Joshua
Fish
Stone


 

JOSHUA FISH STONE was born around 1830 in Waterford Township, New Jersey in 1837. In those times and into the early 1840s Waterford Township was much larger than today, in fact what is now Cherry Hill, New Jersey was then part of Waterford, which means that he could have been born almost anywhere between the Motor Vehicle Inspection station in Cherry Hill and the eastern border of present-day Waterford. It is likely that Joshua Fish Stone was born in what is now Cherry Hill. He was the son of Joshua Stone and Rebecca Fish. His father was a fairly prominent member of his community, and was appointed Overseer of the Poor when Delaware Township was incorporated in the 1840s. The elder Joshua Stone had also been a founding member of Union Methodist Episcopal Church in Camden, which indicates that the family must have resided close enough to Camden to make church membership there practical. 

Of Joshua Fish Stone's early years there is little record. He appears in the 1850 Census in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania where he was working as a farm laborer. He evidently soon returned to New Jersey, where on March 12, 1858 he married Elizabeth Marshall.

The 1860 Census shows Joshua and Elizabeth Stone living in Camden's South Ward, and that he was working as a butcher. The family included a daughter, Deborah.

When the Civil War erupted in the spring of 1861, Joshua Fish Stone did not immediately enlist. He was not a part of the three-month enlistment militias that took part in the First Battle of Bull Run. 

On August 17, 1861 Joshua Fish Stone enlisted as First Sergeant with Company H, in the 4th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Thomas Grapevine enlisted as a First Lieutenant  on the same day. The 4th New Jersey left for Washington soon afterwards, arriving on August 21.

After wintering in Virginia and training for the action soon to come, the 4th New Jersey went into battle at Gaines Mill on June 27, 1862. Both Sergeant Stone and First Lieutenant Grapevine, along with Private Woodrow Hughes, Second Lieutenant Charles H. Hatch, company commander Captain John Reynolds and Lieutenant Colonel William B. Hatch, the 4th New Jersey regiment's commanding officer, and some 500 other men were taken prisoner. They were taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Some men were then sent to a Confederate prisoner of war camp at Belle Isle, where they were held until August 5, 1862 when they were released as part of a prisoner exchange. Lieutenant Grapevine was exchanged for First Lieutenant B.W. Johnson of the Fifteenth Arkansas Regiment.

First Sergeant Stone's regiment subsequently took part on August 28-20 the Second Battle of Bull Run, and on September 1, the battle of Chantilly. 

After Chantilly two officers in the company, Captain Reynolds and Second Lieutenant Charles Hatch, had resigned their commissions, Reynolds on September 6, Hatch on September 3. Hatch's resignation was due to health reasons, he had been wounded at Gaines Mill. It is likely that Reynolds may have been injured, as he resigned shortly after seeing action. He was replaced by Captain William Maxwell. 

The regiment participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run and on September 14, 1862 the 4th New Jersey was instrumental in the Union victory at the battle of Crampton's Gap, where again the heavy casualties were taken. The failure to exploit this victory however, led to the Battle of Antietam three days later. 

Having fought at Crampton's Gap, the regiment was present at the Battle of Antietam, three days later. The regiment did not take part in the attack, but came under sever artillery fire during the fray.

Replacements including Captain Maxwell joined the Fourth Regiment in October and November 1862. The unit took part in the movement against Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. At Fredericksburg, December 13th and 14th, it saw hard fighting on the left of the line, and Colonel William B. Hatch was fatally wounded in leading the Fourth Regiment to an assault.

The first part of 1863 was relatively quiet for the men  of the Fourth Regiment. During the Gettysburg campaign the regiment was detailed for provost duty in Washington. In that capacity the Fourth New Jersey was utilized to guard the ammunition train of the Union Army's Artillery Reserve at Gettysburg. The following report summarizes the regiment's activities at the battle.

Gettysburg after battle report: 

Report of Maj. Charles Ewing, Fourth New Jersey Infantry, Train Guard.

Near Warrenton Junction, Va.,
August 23, 1863.

Capt. C. H. Whittelsey,
A. A. G., Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.

Captain,

 In obedience to orders received from headquarters Artillery Reserve, I have the honor to report that on July 2, while in charge of the ammunition train of the Artillery Reserve, my regiment arrived at the scene of action at Gettysburg, Pa

The part taken by the regiment was insignificant, being that of guarding the train, until about noon on the 3d instant, at the time of the enemy's terrific attack upon the left center, at which time the fugitives from the field began to rush toward the rear upon the road upon which I was stationed. I immediately deployed across the road and into the woods on my right flank with fixed bayonets, where I stopped and reorganized between 400 and 500 men, whom I turned over to Gen. Patrick. As soon as the panic subsided, I resumed my former duty with the ammunition train, which was not again interrupted during the battle.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHAS. EWING,
Maj., Comdg. Fourth New Jersey Volunteers.

