Served in the UNION ARMY during the CIVIL WAR for the State of Indiana.

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Army 1
Major 1
20 Aug 1839 1
Lawrence, Stark, Ohio 1
24 Sep 1919 1
Tropico, Glendale, California 1

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Personal Details

20 Aug 1839 1
Lawrence, Stark, Ohio 1
Male 1
24 Sep 1919 1
Tropico, Glendale, California 1
Mother: Ann Elizabeth Filson 1
Father: William Weiler 1
Emaline J Williams 1
11 Feb 1864 1
Whitley Co, IN 1

Civil War (Union) 1

Army 1
Major 1
Service Start Date:
12 Jun 1861 1
Service End Date:
08 Aug 1865 1
Enlistment Date:
28 May 1861 1
Enlistment Location:
Whitley County, Indiana 1

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Bio of Major John J Weiler

United States

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John was born and raised in Stark Co., Ohio August 20, 1839 to William Weiler and Anna Elizabeth Filson. As of June 5, 1860 he was still living with his family in Lawrence Township, Stark, Ohio working as farm hand.

Two of his brothers served the Union Army, enlisting in the state of Ohio. Joseph Weiler was 25 when he died at the battle of Murfreesboro, TN on January 1, 1863 and Luther Hamilton Weiler was 20 when he died at the battle of Athens, AL on September 4, 1864

At the age of 21 John enlisted in the enlisted in the Whitley County Volunteers at Columbia City, Indiana, April 21, 1861 under the first call of 7500 men.  He was in Co. "E" of the 17th Regt. when organized. He climbed the ranks from Sergeant to Major during his 4 year of service.

John fought in 219 battles during the Civil War; among them is Wilsons Raid, for his service in this battle Robert H.G. Minty recommends John receives a promotion to lieutenant-colonel. John is known for the death of John A Washington, for this service young Sergeant Weiler received the thanks of Simon Cameron Secretary of War and a pistol and belt which belonged to Col. John A. Washington. Also the capture and return of Terry’s Texas Rangers battle flag.  While he served the Cumberland Army he was part of Wilder’s Lightning Brigade.

John married Emaline Williams on February 11, 1864 in Whitley Co, Indiana. They had 4 children. In 1869 John moved his family to Green, Wayne, Ohio. In 1870 John is a farmer with a property value of $12,800. In 1872 & 1873 he served as trustee of Green Township. In 1880 John is working as a Rail Road Agent.

John attended the 17th Indiana Wilder’s Brigade Reunion held September 7, 1887 in Greencastle, IN. He received a silver brigade badge. He also attended the Co E 17th Indiana reunion in 1911 and held again September 1912 in Columbia City, IN.

In 1887 John and his family moved to Jefferson City, Washington Co, TN. Then they moved to Dallas, TX in 1889.

John was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, first listed in the Davidson Post, No. 490, Smithville, Wayne, Ohio in 1884-1885 where he served as commander; then Patton Post, No. 26, Johnson City Tennessee in 1888-1889 where he served as Adjutant; later he was a member of John A Dix Post, No 11, GAR (Organized 1885) in Texas from 1889-1910 and served as the Junior Vice-Commander in 1896-1899. Then he served as Adjutant in 1900-1904. He was a delegate for Dallas for the 18th National Encampment in 1903.

In 1893-1894 John and partner George W. Clayton were proprietors of Clayton & Weiler Manufacturers of Cider. In 1896 John owned an Ice Cream Parlor. In 1897-1899 John again is an Apple Cider Manufacturer. 1900-1903 & 1909-1910 John worked for Colonial and U.S. Mortgage Company as a loan inspector. In 1904-1905 John was the proprietor of Linden Hotel. 1906-1908 John worked as a Laborer at the fairgrounds.

May 29, 1913 Major John J Weiler was living in Tropico, California.  He wrote memoirs of his time in the service that were published in “Souvenir, the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment: a history from its organization to the end of the war, giving description of battles”

John died September 24, 1919 in Glendale, CA and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Cemetery office confirmed that this burial is unmarked; The plot information is confirmed at Section C; Lot #13; Space 21.

A little controversy in the newspaper… Civil War Talk - Death of John Augustine Washington III


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FIGHTING THEM OVER - What Our Veterans Have to Say About Their Old Campaigns

     The National tribune., November 10, 1887, Page 3  

S. F. Dent, Co. E, 15th Ind., Clarissa, Minn., writes of the death of Col. John A. Washington, that it took place on Elk River, W. Va., in August, 1861, the fatal shots being fired by 12 soldiers (not 12 shots only), four of which struck the Colonel in the back. He would like to know the regiment to which these soldiers belonged.  

