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John Van Petten, 34th New York Infantry

Posted in   by Steven on September 14th, 2011

John Bullock Van Petten (1827-1908)

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Official record: Residence was not listed; 33 years old.
Enlisted on 6/15/1861 at Albany, NY as a Chaplain. On 6/15/1861 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NY 34th Infantry. He was discharged for promotion on 9/6/1862 On 9/6/1862 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NY 160th Infantry He was Mustered Out on 1/21/1865 On 4/10/1865 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NY 193rd Infantry He was Mustered Out on 1/18/1866 at Harper’s Ferry, WV

He was listed as: * Wounded 9/19/1864 Winchester, VA

Promotions: * Lt Colonel 9/20/1862 (As of 160th NY Infantry)
* Brig-General 3/13/1865 by Brevet
* Colonel 3/29/1865 (As of 193rd NY Infantry)

Other Information: born 6/19/1827 in Sterling, Cayuga County, NY died 10/31/1908 in Cazenovia, NY

From the official history of the 160th New York Infantry:

In July it returned to the north with the first two divisions of
the 19th corps and in Dwight’s (1st) division, fought under
Sheridan in his campaign in the Shenandoah Valley against Early,
sustaining severe losses in the battles of the Opequan and Cedar
creek.

In the former action its casualties were 15 killed, 61 wounded
and 1 missing, and in the latter 66 killed, wounded and missing.
Lieut.-Col. Van Petten received a bullet through the thigh at
Winchester, but continued to bravely lead his men until the
battle was over.

(note that “Opequan” is the alternate name for the Third Battle of Winchester.)

From online biography:

John Bullock Van Petten was born on June 19, 1827 in Sterling, Cayuga Co.,
NY and died on October 31, 1908.  John was a teacher at Claverack College, a
Principal at Fairfield Academy and a Methodist/Episcopal clergyman.  During
the Civil War he was a Chaplain for the 34th NY Volunteer Infantry and
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the 160th NY Volunteer Infantry.  He was
then promoted to Brevet Brigadier General.  In 1866 he was a NY State
Senator and in 1868, was instrumental in steering legislation authorizing the
establishment of Syracuse University.  By 1877 he was Principal of the
seminary at Sedalia, Missouri and from 1885 to 1900 he was professor of
Latin, History and Elocution at the Claverack, NY Hudson River Institute.
One student, Stephen Crane,, who attended lectures there, later wrote the Red
Badge of Courage, based in large part on the “Reverend General’s” (evidently
an affectionate moniker used by students) recollections of his Civil War
experiences that he enjoyed telling both students and faculty.