J. Olden enlisted on August 16, 1861 as a Private
in Company E, New Jersey 6th Infantry Regiment.
Sixth Infantry Regiment was organized under the provisions of an
act of Congress, approved July 22, 1861, and was fully organized,
equipped and officered by August 19, at which time it was
mustered into the U. S. service at Camp Olden, Trenton, for three
years. It left the state on Sept. 10, with 38 officers, 860
non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 898. William
H. Schwaab, who was most likely Private Olden's
brother-in-law, was among the 898 men. Both John J. Olden and William
H. Schwaab would serve with the Camden Fire Department in
arrival at Washington the regiment went into camp at Meridian
hill, and remained there until the early part of December,
at which time it was ordered to report to General Hooker, near
Budd's Ferry, Maryland, where it was brigaded with the 5th,
7th and 8th N. J., composing what was generally known as the 2nd
New Jersey Brigade, the 3d brigade, Hooker's division.
the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, which took place on May 5,
1862, the brigade was sent into the left of a road and
occupied a wood in front of a line of field-works. Among
the killed was Lieutenant Colonel John P. Van Leer, and
among the wounded were a large number of officers.
the battle of Fair Oaks the 5th and 6th moved forward under Colonel
Starr, cutting their way through a mass of panic-stricken fugitives,
the loss of the 6th being 7 killed and 14 wounded. The next
morning the two regiments advanced and occupied the ground
recovered from the enemy, where they remained until June 25,
being almost constantly on duty at the front. In the combat
at Savage Station, the New Jersey brigade was not directly
engaged, but the 6th regiment had 2 men wounded by shells.
At Bristoe Station Colonel Mott was badly wounded in the fore-arm,
and in the series of engagements, ending at Chantilly on
September 1, 1862, the regiment suffered a total loss of 104 men.
Going into camp at Alexandria, the brigade remained undisturbed
until November 1 when, Lee having been driven from Maryland,
it proceeded towards Bristoe Station, where it arrived on
the 4th, the 5th and 6th regiments being in advance. For
the Chancellorsville affair in the spring of 1863, the New Jersey
brigade, which at that time included the 2nd New York and
115th Pennsylvania regiments, as well as the 5th, 6th, 7th and
8th New Jersey, all under command of General Mott, crossed
the Rappahannock on Friday, May 1. The losses of the 6th
during the engagement amounted to 6 killed, 59 wounded and
8 missing, Colonel Burling being among the wounded. At the
time of the battle of Gettysburg the 115th Pennsylvania and
2nd New Hampshire regiments were attached to the brigade,
which was under the command of Colonel Burling, General
Mott not having recovered from his wound received at Chancellorsville.
At the battle of the Wilderness, at 5 o'clock in the
morning of the second day, six regiments of the brigade
advanced, the 5th, 6th and 11th N. J. being placed under
Colonel Sewell. In the assault at Spottsylvania the brigade was
in the front line, the 6th acting as skirmishers. The total
losses of the regiment during the months of May and June, 1864,
amounted to 16 killed, 99 wounded, 8 missing. In August and
September, 1864, a large number of recruits were forwarded to the
regiment, and with those who had reenlisted and those whose term
of service had not expired, were assigned to what was known
as Cos. A, B and C, 6th battalion, until October 12, 1864, at
which time they were transferred to and consolidated with the
John J. Olden was among those who reenlisted. He was transferred
to Company F, New Jersey 8th Infantry Regiment on October
12, 1864. The regiment fought
on October 27, 1864 at Boydton Plank Road, VA, and engaged the
enemy on five separate occasions in November at Petersburg
before going into winter quarters. The 8th New Jersey fought on
February 5 and 6 at Hatcher's Run, Virginia. After this action,
on March 15, 1865 Private
John J. Olden was transferred to a Veterans Reserve Corps
company. The Veteran Reserve Corps was a military
reserve organization created within the Union Army during
the Civil War to allow partially disabled or otherwise
infirmed soldiers (or former soldiers) to perform light duty,
freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines.
Private Olden mustered out on August 11, 1865, and returned to
his wife and family.
1870 Census shows John Olden and his wife Elizabeth
"Lizzie" living in Camden's South Ward with their sons
Charles 10, and John, 4. John Olden was working as a
J. Olden became involved with the Camden Fire Department when Robert S. Bender,
Chief of the Fire
Department, took a
leave of absence in September of 1872. Despite a petition for Bender to
be kept on as chief, Henry F. Surault was
elected by city council to
lead the department. Isaac
McKinley and Patrick Gallagher were appointed Assistant
Assistant Chiefs William
W. Mines and William H. Shearman. A greater crisis occurred on October 8, 1872
when most of the regular members members of Engine Company 2
resigned at once. Replacements were found quickly, although in a
few cases the first ones brought in did not work out and another
man was needed to replace the original replacement. In November of 1872
John J. Olden was called upon to serve
under Chief Fire Marshal Henry
F. Surault as Assistant Fire Marshal for the Camden Fire
Department, a post with similar duties to that of Deputy Chief
and the old District Chief title. John Olden was responsible or
the Second Fire District, i.e., the northern section of what was then
Camden. John Olden replaced Patrick Gallagher, who had been elected to
this position by City Council on September 26, 1872, as Assistant Fire
Marshall for the Second District, and perhaps had something to do with
the mass resignation at Engine Company 2.
He remained in this post until
the following spring, when Robert S. Bender
returned to the Fire
Department after having taken a leave of absence, and the Fire
Department was reorganized, eliminating the Assistant Marshal's
positions, and creating a position for one Assistant Engineer.
This ended John Olden's tenure with the Camden Fire Department.
John Olden was a Democrat in a town that generally was dominated
politically by the Republican party, he also had a bit of a
reputation as a "tough" individual. In a time when
politics was literally a full-contact sport, this was not at all
J. Olden and his family were living at 336 Spruce Street when
the Census was taken in 1880. Two more children had joined the
family, William and Sarah.
1890 Veterans census shows John J. Olden at 338 Spruce Street.
1900 Census shows John Olden and Lizzie Olden at 329 Spruce Street. John Olden was still working as a paperhanger. Charles
Olden had moved out, but the other three children were still at
home and all working.
1910 Census shows that John J. Olden had finally retired. The
family was living at 829 South 4th
Street. Sons John L. and
William V. Olden were still at home, both were working at the
Victor Talking Machine Company's factory. Daughter Sarah worked
in a department store. When the 1914 Camden City Directory was
compiled, the Olden family had moved to 503 Cherry
all appear to have found other employment.
Olden died on December 29, 1915. She was survived by her husband
and all four of her children. The 1919 City Directory shows the
Olden family at 571 Spruce Street.
John J. Olden died in March of 1916 and was buried at Evergreen