     The National tribune., December 01, 1887, Page 3


The Exact Story, Told by Maj. Weiler.

Editor National Tribune: Comrade S. F. Dent, Co. E, 15th Ind., who recently told the story of the death of Col. John A. Washington, Topographical Engineer on Gen. Robert E. Lee's staff, near Elkwater, W. Va. Errs so much in various points that I send you the substance of the true story as recently published on the oath of one familiar with the facts, as I am the Serg't Weiler referred to. Col. Washington was a near relative of George Washington.

During the month of September, 1861, the Union forces lay at Elk Water, W. Va., and Capt. G. W. Stough, of Co. "E", 17th Ind., was ordered to move his command to the support of the outposts, as the enemy, under command of Lee, were reconnoitering the camp, and there were indications that an attack was contemplated by his entire force. While at the outpost (Sept, 13,1861) the report came that the enemy was circling to the right and rear, and Capt. Stough was directed to reconnoiter a ravine not far distant and verify the rumor, it possible. Weiler was a Sergeant at the time, and he was given two men and was ordered to proceed in advance on the side of the mountain, while the company marched along the road at the base, a given point being named where they were to rejoin the command. Near the appointed meeting-place Serg't Weiler and his men met three men on horseback, dressed in blue, but with their hats peculiarly marked, the one in the center having the bearing of an officer, and the trio evidently scouting around to see what could be seen. On observing the Sergeant, they wheeled squarely to the right and attempted to ride away, but Weiler cautioned his men, who were good shots, to "take the middle one," and he dropped from his saddle, while the others escaped. The accuracy of the aim may be judged from the fact that all three of the shots took effect in the body near the heart, one of the bullets in its passage tearing away a part of the scab-band of the sword which he wore.

Papers in his possession showed him to be Col. John A. Washington, Topographical Engineer of Gen. Lee's staff, and on his person was found his sword, two revolvers, a field-glass, $1,500 in money, and a remarkably accurate map of the Federal camp, giving the forces even to the artillery and cavalry, and the number of available men, with a plan of attack, showing the different roads to be taken by the advancing forces, and other data, the whole of which proved of inestimable service to the Union cause. All of these things were reported to the Secretary of War, who publicly thanked Serg't Weiler for the Service he had accomplished, and in directing the return of the body to the Confederate forces Weiler was permitted to go along. This act also led to his speedy promotion as Second Lieutenant, and gallantry on other fields advanced him to a Major's commission. One of the two revolvers taken from Washington was also given him, and he still preserves it as a valuable memento.

J. J. Weiler, Sergeant, Co. E, 17th Ind., Johnson City, Tenn.

     The National tribune., August 16, 1888, Page 3


The Story as Told by W. L. Birney.

Editor National Tribune: Maj. Weiler, Co. E, 17th Ind., who recently wrote of the death of Col. John A. Washington near Elkwater, W. Va., errs so radically, notwithstanding he says his report was made under oath, that I send you the true account. The Major is correct up to the point where Capt. Stowe was ordered forward with Co. E, 17th Ind., to reconnoiter; but here he seems to have become demoralized, and as his story seems to indicate that he wishes the exact account, I will give it.

When Capt. Stowe had reached a point whore prudence made it necessary, ho detailed Corp'l William L. Biruey with two men to act as advance-guard, and ordered him to proceed along the base of the mountain to the right of the road to guard against a surprise. Wm. Johnson and Wm. Sumaney were the two men detailed. Serg't Weiler hero made a request that he be permitted to be one of the squad. Capt. Stowe then ordered Sumaney to remain with the company and Weiler to take his place, and ordered also that Birney retain command of the advance-guard, because he had considerable experience.

We moved forward at once rapidly, yet cautiously, until we reached a point where the road, after crossing the stream, made a sharp bead to the right toward the foot of the mountain and came very close to the line of our advance. Here, while we halted to examine what we took for a brush tent on the opposite mountain, we heard what was supposed to be a squad of cavalry coming down the road toward where we were standing. Corp'l Biruey ordered his men to take position behind a bank of earth formed by a tree having been torn out by the roots, and whore we were completely protected from observation and within 30 to 40 feet of the road. In a few moments three horsemen appeared in view over a rise in the road not more than 100 yards distant, advancing so leisurely that at first we were puzzled as to whether they were friends or foes. By the time they got nearly abreast of our position we had discovered by their uniform that they were enemies. They were now so close we dared not move for fear of being discovered.

