry family tree and the 1850 Federal Census, Ann Nora Brock was the last child in this family to be born in England. She was born in October of 1847. Elizabeth C. was the next child born to John Sr. and Susan and she was born in February of 1850 in Orwell, Vermont. She was the first child born in the United States. So the family emigrated from their English homeland sometime between October of 1847 and February of 1850. John Sr. was a farmer in his new location. His oldest son, John Jr., was nine at the time. Since the family had not been in the United States for very long, John Sr.'s farm was probably a very modest operation. However, it appeared sufficient to support a family of five. The 1850 Federal Census did not suggest any monetary value of the farm property. [5]

By 1860, it was clearly evident even to new arrivals to this country that there was a threatening civil strife between the North and the South about to explode into more than a war of words. John Brock, Sr. had been working diligently to build up his farm so that he and his family could enjoy a secure and comfortable financial future. According to the 1860 Federal Census figures, his business had grown to be worth $1,000 plus he had personal property valued at another $300. He was in the prime of life at forty-six and had a grown son of nineteen at his side to help with the labor of running an expanding agricultural enterprise. His farm was not the only thing growing. The size of his family in the last ten years had nearly doubled, going from five total in 1850 to nine members in 1860. [6] But all these enhancements were about to be jeopardized by the events unfolding in a far away state called South Carolina. April of 1861 brought a monumental change to American families throughout the nation. When the echo of canon faded and the Federal fort in Charleston Harbor surrendered, thousands of eager young men raced to find a place where they could don a blue uniform. Like the hordes of full of youthful zeal for adventure, John Jr. must have been as eager as any native son to show his loyalty to the flag of his adopted country. And like a multitude of parents in the nation, his must have agonized over how far to become involved in this fracas thrust upon the general population. No action was immediately taken by either father or son. It was almost two and one half years before a commitment from either one was made. But when the decision came to directly leap into the rebellion, both parent and child signed their enlistment papers on the same day (and I would be willing to bet, at the same time).

It was not hard to understand why a twenty-one year old would want to join the Army and go off to war. The adrenaline rush; the excitement of a lark; the fact that everyone else was doing it; the stigma of not joining; the love of a uniform are all reasons why a young man might go off to war. But John Sr. was a middle-aged man, not a juvenile. He had large family obligations as head of household and primary breadwinner. What was his motivation? Perhaps he felt he had to go in order to answer the need he had to protect his son. Maybe he felt he had to take an active part in defending his newly adopted country so that he could demonstrate his loyalty and devotion to his new homeland. We'll never really know the reasons they took that step to become combatants.

The fact was that they both became privates in the Union Army on December 5, 1863, when they enlisted in Company C of the First Vermont Regiment of Heavy Artillery for three years. Since they did so at the encouragement of the Selectmen of the town of Orwell, we can add another reason to the list of maybes above - to avoid being drafted. While the son and father may have been alike in attitude and temperament, they were very unlike in physical appearance. John Jr. had the usual blue eyes and brown hair of most recruits, but he was very short. He only stood five feet four inches in height. His father was much taller, being above average at six feet even. John Sr. also had grey eyes with his brown hair. Both had a light complexion. [7]

The two of them reported to Burlington, Vermont to be officially accepted into the service of the United States. The father-son team received $25 each of their bounty money. Each was still owed another two hundred twenty-two dollars. [8] Another possible incentive for the two of them to join the Army not already mentioned was money. It was constantly used throughout the Civil War, as it still is today, as an enticement to enlist in the military. Between the two of them, they earned $534 in bounty form the U.S. Government, plus another $35 each from the "commutation fund" when they enlisted. They could expect to receive $20 per month for pay ($13 from the Federal Government plus an additional $7 per month from Vermont). To a farmer with a large family and a single twenty-one-year-old unpaid hired man, that amounted to a sizeable amount of hard cash. [9] Some of that money ($70 + $534= $604) you didn't have to be alive in order to collect (the equivalent of $10, 636 in 2017 dollars). The money aspect alone may have eased some of the suffering caused by the absence of the head of household leaving a wife and children on the farm to fend for themselves in order to go off and fight in another country's war.