Captain Maxwell is thought to have been wounded at Crampton's Gap. At some point after Gettysburg he returned to Camden, where he died of neuralgia on February 28, 1864. First Sergeant Stone was also showing the wear and tear of the campaign. On February 15, 1864 he was transferred to Company B, 24th Regiment, United States Veteran Reserve Corps, where soldiers still capable of service but physically unfit for field service were assigned. Sergeant Stone served out his enlistment with this unit, based in Washington D.C.

After the war Joshua Fish Stone returned to his wife and family. The 1870 Census shows him living in Camden's South Ward, and that he was working as an "express driver", i.e. driving a horse-drawn wagon. He followed that trade in one capacity or another for the rest of his days. The 1878-1879 City Directory lists Joshua Stone at 614 Vine Street, occupation teamster.

The 1880 Census shows Joshua Fish Stone and family at 541 Cedar Street. The family then included seven children, daughters Deborah, Matilda, Mary, and Anna, along with sons Alexander Marcy, H. Oscar, and Bernis Willis Stone. Alexander Marcy Stone was named for Camden physician Dr. Alexander Marcy. The youngest child Bernis Willis, was born February 22, 1880. 

City Directories for 1882-1883 and 1883-1884 indicate that the Stone family had moved to 543 Cedar Street in North Camden. He was then a driver for the D.K. Joslin Company. He appears to have subsequently moved to Philadelphia, perhaps to be close to his place of employment.

On May 15, 1885 the Philadelphia Inquirer states that Joshua Stone apparently fell from his wagon, suffering a broken collarbone. This injury proved fatal, as he passed away prior to the sun rising the following day. Joshua Stone was interred at Evergreen Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and several children. By 1887 Mrs. Stone had moved to 5 Commerce Street in South Camden. 

Daughter Deborah Stone filed for her father's Civil War pension in 1890.


Regimental History
NEW JERSEY FOURTH INFANTRY
(Three Years Enlistment)

Fourth Infantry.--Cols., James H. Simpson, William B. 
Hatch, William Birney, Edward L. Campbell; Lieut.-Cols., J. L. 
Kirby Smith, Barzilla Ridgway, Charles Ewing, Baldwin Hufty; 
Majs., Samuel Mulford, David Vickers. 

The 4th was organized under the provisions of an act of Congress, approved July 22, 1861. It was fully organized, equipped and officered by Aug. 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 Aug. 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 1st, 2nd and 3d 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, Va., 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 4th being held as
a reserve. At the battle at Gaines' mill [June 27, 1862] the brigade was formed in two lines, the 4th being in the front, and advanced to the brow of a hill, where the 4th was sent into the woods by order of an aid of Gen. 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 4th 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. 

The regiment participated in the battles of Charles City crossroads, White Oak Swamp, Malvern hill, Manassas, Chantilly and on September 16, 1862, the Battle of 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. 

Source: The Union Army, vol. 3


In 1894, John Beech, a sergeant with Company B, gave the following account of the events at Gaines Mill to the NATIONAL TRIBUNE:

On the 27th of June, 1862, at 3 o'clock p.m., my regiment - the 4th New Jersey - was sent into the fight at Gaines' Mills to relieve a Pennsylvania regiment. We remained until near dark, when we were relieved by the 11th Pennsylvania, and then retired out of the woods, where we had been fighting, into an open field, and formed line of battle. It was nearly dark, and on emerging from the woods, we faced by the rear rank, which made the left of the regiment the right (as we stood), my company (B) being nearest to the troops standing in line of battle in our front. "What troops are those?" suddenly enquired our colonel (Simpson). "Don't know; but we will find out," replied Lieutenant Shaw, and he started off towards them on a dog trot. He had gone about fifty yards, when one of them put up his rifle and blazed away at him, cutting his sword belt. "Now you know who they are," he sang out, as he rejoined the company. "Left face! forward, by file right!" sang out our colonel, his intention being to take a new position under cover of a bush camp, but before we could exe cute the movement the enemy had opened. "Lie down 4th battalion!" sang out our colonel, just as the 11th Pennsylvania was driven out pell-mell on top of us, followed by the exultant enemy. It seemed almost impossible for anything to live in such a fire, and the Johnnies must have killed a good many of their own men as they followed up the 11th Pennsylvania. 

They ordered us to lay down or arms, and it was folly to do otherwise, as we were entirely surrounded by Longstreet's division, and no Union troops were anywhere near, all having retreated. Just then a rebel captain came up to Lieutenant-Colonel Hatch, (since dead of wounds received at Fredericksburg), and demanded his sword. "I surrender to no inferior," he replied, as he defiantly broke the blade across his knee and flung away the scabbard. They allowed our colonel, I think, to retain his sword on account of the gallant defense he had made. 

