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Woodward, John Worthington

MILITARY SERVICE

Age: 23, credited to Burlington, VT
Unit(s): 1st VT CAV
Service: comn CPT, Co. M, 1st VT CAV, 11/19/62 (11/19/62), pow, Aldie, 3/2/63, prld 3/2/63, kia, Hagerstown, 7/6/63 [College: UVM 62]

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

VITALS

Birth: 1839, Unknown
Death: 07/06/1863

Burial: East Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Peter Flood
Findagrave Memorial #: 61733390

MORE INFORMATION

Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not found
Portrait?: USAHEC off-site
College?: UVM 62
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

DESCENDANTS

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BURIAL:

Copyright notice

Tombstone

Tombstone

East Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, VT

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Photo

VHS - Unidentified Album (FB102)

Biography

John Worthington Woodward,

The son of Rev. John Hills and Emily D. (Morehouse) Woodward, was born in Westford, Vt., 16 June 1839. His father was a trustee of the University 1860-62, and chaplain of the First Vermont Cavalry, 1862-63, the regiment to which his son belonged. John W. was fitted for college mainly at Johnson, Vt., and entered college at the age of nineteen. He had talents of a high order with a special relish for poetry, oratory and romance, and a passionate fondness for music. He was "impulsive, often thoughtless, always gay and fun-loving; but frank, straightforward and truthful to his father," says one of his intimate college friends.

It was only by a continual struggle that he was kept from joining the army, as so many did, before the completion of his college course. He felt it a reproach, as he said, that his father and only brother were in the field, and he left at home with the women. He was commissioned captain in the First Vermont Cavalry 19 November 1862, and went to the seat of war the following January. Here he showed a capacity for command, and that combination of daring and judgment which is so indispensable in a leader of cavalry. His success in the critical enterprises on which he was dispatched at different times was such as to win the commendation of his superior officers. He fell at Hagerstown, Md., 6 July 1863, the third day after the last battle of Gettysburg, being shot through brain and heart while attempting to rally his squadron in the face of an overwhelming attack. Six days afterward his body was identified, and later received Christian burial in the Presbyterian cemetery at Hagerstown.

His desire to connect himself with his father's church in the fall of 1862 was somehow frustrated, but his moral purpose and Christian manliness were made clear by his participation in the army prayer meetings. He was of those "who in a short time fulfill a long time."

Source: University of Vermont Obituary Record, Compiled by a Committee of the Associate Alumni, No. 1, Burlingtom, 1895, pages 125-126.

Obituary

Capt. John W. Woodward

The funeral services in memory of Captain John W. Woodward, Co. M, 1st Vt. Cavalry, took place in Westford, August 28th. The following account of the occasion we copy from the Burlington Free Press:

"The church was filled to overflowing, with mourners and sympathizing friends from a number of towns. Prayer was offered by Rev. C. C. Torrey of Westford, followed by a hymn written for the occasion by Rev. O. G. Wheeler, of Grand Isle.

I.
O God, to Thee we early gave
Our child, to take away or save
Since Thou hast claimed him, why should we
Withhold thine own? We yield to Thee.

II.
Around our Darling's budding brow
Hope twined her sweetest sun-lit glow.
His future seemed a path of light
We deemed, for him, no joy too bright.

III.
By learning trained, we hoped to see
Him give his life, O Lord, to Thee,
With sword of truth, and helm of right,
For Christ and for his cause to fight.

IV.
But other work to him was given
Than winning souls to Christ and Heaven.
God bade him heed his country's call,
He heard, and gave to her his all.

V.
"Charge, soldiers, charge the trait'rous foe,
God bids you strike the avenging blow."
His work is done, and angels bear
Him to the loved that wait him there.

The funeral discourse by Prof. M. H. Buckham, of the University of Vermont, followed. From the text, Matthew, x. 30; "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered, "the speaker drew the lesson that God's providence extends to the separate events of human life, and his kind and loving care to the separate individuals of the race, and that what He thus orders for his children is always best. These truths he enforced in a simple, thoughtful, practical and exceedingly impressive discourse. Embodied in it was a truthful and touching biographical sketch of Capt. Woodward, from which we are permitted to make the following extract. It is a bright and honorable record:

