THOMAS R. GRAPEVINE was born in Waterford Township, New Jersey in 1837. In those times 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. He was the youngest of the five known children of Job Grapevine and Susanna Catheart (or Cathcart), coming after John C., Edmund Bertram, Mary Jane, and Anna Elizabeth. Thomas Grapevine took up the painter's trade, a profession he stayed with, for the rest of his working days.

On November 5, 1857 Thomas Grapevine married Hester C. Creamer in Camden, New Jersey. By the end of the decade to children had been born, Lillie and Edward. The 1860 census shows that he, wife Hester, and son Edward were living in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. Daughter Lillie is not listed, however mother-in-law Elizabeth Creamer is.

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

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 men along with most of his regiment including company commander Captain John Reynolds and Lieutenant Colonel William B. Hatch, the 4th New Jersey regiment's commanding, were taken prisoner. They were taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia and then 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 Lieutenant Grapevine'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 other 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.

On September 16, 1862 the 4th New Jersey was instrumental in the Union victory at the battle of Crampton's Pass. The failure to exploit this victory however, led to the Battle of Antietam three days later. Lieutenant Grapevine resigned his commission on October 17, 1862 and returned to his wife and child. It appears that he came to Camden not long after his return. Tax records indicate that in 1866 he was engaged in the cigar business, residing at 528 Morris Street. Morris Street, which ran from Broadway west to the Delaware River, was renamed Washington Street in 1882 to make the name consistent with Washington Street west of Broadway.

By 1870, Thomas Grapevine went into business as a painter, primarily as a house painter. It appears, however, that he spent some time in the 1870s as a member of the Camden Fire Department. Thomas and Hester Grapevine were blessed with five more children, beginning with Elizabeth in December of 1863, Laura in in August of 1866, Fayetta in January of 1868, Minnie in March of 1870, and lastly Frank Creamer Grapevine on September 4, 1873.

On October 9, 1872 Thomas Grapevine was appointed to the Camden Fire Department as a member of Engine Company 2, replacing Joseph Nece Sr., who had resigned. Thomas Grapevine served until July 15, 1873 when he and two other men from Engine Company 2, Bernard Dennis and Henry Frost, were dismissed from service. Thomas Grapevine returned to Engine Company 2 on February 3, 1874, taking the place of William H. Osler, who had been promoted to Engineer. Thomas Grapevine served with Engine Company 2 until April of 1876, when incoming Chief Claudius W. Bradshaw made wholesale changes in department personnel. Thomas Grapevine was replaced by William Stanton.

Thomas Grapevine was a member of the Thomas M. K. Lee Post No. 5 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R) along with a number of other veterans who were also among Camden's leading citizens.

By October of 1872 Thomas Grapevine and family had taken up residence at 566 Berkley Street. He is listed at that address in City Directories through the 1887-1888 edition. The 1884-1885 Directory gives an business address of 525 Market Street, which he maintained through 1887.

Thomas Grapevine moved his residence several times over the next few years, but kept an interest in 566 Berkley Street. From 1888 through at least 1890 he kept a business address at 24 South 5th Street. The 1888-1889 City Directory shows an address at 450  Benson Street, and the 1890-1891 edition lists the home at 604 Berkley Street. Thomas Grapevine consolidated home and business and from 1892 through 1894 was at 332 Benson Street

The 1895-1896 Directory shows Thomas Grapevine residing at 556 Berkley Street, and his son Frank C. Grapevine, a paperhanger, at 566 Berkley Street. The following year Thomas Grapevine moved back into his old home at 566 Berkley Street. His son Frank Grapevine moved to 920 South 6th Street by 1897, and went to 916 South 6th in 1899..

Thomas Grapevine was still living in at 566 Berkley Street when the Census was taken in 1900. By 1906 he had left Camden, apparently relocating in Cape May County. The 1910 Census shows Thomas Grapevine as retired with his own income, living at 402 Boardwalk with granddaughter Elizabeth Shade in Holly Beach, Cape May County. Holly Beach, adjacent to Wildwood, had built its Boardwalk in 1904. Holly Beach merged with Wildwood in 1911. Mrs. Grapewine may have been staying with one of her children at the time of the Census, as the next Census, taken in January of 1920 census shows Mr. and Mrs. Grapevine, his wife, son Frank, his wife Elizabeth, and granddaughters Fayetta and Pearl at 248 Burk Street, the corner of Burk and the Boardwalk, in Wildwood, New Jersey. Frank Grapevine had left Camden for Wildwood prior to the compilation of the 1914 Camden City Directory.

Thomas Grapevine died on November 7, 1920.

Thomas Grapevine's son, Frank C. Grapewine, married Elizabeth Donnelly. Her nephew, Horace B. Parker Jr., was a well known basketball player in Camden in the 1900s and early 1910s.

Regimental History
(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!

Sergeant, Co. B, 4th N.J.V.I.

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.

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,

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 - July 26, 1873
John Gray Jr. - Thomas Grapewine - Henry Frost
Bernard Dennis - Elwood Cline 
David B. Sparks - Charles Elfreth - Joseph Nece William Osler - Isaac Randolph