D. Cooper enlisted as a Private on November 1, 1861 and was
assigned to Company H, 4th New Jersey Infantry
Fourth New Jersey Infantry. whose officers included Colonels James
H. Simpson, William B. Hatch,
William Birney, Edward L. Campbell; Lieutenant Colonels, J. L. Kirby
Smith, Barzilla Ridgway, Charles Ewing, Baldwin Hufty; and
Majors Samuel Mulford, David Vickers, was organized under the
provisions of an act of Congress, approved July 22, 1861. It
was fully organized, equipped and officered by August 19, at which
time it was mustered into the U. S. service for three years,
at Camp Olden, Trenton. It left the state the
next day with 38 officers, 871 non-commissioned officers and privates,
a total of 909. It reached Washington on August 21, accompanied
by a battery of 6 pieces, furnished by the state and
commanded by Capt. William Hexamer, who had been waiting for
six months for an opportunity to enter the service. It was assigned
to the brigade of Gen. Kearney, then consisting of the First,
Second and Third N. J. regiments. Immediately after the first battle
of Bull Run it joined the brigade near Alexandria, and in the
operations along the line of the Orange & Alexandria railroad
acted as a support to the advance. Just before the battle of
West Point, Virginia, the brigade relieved the troops in advance
and the men lay on their arms in line of battle until daylight,
when they were ordered forward, the Fourth being held as a
reserve. At the battle at Gaines' mill the brigade was formed
in two lines, the Fourth being in the front, and advanced to
the brow of a hill, where the Fourth was sent into the woods by order
of an aid of General McClellan, all the brigade being engaged
at the most dangerous and difficult parts of the field, until
at last, wearied, bleeding, ammunition exhausted, the brigade
slowly retired and crossing the bridge at 11 o'clock, reached
its old camp about midnight, having sustained a total loss of
over 1,000 men in killed and wounded, of whom some 500, belonging
to the Fourth were captured in a body, having refused to retreat
from the woods when they might have done so, and continuing
to fight until completely surrounded. Besides this loss in
prisoners the regiment lost 38 killed and 111 wounded.
regiment participated in the battles of Charles City Crossroads,
White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Manassas, Chantilly and Crampton's
gap, the total loss of the brigade during the latter engagement
being 174 in killed and wounded, Adjutant Studdiford being
among the slain. It took part in the movement against Fredericksburg,
but in the Gettysburg campaign the Fourth was detailed for provost
duty in Washington.
D. Cooper was promoted to Full Corporal on January 23, 1863.
Fourth New Jersey was back with the brigade again in time for
the spring campaign of 1864. At the battle of the Wilderness
the First, Fourth and Tenth regiments, lying on the left,
were several times attacked with great ferocity by the
Confederates, but at nightfall still held substantially the ground
occupied by them in the morning--a heavy assault by the
Confederate General Gordon just at dusk being repulsed with heroic Gallantry.
Among the wounded in that engagement was Lieutenant Colonel Van
Syckel of the Fourth. At the battle of Spottsylvania the regiment
participated in the charge upon the "bloody angle,"
winning its share of the glory and sustaining its share of casualties.
During the first eleven days of Grant's campaign against
Richmond the regiment lost 26 killed, 126 wounded and
42 missing. The Fourth fought at the North Anna River, Hanover Court
House, Totopotomoy Creek, Cold Harbor, Weldon Railroad, Snicker's
Gap, Strasburg, Winchester and Charlestown. At the battle of
the Opequan the Fouth was with the troops that pressed forward,
swept up the opposite hill and forced back the Confederate
line, obtaining permanent possession of the hill and holding
it, though constantly exposed to a fire which inflicted
severe loss, the Fourth having 2 killed, 18 wounded and 1
missing. At Fisher's Hill a private of the 4th named Beach compelled
a Confederate lieutenant-colonel to surrender his sword, and
there were other instances of daring no less noteworthy.
Lee's surrender the regiment was assigned to what was known
as the provisional corps, Army of the Potomac, until mustered out
on July 9, 1865. The total strength of the
regiment was 2,036, and it lost during service 29 by resignation,
319 by discharge, 83 by promotion, 81 by transfer, 257 by
death, 372 by desertion, 3 by dismissal, 109 not
accounted for, mustered out 783.
Cooper was among those who mustered out of Company H, 4th New
Jersey Infantry Regiment on July 9, 1865 at Hall's Hill,
Virginia. He returned to Camden, where he worked as a laborer. His
father passed away at some point prior to the 1870 Census. John D.
Cooper was then living with his widowed mother and sister in
Camden's South Ward.
Fire Department records indicate that "David D. Cooper"
of 608 Cherry
Street was, on April 8, 1877 appointed to the Camden Fire Department as an extra man
with the Hook and Ladder
Company, and the "Richard D.
Cooper" of the same address was reappointed in 1878 and 1879,
serving until 1882. Careful examinations of Census Records from
1850 through 1910 and City Directories from 1878 through 1906
establish that no one by these names could possibly have been with
the Camden Fire Department.
D. Cooper, his widowed mother, and his sister were living at 608 Cherry
Street when he was appointed to the Camden Fire Department,
and were still there when the Census was taken in 1880. Department
records indicate that he moved to 428 Lawrence Street at some
point after that. He does not appear in the 1881-1882 City
Directory, however the directory does list a "James
Cooper" at 432 Lawrence Street
1882-1883 City Directory shows John D. Cooper living at 834 Broadway
and working as a laborer. John D. Cooper appears to have lived out
his days living in the 800 block of Broadway.
The 1884-1885 City Directory shows John D. Cooper working as a
teamster for John D. Morrison and still living at 834 Broadway.
The 1887-1888 City Directory shows John D. Cooper living at 832 Broadway.
He was approved for his Civil War invalid's pension in July of
1891. He was then working as a driver at the Camden Iron Works. He
was living at 832 Broadway
and working at the Camden City Water Works in 1894 and 1895. The Census of
1900 shows John D. Cooper and his sister were still living at 832 Broadway.
John D. Cooper passed away early in
1905. He was survived by his sister, who was approved for a
survivors pension on April 3, 1905. She was not listed in the 1906
Camden City Directory.