Joshua Blackwood Howell

Joshua Blackwood Howell was born September 11, 1806, at the Howell homestead, Fancy Hill, near Woodbury, New Jersey. The family had owned this property on the Delaware since 1688. His father was a colonel of New Jersey troops in the war of 1812, and his grandfather was a commissary with rank of colonel in the Revolution. Howell obtained his early education in Woodbury and then studied law in Philadelphia, beginning his practice in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He was a Democrat in politics and was a Stephen A. Douglas elector in 1860. For some years prior to the Civil War he had been a brigadier general of Pennsylvania Militia; on November 12, 1861, he was mustered into Federal service as colonel of the 85th Pennsylvania. After spending the winter in the Washington defenses, the regiment was assigned to Keim's brigade of Casey's division of Keyes' IV Corps in the Peninsula by General George B. McClellan. Howell's regiment was ordered to New Bern, after which it took part in the expedition against Goldsboro, North Carolina. During the operations against Charleston in Howell commanded a brigade of Terry's division at the siege of Fort Wagner on Folly Island, and then on Morris Island. In April, the command was transferred to the Army of the James and posted at Bermuda Hundred and then designated the 1st Brigade, 1st (Terry's) Division, of Gillmore's X Corps. Howell at this juncture was way overage for a combat commander of that era; nevertheless, he distinguished himself on May 20, 1864, by retaking with his brigade a line of rifle pits previously captured by the Confederates. He continued to command his brigade until September 12, 1864, when his horse fell with him; he died from his injuries at X Corps headquarters near Petersburg, Virginia on the fourteenth. Seven months later he was posthumously named a brigadier general to rank from the day of his fatal accident. He lies buried in Eglington Memorial Gardens at Clarksboro, New Jersey.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.