Decatur County, Iowa
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Obituary ~ Capt. Charles P. Johnson
December 09, 1841 ~ April 12, 1871
Garden Grove Express
Garden Grove, Decatur County, Iowa
DIED- At his residence in Garden Grove, Decatur county, Iowa, on April 12th at 3:30 o'clock p.m. Captain Charles P. Johnson, aged 37 years 4 months and 3 days. Captain Johnson who was familiarly known to most of our readers, was born in Waterville, New York, December 9, 1841. His father, Dr. Charles S. Johnson, a man eminent in his profession, died when the subject of this sketch was a lad of a few summers. His mother came to Garden Grove with her twelve-year old boy, about twenty-five years ago, with her brothers, O.N., C.L., and R.D. Kellogg.
He enlisted as a soldier under Captain (now Major) J.L. Young, in Leon, this county; was mustered into the United States services at Keokuk, March 21st, 1862, as First sergeant of company A, seventeenth volunteer regiment of Iowa infantry, was promoted to second lieutenant, September 4, 1862, and commissioned to captain of his company June 3, 1863.
At the battle of Black River Bridge, in the rear of Vicksburg, when leading a desperate charge, he was wounded by a minnie ball passing entirely through his body, and left on the field for dead. Litter bearers afterwards, by his own order, conveyed him to the field hospital, where his wound was pronounced mortal. Undaunted he sent for his regimental surgeon, who dressed his wound by drawing a silk handkerchief, half at a time, through his body. The day after, he and several others fell into the hands of the enemy, and were taken to Atlanta, Georgia, as prisoners.
As soon as his fate was known at home, his mother, a woman of great personal courage and determination, bidding defiance to the perils of the undertaking, at once decided to go to Atlanta, to take care of her only child, in whom were centered all her earthly hopes. Passing through our lines at Nashville, she traveled in a little one-horse wagon across the country most of the way to Atlanta, meeting and overcoming all difficulties. Spurred on by mother-love, she reached Atlanta to find the captain in an emaciated, suffering condition. He was at once removed from the hospital to a private house and the care of him relinquished to his mother. Here they remained for months, and until after the siege and occupation of Atlanta by General Sherman, by whose orders they were sent north to St. Louis.
His condition and suffering from the time he was wounded up to his arrival in St. Louis beggars description, and but for the watchful care and tender nursing of his mother, he would doubtless have slept in a southern grave, where the perfumes of the hedge rose bloom would have been wafted over his narrow bed. Captain Johnson was the only member of the United States regular army by special act of congress. Brave and generous, kind to his soldiers, he was universally beloved by his command. He was a good scholar and a man on whom nature bestowed natural gifts with a lavish hand. His inflexible will and natural bravery served him in a good purpose and tendered to make his life more endurable than it would have been to one less brave. From the date of his wound to the time of his death he had been deprived the pleasure of standing or sitting even for an hour; he had also been deprived of the relief that any change of position would have brought, but had lain flat on his breast while sixteen years have dragged their slow length along. We would not paint his suffering if we could, and could not if we would.
[Interment made at Garden Grove Cemetery, Garden Grove, Iowa.]
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015