We slept at Longstreet's headquarters that night, and the next day they marched us into Richmond, amid the taunts and jeers of the populace, and up Main street to Libby, where we were searched. They took my diary from me and a letter containing money for a birthday present for a sister, which I had failed to mail, which was very fortunate for me, as I afterwards found out, for, after looking at them, to my surprise, they handed them back - no doubt thinking them worthless. After washing, they took our names and we passed upstairs. The next day, Sunday, the rebs paraded with our colors and those of the 11th Pennsylvania. As they passed Libby we gathered at the windows and defiantly sang "Hail Columbia" and the "Star Spangled Banner." On Monday, the 30th, we moved out of Libby to another prison, a little further up the street, where we remained until the 15th of July, when we were marched over to Belle Isle. This was over a year before Comrade Meadville was captured, according to the statement reprinted by The TRIBUNE, from the Pittsburgh Leader, and there were some prisoners there (though not many) when we got there.

Much has been written about prison-life and its sufferings, yet none but those who experienced it can realize what it cost us to remain true to our country through it all. I kept a diary of daily occurrences, as also our bill of fare, but will not intrude upon your valuable space by going into details. Three thousand five hundred of us were exchanged on the 5th of August, 1862. Who will ever forget that terrible march from Belle Island to Aitkens' [Aiken's] landing, or the contrast between us and the rebels who were exchanged for us, and whom we passed on the way? No doubt some of your readers were there.

But I must not forget to relate a little incident that happened on the Island, as showing that the boys, notwithstanding their surroundings, were fond of a joke. Of course we had no trouble to eat all the rations they gave us, so I took the money spoken of and went into business; that is, I bought flour and made flapjacks out of flour and water, and then sold enough to pay for the flour and divided the rest among my tent mates. One day one of my company, named Sam Farrell, who put up in another tent, came to me and wanted to trade a drawing of tea for some cakes. The very thought of tea made my mouth water, so the exchange was soon made and the drawing of tea put over the fire. Bending over the old tin cup, I waited until my patience was exhausted. "What is the matter with the tea, anyhow; there is no strength in it," I exclaimed. Over in another tent, Farrell and the other boys were grinning from ear to ear at the sell. The fact was, they had stewed it three times and as often dried it, and then sold it to me, and when we met they wanted to know how I liked my tea. But I forgive them!

JOHN P. BEECH,
Sergeant, Co. B, 4th N.J.V.I.
T
RENTON, N. J.

Two years later, on May 5, 1864 Sergeant Beech was at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. For his gallant actions that day he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on June 5, 1894


Antietam after battle report: 

Report of Col. William B. Hatch, Fourth New Jersey Infantry,
of the battle of Crampton's Pass.

CRAMPTON'S PASS, MD.,
September 16, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with orders received on
the 16th instant from Col. A.T.A. Torbert, then in command of the brigade, I took position with the Fourth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers in rear of the Second Regiment, forming part of the second line of battle. The Second Regiment had engaged the enemy, who held a strong position behind a stone wall at the foot of the mountain with a large force of infantry. I then received orders to charge the enemy. I advanced across a plowed field of 400 yards in extent under a heavy cross-fire from the enemy's artillery, which was planted on the mountain slope, driving him from every point in front of us. We leaped the walls, and continued, in pursuing over the mountain into the gorge and up the next ascent to its summit, the enemy retreating in disorder into the valley below. We took many prisoners,
including a large number of officers, among whom was Col. Lamar, wounded, and his adjutant; also two stand of colors. In the eagerness of pursuit we ran over two other rebel flags, which were picked up by a New York regiment. Among the spoils of the engagement obtained by us were a sufficient number of Springfield rifled muskets to equip my whole command, who were previously armed with an imperfect smooth-bore musket.

Where officer and men fought with such determination it is impossible for me to make an exception for brave and gallant conduct during the engagement. My officers bravely cheered on their men, who advanced with unflinching steadiness, and maintained their alignment with almost the precision of a battalion drill. On the list of casualties of the day the most to be regretted is Adjt. Josiah S. Studdeford, who was instantly killed after we had reached the gorge between the mountain cliffs. He had borne himself gallantly, everywhere cheering the men to victory. Ten killed 27 wounded; total, 37.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. B. HATCH,
Col. Fourth New Jersey Volunteers.

Lieut. H.P. COOKE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., First New Jersey Brigade.

Source: Official Records: Series I. Vol. 19. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 27


On the following day, after the action on at Crampton's Gap, from its bivouac at Crampton's Pass the first New Jersey Brigade went to the field on the morning of September 17, 1862, and took position 600 yards, easterly of this point near the Dunkard Church, where it remained until marched on September 19. It supported the Sixth Corps Artillery and for six hours was under severe Artillery fire by which several men were killed or wounded.


Philadelphia
Inquirer

May 15, 1885


Civil War
Pension
Record


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