The regiment, to which the Brocks were members, was originally mustered-in as the Eleventh Vermont Volunteer Infantry in September 1862. In mid-December of that year, it was re-designated as the First Heavy Artillery. Unfortunately, official and personal records used both designations which have caused great confusion.

The Eleventh Regiment was the largest Vermont regiment sent to the war, both in original membership and in total enrollment. It was recruited as an infantry regiment at the same time as the Tenth, under the call of July 2, 1862, from President Lincoln for 300,000 volunteers. By the middle of August, ten companies had been organized. The Regiment rendezvoused at Camp Bradley in Brattleboro, Vermont where they were mustered into the U.S. service September 1, 1862, for three years. It left the State on September 7 for Washington, D.C. where it arrived on the ninth and was immediately assigned to duty in the chain of forts constituting the northern defenses of the capital. By order of the Secretary of War, dated December 10, 1862, it was made a heavy artillery unit becoming re-designated as the First Heavy Artillery.

The Eleventh remained in the defenses of Washington, D.C. for a period of eighteen months, during which time it was chiefly employed strengthening the works, constructing and garrisoning Forts Stevens, Slocum and Totten. During the latter part of its artillery service at Washington, the Regiment garrisoned four other forts and occupied a line of about seven miles. It experienced little of the real hardships of war during 1863 and the first months of 1864. It had comfortable quarters, the men enjoyed excellent health and rations - even luxuries were abundant for a price. It maintained an excellent state of discipline typical of Vermont troops and was rated the best disciplined regiment in the defense of the capital. After the terrible Federal losses at the Battle of the Wilderness, the Eleventh was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac. It reported for duty as infantry near Spotsylvania Court House with nearly 1,500 men.

During the severe Overland Campaign that followed, the Regiment participated in every major engagement of the Sixth Corps from May 1864 to April 1865: Spotsylvania; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Welden railroad; Fort Stevens; Charlestown; Gilbert's ford; Opequan; Fisher's Hill; Cedar Creek; Petersburg siege. In the debacle at Welden railroad, June 23, 1864, the Regiment suffered the greatest loss sustained by any Vermont Regiment in a single action. It lost nine killed, thirty-one wounded and two hundred sixty-one captured. All the captives were sent to Andersonville prison where two hundred thirty-two of them died.

Original members, recruits for one year and recruits whose term of service expired before October 1, 1865, were mustered-out on June 24, 1865. The remainder of the Regiment was consolidated into one battalion of heavy artillery and stationed in the defenses of Washington until mustered-out on August 25, 1865. The original members of the Eleventh numbered 1,315. Recruits and transfers amounted to an additional 1,005. The total rank and file was 2,320. Of that number, 152 were killed in action; 210 died of disease; 457 were wounded; 339 where captured; 2 died by accident. [10]

Father and son managed to stay together from enlistment through May of 1864. They collected some more installments of their bounty and, of course, their military pay whenever the Company was paid off. John Jr. ran up a $4 debt to F. Evans, the Regiment's sutler in March or April of 1864. [11] During those five months, father and son were inseparable. Then an all too common thing happened - John Jr. fell sick with one of the camp's dreaded diseases. He caught typhoid fever around May 14. By May 26, 1864 he had been admitted to Lincoln General Hospital in Washington, D.C. [12] He died there at Lincoln on the 24th of June, 1864. His $4 debt to Evans followed him to the brink of his grave. [13] John Jr. was buried the next day, June 25, in a cemetery in Washington, D.C. He was twenty-two and single. He did not have much on him for possessions when he died. The inventory taken of his effects revealed he had:

	1. - pair pants (trousers)
	1. - blouse
	1. - pair flannel drawers
	1. - handkerchief
	1. - diary
	1. - needle book
	1. - watch
	1. - ring
	1. - pin
	1. - pocketbook
	10 dollars in money [14] 

In addition to the $4 John Jr. owed the sutler Evans, he had pay due him from February 29 to his death (four months pay, $52). He had already received clothing in the amount of $49.32 and had been advanced $80 of his bounty money due him. But he didn't owe the laundress anything! [15]