John Worthington Woodward, was born in Westford, Vt., June 16th, 1839. He was a bright, open-hearted, ingenuous boy, warm in his attachments and his resentments, a favorite wherever he went. He wads fitted for college mainly at Johnson, and entered the freshman class in the University August, 1858, at the age of 19. His college course was several times interrupted by ill health, but it was on the whole an honorable and successful one. His exuberant spirits and love of excitement led him sometimes to engage in those frolics which are apt to glide insensibly into something that merits a severer name, but so far as I know, Woodward was never chargeable with any of those actions or habits which degrade and taint the whole moral character, such as lying, deceit, or meanness in any of its forms. He entered with great ardor and enthusiasm into College friendships, and he has left behind him among his College associates those who mourn for him as tenderly as for an own brother. His talents were considered by his instructors to be of a very high order, and such as promised to make him conspicuous and influential in society. He had a special relish for the higher departments of literature, for poetry, and romance, and his reading in these departments was extensive and careful. He was passionately fond of music. Indeed his whole sol seemed spontaneously to attract itself to, and to delight in that which, by any form of expression, in literature, in harmony, or in life, is adapted to awaken the noble and lofty feeling. "One of the finest traits in John's character," says his most intimate College friend in a letter to me, "was the profound love and veneration which he felt for his father. He was impulsive, often thoughtless, always gay and fun-loving, and would sometimes engage with hearty zest in exercises not approved by the laws of the University. But when his father questioned him, there was no shifting, no deceit his answer was always frank, straight-forward, and truthful. He often told me that he never could and never would deceive his parents and I do not think he ever did."

Young Woodward received the honors of the University in August 1862, and almost immediately made his preparations for entering the military service of the United States. It was with great difficulty and only by a continual struggle that he was kept from joining the army before the completion of his College course. He felt it a reproach, as he said, that his father and only brother were in the field, and he left at home with the women. Every one who knew him foresaw what his career as a soldier would be. Brave almost to recklessness, never so much at home as in perilous enterprise, and yet clear-headed while in the midst of the greatest excitement, everybody said he was admittedly adapted for a cavalry officer. He received his commission as Captain on the 29th of November, 1862, and left for the seat of war with the company he had recruited and drilled in the January following. - His conduct in the field more than justified the anticipation if his friends. - Along with his unquestioned bravery he soon showed capacity for command and that combination of daring and judgment which is so valuable in a leader of cavalry. He was at different times entrusted with the command of detachments sent out on those important and desperate enterprises required of this arm of the service, and his success was such as to attract the notice and win the complimentary mention of his superior officers. On the third day after the last battle at Gettysburg, the Vermont Cavalry with other regiments under General Kilpatrick were attempting to harass the enemy, then on the retreat between Hagerstown and Williamsport. While holding a position on the Williamsport road, supported by portions of the 5th New York and Elder's battery, they found themselves outnumbered and outflanked. It was while bravely attempting to rally his company to face this overwhelming attack that Capt. Woodward was shot simultaneously through the brain and the heart; The whole force were obliged to fall back and leave their dead in the hand of the enemy. It was not till six days afterward, when our troops re-occupied Hagerstown, that Mr. Woodward was able to recover the body of his son, which in the meantime had been rifled and buried, and was with difficulty identified. It afterward received christian burial in the Presbyterian graveyard of Hagerstown - and let all of us who knew Captain Woodward, remember to the everlasting honor of the clergymen and inhabitants of Hagerstown, that they showed the kindest sympathy for his father in his great affliction, they attended the burial of the remains and strewed flowers over the grave. And thus ended the earthly career of one who so lately went from among you in all the bloom and promise of early manhood. You will not see his face again; that clear, ringing voice, which so often sounded forth the praises of God in this house, and which so often cheered his comrades on to daring and victory on the bloody field, you and they will hear no more. His happy boyhood, his honorable and aspiring youth, his brief career of manly glory have passed he has done his work, and gone to his reward.

The services closed with the singing by the choir of the following lines.

Away from his kindred and scenes of his youth
He sped at the summons of freedom and truth.
He rushed to the conflict, nor counted the cost;
He has fallen, how soon! But he died at his post.

Even strangers wept freely that thus in life's bloom
One so gifted, so noble, went down to the tomb;
He charged with the foremost in front of the host,
But he fell for his country he died at his post.

He faltered not, swerved not, unmindful of fear.
Though foemen surrounded he rode with a cheer.
And breathed the last message, while yielding the ghost,
"Tell my kindred and dear ones, I died at my post."

All the services, music, prayers, and sermon were appropriate, impressive, and in keeping with the subdued and solemn spirit of the occasion, stirring the large audience at times with strong emotion, and conveying a wholesome lesson to all whose privilege it was to be present."

Source: Vermont Record, September 11, 1863.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.