Warner, Joseph W.
Age: 27, credited to Montgomery, VTVITALS
Birth: 05/18/1835, Cornwall, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Died in Virginia
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Joseph W. Warner
This was a tall, strong man with a slight stoop and very thick, dark hair and full beard. When Lieutenant Clarke came to the company Warner applied to him for the privilege of doing his chores for compensation and instruction and an arrangement was made. Soon Warner confessed his inability to write and asked the lieutenant to write for him to his wife. The lieutenant expressed his surprise and asked Warner how it happened that he had been reared in Vermont and could not write. Warner replied that, although he was cousin to Colonel James M. Warner of the 11th Vermont (a graduate of West Point, and, after the war, post-master of Albany, NY), their fathers were different. Jim's father favored education and Joe's father did not, but kept him in the woods chopping. Clarke offered to teach him and the offer was eagerly accepted and he made good progress.
On the march to Gettysburg, after passing Frederick, Md., an order was issued to take the officers' baggage from the wagons to relieve the jaded horses and burn it to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy. After the march was resumed Clarke saw Warner carrying his valise and his heart was touched, but he assumed sternness, told Warner that he was violating orders and commanded him to throw his burden away. Warner pleaded so hard that he was permitted to carry it until they could leave it at the house of some loyalist. Soon, however, there came along a wagon driven by Warren Corse, a member of Company G, and when the story was told to him he took in the valise and saved it.
On the third day at Gettysburg, after the regiment had advanced to meet Pickett, a shell struck Warner's cartridge box and carried it away. The impact threw him to the ground and as he rolled over Lieutenant Clarke said, "Try to get up, Warner, I guess you are not hurt." Warner felt of his right hip and coming to his feet, replied, "Wal, I vow, I guess i ain't, but I've lost my cartridge box." He soon obtained one, however, from a man who had fallen and was loading his rifle when a bullet passed across the font of his legs midway above the knees, cutting the flesh about one-half its size. He dropped his rifle, placed his hands over the wounds and in that stooping attitude loped to the rear, without objection. After getting out of range he examined his injuries and, find they were only slight, returned to the front, explaining that he would rather be with the boys than looking out for himself.
Some years after the war Lieutenant Clarke went to Montgomery to attend a political meeting and availed of the occasion to hunt up the old boys. He was told that Warner re-entered in the 17th Vermont and never returned and was recorded as a deserted. Clark could not believe that such a man would desert so he determined to look up the facts. Warner's widow told him that a law firm in St. Albans had been trying to get evidence but a fire destroyed their papers and they were unable to proceed. Clarke learned from them that they had heard of a man who claimed to have seen Warner in Fredericksburg, Va., just after the battle of the Wilderness, suffering from a severe wound and a high fever, but that they had lost his name and address in the fire. Mrs. Warner had an impression that the man was once employed in St. Johnsbury. Following this clue Clarke found him and obtained his affidavit which was to the effect that while hunting for a friend among the thousands of wounded who had been brought to Fredericksburg he saw Warner, whom he had formerly known, suffering as above related, and Warner told him while driving cattle in rear of the army, in pursuance of orders, the guard had been overpowered by a strong body of rebel cavalry and that after some delay and great suffering he had been picked up by an ambulance and brought to Fredericksburg. The man also testified that when he next called to see Warner he was pointed to his grave.
Upon the strength of this evidence, accusing as it did, with the fact that Warner had been thus detailed and that such a raid had occurred, Clarke was able to get the War Department to correct the record because the record of desertion was not made from any evidence, but in pursuance of a standing order that when a soldier was absent unaccounted for two months he was to be dropped from the rolls as a deserter. The result of this correction was not only a vindication of the good name of a brave and faithful soldier, but the recovery by his widow and four minor children of pay and pension, the arrears of which were more than $1800.