In the meantime, before his son's death, John Sr. must have literally worried himself sick. He was admitted to Campbell Hospital by doctor's orders on July 12, 1864. [16] He was diagnosed there with "typhus malarial fever" (the doctors couldn't distinguish between malaria or typhoid, so they called it both). [17] He stayed at Campbell Hospital for fifteen days and then was transferred to N.Y. (Bedloe Island?) on July 27, 1864. [18] On July 30, Private Brock was admitted to Lovell General Hospital, Portsmouth, R.I. where he stayed until the middle of September. [19] He was "attached" to Baxter General Hospital in Burlington, Vermont on September 13, 1864. [20] He remained in Baxter General from September, 1864 to April, 1865. [21] On April 10, Private Brock was transferred to Bedloe's Island, N.Y. [22] John Sr. served in the defenses of Washington, D.C. until May 17, 1865 when he was discharged for "...d age (52) and General Debility caused by sicknesses in service - Disability 1/2...." at Danville, Virginia. [23]

John Brock, Sr. left the service a broken man like hundreds of other soldiers before and after him. He lost a son in the war who he desperately tried to save from harm. His own health was ruined by disease contracted while in the service of his adopted country. He could count on receiving a pension for the rest of his life, but he would never be a whole man again. As a civilian, he went home to wife and family and the only occupation he knew - farming.

By 1870, John Sr. had another son. He named him "Freeman" J. Brock. He was now fifty-six, on disability, and the owner/operator of a farm valued at around $3,000. Living in the same household were two of his older daughters, Elizabeth and Susan. Both were school teachers in Orwell. Mary, eighteen, stayed at home presumably to help her mother run the household. Walter and George attended school as students. Little Freeman was only four so his job was to keep the women in the house busy keeping up with him. [24]

On June 23, 1873, John Sr. succumbed to the disease he contracted in the service - consumption. [25] He was fifty-seven. He only survived eight years after his discharge from the Army. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Orwell next to the cenotaph he had erected for his son, John Jr.

Susan, John Sr.'s wife, and their children continued to live in Orwell. She had applied for a widow's pension soon after her husband's death in 1873. [26] In 1880, she was head of household, widowed and operating the farm. George, twenty, was the only one of three sons still living with their mother, who might have been helping her with the workload of running the farm. Walter, twenty-three, made a living as a tin peddler. Freeman, fourteen, attended school. [27] There was no 1890 Federal Census information on Susan or her boys. A fire destroyed that year's data. On May 21, 1893, Susan died at sixty-six. She was buried in the Brock family plot in Mountain View Cemetery in Orwell, Vermont. [28]

1., Find A Grave, Memorial #46849187 and 46849083 for John Brock Jr. and Sr.
2. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Susan Brock; Ibid., Find A Grave Memorial #46849083 for John Brock, Sr.
3. Ibid., Fry_2012_07_09 for John Brock; Ibid., 1850 & 1860 U.S. Federal Census for John Brock (Brook).
4. Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for John Brock.
5. Ibid., Fry_2012_07_09 for John Brock; Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for John Brock.
6. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for John Brook.
7., Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Vermont, p. 2, images 309683291 and 309683319. Hereinafter referred to as Compiled Service Record.
8. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 3, images 309683292 and 309683320.
9. Ibid.
10. Vermont in the Civil Brigade/Eleventh Vermont Infantry; Vermont Infantry.
11., Compiled Service Record, p. 6, image 309683295 for John Brock, Jr.
12. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 8, image 309683297 for John Brock, Jr.
13. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 9, image 309683298 for John Brock, Jr.
14. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 15, image 309683304 for John Brock, Jr.
15. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 23, image 309683312 for John Brock, Jr.
16. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 25, image 309683314 for John Brock.
17. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 27, image 309683316 for John Brock.
18. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 28, image 309683317 for John Brock.
19. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 8, image 309683325 for John Brock.
20. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 10, image 309683327 for John Brock.
21. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, pp. 10-15, images 309683327, ...329, ...331, and ...332 for John Brock.
22. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 18, image 309683333 for John Brock.
23. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 22, image 309683339 for John Brock.
24., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for John Brock.
25. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908, Death for John H. Brock.
26., Compiled Service Record, Pension Files for John H. Brock.
27., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Susan Brock.
28., Memorial #111466597 for Susan Pierce Brock.

Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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