John Kinsey Smedley was born 10 July 1839 in Willistown, Pennsylvania the fourth child of Jeffrey Smedley (1811-1861) and Catherine Denny (1803-1877)); with siblings Lydia, Amy, Isaac, Abiah T., Catherine Ann, Anna Mary, Jeffrey and Charles. He was a fifth generation American of English Quaker heritage.
In September 1862 at the age of 23, John enlisted in the Union Navy, and participated in blockade duties and attacks on the Confederate forts in Charleston Harbor including Fort Sumter.
He served aboard vessels Nantucket, Wabash, Mohican and Tullahoma.
The family is fortunate to have details of his service, written down by John's daughter Hattie and signed by him.
"Enlisted Sept. 1, 1862 in U.S. Navy at Philadelphia, PA. Appointed 3rd Assist. Engineer, U.S. Navy Nov. 17, 1862. Ordered to report onboard U.S. Monitor “Nantucket” at Boston, Feb. 14, 1863, Donald McNeal Fairfax, commanding. Was in engagements Fort Sumter, S.C. Apr. 7, 1863 – James Island batteries July 8 and 10/63 on Stono River, and Morris Island, S.C. – Fort Wagner July 10, 16, and 18, 1863 – Fort Sumter July 20 – Fort Moultrie July 21, 1863 – Cummings Point batteries Aug. 10 and 12/63 – Fort Wagner Aug. 15 and 16/63."
"Appointed 2nd Assist. Eng. Mar. 23, 1864. Detached from Monitor Nantucket July 20, 1864 and ordered to Steam Frigate “Wabash”, Capt. John de Camp, by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron".
"Reported July 21, 1864 to W.K. Grozier, Executive Officer – Cruised off Cape de Verde Islands for three months.Detached from the Wabash and ordered to the U.S. Man-of-War “Mohican”, Oct. 30, 1864 by Rear Adml. David D. Porter, Com. N.A.B. Squadron. Reported Oct. 31, 1864 to Daniel Ammen, com".
"Was in engagements at Fort Fisher, N.C. Dec. 24 and 25, 1864, also Jan. 13-14-15, 1865, ending with the capture of the Fort. Steamed to Fort McAllister, Georgia and had a skirmish with scouting party in timber (?) etc.
Detached from “Mohican” Apr. 26, 1865 at Boston – ordered to special duty on board U.S.S. “Tullahoma” at New York, May 19, 1865, by Thorton A. Jenkins, Chief of Staff.Ordered to temporary duty Aug. 6, 1865 on board U.S. Monitor “Nantucket” on trip to Philadelphia. Detached Feb. 20, 1866 from special duty on U.S.S. Tullahoma and ordered to Navy Yard, N.Y. in connection with Boiler Experimental duty. Reported Feb. 21, 1866 – J.W. King, Chief Engineer.
After the war John headed west - to Utah and California - but that is for another posting!
He died 22nd July 1905 at Alamedia. Caifornia, buried in San Francisco National Cemetery, with the form for internment describing him as "2nd Assistant Engineer US Navy".
The USA Civil War Draft Registration Records on Ancestry.com show that 23 year old Isaac enlisted in the 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He rose to the rank of 2nd Liut. but was honorably discharged on a surgeon's certificate at Seabrook island, South Carolina.
He sadly died, unmarried, of consumption om 12 February 1867 at the young age of 28. He was buried in Willistown Friends Cemetery, Chester, Delaware Co. under the title " Lieut. Isaac Smedley"
So both brothers were recognized on their deaths for the service they gave in time of war.
- Family notes and photographs, with special thanks to Gail - John Kinsey Smedley's great granddaughter.
- US Civil War Draft Registration Records 1863-1865
- Officers of the Continental & US Navy & marine Corps 1795-1900.
- US Navy Pension Records
- US Veterans Grave-sites
- California Death Index
- US National Cemetery Interment Control Form
Military Monday is one of many daily blog prompts from Geneabloggers