They were evidently all officers, and the Corporal was anxious to get all three, and quietly whispered to Serg't Weiler, who was on his loft, to take the left-hand man, who was large and well-proportioned and wore a gray uniform with a red sash. Wm. Johnson, who was on the Corporal's right, was ordered to fire on the right-hand man, who also wore a gray uniform, the Corporal saying he would direct his fire on the man in the middle, who wore a blue uniform, with a white cloth sewed across" the top of his blue cap. When directly opposite our position they turned square to the right, leaving the road, with the evident intention of riding out in the valley to take a look at our works. This brought them squarely in our front with their backs to us and about 30 to 40 yards distant. The Corporal gave the word, and the fire was delivered. The man to the right was untouched, the one in the center fell from his horse, the one to the left appeared to be slightly wounded in the left side or shoulder. The Corporal instantly ordered "the guns reloaded. By the time this was completed the man who had fallen from his horse was making some efforts as though he was trying to get his revolver. Serg't Weiler jerked his gun to his face and fired, piercing the man's body with another ball. Corp'l Birney then and there reproved Serg't Weiler for firing on a man too seriously wounded to rise to a sitting posture, and directed him to reload and return to the company and report what had occurred.

Now, Major, your points of error are as follows: Serg't Weiler was not given two men, neither did he give a single order, caution or direction. Corp'l Birney was in charge from beginning to end. There was no point designated to meet the company. If we got into trouble we were to fight and fall back to the company. Serg't Weiler and his men did not meet three men on horseback. While Corp'l Birney and his men lay in ambush for three men who rode along the road, with the result detailed above. The accuracy of the aim may be judged from the fact that but one man out of three was unhorsed at the short range of 40 yards. Johnson declared he misunderstood my order and fired on the middle man.

W. L. Birney, Co. E, 17th Ind., Chief of Wilder's Scouts, Oakwood, Mo.

     The National tribune., October 25, 1888, Page 3

Death of Col. John A. Washington.

Editor National Tribune: In your issue of Aug. 16 I noticed a communication from W. L. Birney pretending to correct a statement made by Maj. J. J. Weiler in regard to the death of Col. Washington, near Elk Water, W. Va., in September, 1801. Birney starts out by accusing the Major of making a false statement. But we will see who made the false statement before we get through. The following are the unvarnished facts in the case: On the September afternoon in question Capt. George W. Slough, with his company (E, 17th lnd.), was ordered out to make a reconnaissance toward Gen. Lee's camp. When well outside of our picket-lines Capt. Slough detailed Serg't J. J. Weiler and 10 men for advance-guard. The Sergeant, in command of his guard, moved forward promptly, but had not gone more than about 40 yards when three rebel officers made their appearance, and received a volley from the advance-guard, which brought Col. Washington from his horse, mortally wounded, not more than 35 or 40 yards distant from the company. Orderly-Serg't C. J. Ward went to where the Colonel fell, and, with the assistance of others of the company, brought the Colonel to the company. We soon provided a stretcher, placed the Colonel upon it and started back to camp.

The Colonel was very badly wounded, and died on the way. His remains were conveyed to Gen. Lee's camp the next day under a flag of truce. The foregoing is a true statement of the facts made by one who was present with the company on that occasion. David Garver, Captain, Co. E, 17th lnd.


The newspapers initially reported Sergeant J.J. Weiler as Sergeant Lieber, receiving one of John A Washington’s revolvers.

In a letter written to Simon Cameron (Secretary of War) from Brig. General J.J Reynolds; dated 30 Oct 1861 he states:

Your letter of instruction of 22d is received.

On further investigation it is made to appear that the three shots received by Col. John A. Washington, all of which were plainly visible in his body, were fired by Sergeant John J. Weiler (not Lieber as heretofore reported), Corporal Wm L. Birney and Private Wm F Johnson. All of Company ‘E’ 17th Indiana Regiment.

In accordance with the term of your letter of 22d I have distributed the articles among these soldiers, Sgt. Weiler claiming the Revolver.

Souvenir, the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment: J.J. Weiler

Souvenir, the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment, page 93
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Tropico, California, May 20, 1913.

W. H. H. Benefiel, Pendleton, Indiana:

Dear Comrade-It is too late to give you a detailed account of what you ask. You have the affair of the killing of Colonel John A. Washington in West Virginia. On September 4, 1864, I was sent with Companies H and B to Stockbridge, Georgia; captured a rebel mail and a number of prisoners. On October 28, 1864, had command of Companies G and F in advance of the regiment, with orders to go to Goshen. After crossing Mill Creek was ordered by Colonel Vail to return, as the regiment was attacked by a superior force of rebels. As we approached the bridge we found the enemy in possession. I dismounted the men and drove the enemy away, sent my led horses through a cornfield, followed with the men and rejoined the regiment with the loss of one man. In the meantime Colonel Vail had reported to General Wilson that myself and the two companies were captured. 

On the 13th of October, 1864, after the charge on the rebels strongly posted on Noses Creek, I was ordered by Colonel A. O. Miller, commanding the brigade, to take the two leading companies, H and I, of the Seventeenth and follow a bunch of rebels that were seen to go in the woods. On reaching the road they were on we captured the flag of the Eighth Texas, or Terry's Texas Rangers. Now, Wilson's raid from Gravelly Springs, Alabama, in 1865 to Macon, Georgia, on the first day of April, 1865, at Ebenezer Church, where General Forrest made his stand. Companies B, G, H and I made that famous saber charge on Forrest's whole force, breaking through three lines of dismounted men, when Captain Taylor was killed. Next day at Selma Wilder's Brigade charged the forts and broke through their lines. I went in with the left wing, which crossed the works first. On the 20th day of April, 1865, I was put in command of the four saber companies, E, G, H and I, with orders to go to Macon if possible, forty-five miles away. We met with but little resistance the first twenty miles; from that on we had to charge rail barricades at every turn in the road. At Mimm's Mill we met them in heavy force behind a rail fence, and they had set the bridge on fire. Captain McDowell, Walter Collins and myself crossed the bridge together. Collins was struck with a ball on his belt buckle, which saved his life. • The fire was put out by carrying water in our hats, the planks replaced and the command crossed, and it was a race from there to Macon, where we found the breastworks fully manned. Myself, with the advance, waited until Colonel White came up with the balance of the regiment, when we rode on into the town, and received the surrender of all the troops there. Next day I was put in command of the regiment and remained in command until we started home to be mustered out. While here some of my men came to me for permission to go to the cemetery to unearth a battery of four British loaders, said to be buried there. I gave the permit, and in a short time the guns were brought to my headquarters. 

J. J. WEILER, Major Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers.


On September 13, 1861, Company E, Seventeenth Indiana, was ordered to go to the outposts to support the force there on duty, as the enemy, under General R. B. Lee, were reconnoitering our camp and preparing to attack us with their entire force, reported by them at 20,000 men. Soon after arriving there it was reported that the rebels were moving a force to our right and rear. Captain K. W. Stough, of our company (B), was ordered to take his company and go up the valley toward Brady's Gate about a mile and see If the report was true. I being a sergeant at the time, he gave me ten men, with orders to go in advance up on the side of the mountain, and he would follow in the road in supporting distance with the balance of the company. When we had advanced about a mile we met the rebels out on a scout, three of them riding in advance, and when opposite where we were they turned square to the right, when W. L. Birney, Wm. Johnson and myself fired on them, killing one, who proved to be Colonel John A. Washington, topographical engineer on General Lee's staff. By the death of Washington it is supposed we were saved a heavy battle. Washington had on his person two revolvers, a large knife, field glass, compass, gold watch, $150 in money, a map of all our works, with number of troops, and the plan of General Lee's advance, number of his troops, etc. The articles captured were reported by General Reynolds to the War Department. In a few days orders were received complimenting me for the service rendered, and to send the navy revolver to the Secretary of War and to give the balance of the articles to me. The money and watch were sent with his body to his friends. His body was taken in an ambulance, under flag of truce, and delivered to the rebels, myself driving the ambulance. Colonel Hascall and Adjutant Kerstetter going in advance with the flag.

This is as near as I can recollect the affair.



War Department, October 22, 1861.

Brigadier-General J. J. Reynolds, Camp Elkwater, Virginia:

Sir—Through the hands of Captain H. Jones Brooks I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of one of the army revolvers found on the person, of Colonel John A. Washington. I shall always prize it as a memorable relic of the present glorious struggle for freedom and the Union. To the brave Sergeant John J. Weiler, of the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment, who enjoys the honor of having made this notorious rebel leader bite the dust, you will, in the name of the War Department, present the other revolver and articles found upon the traitor's person and retained in your care.

I have the honor to be

Very respectfully,

Signed SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.


A letter written and published in Souvenir, the Seventeenth Indiana Regiment: a history from its organization to the end of the war. By Benefiel, W. H. H; September 14, 1913. page 93-94

Mobile Bay Campaign - Letters

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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies - Volume XLIX Page 444-445

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 49, Part 1 (Mobile Bay Campaign)


Near Macon, Ga., May 11, 1865.


Asst. Adjt. General, Cavalry Corps, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi:

MAJOR: In my official report of the part taken by this division during the past campaign while under my command, I have made honorable mention of the following-named officers:

Lieutenant Cols. Benjamin D. Pritchard, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, and Frank White, Seventeenth Indiana (mounted) Infantry; Major John J. Weiler, Seventeenth Indiana (mounted) Infantry; Captain Charles T. Hudson, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, and First Lieuts. James H. McDowell and William E. Doyle, Seventeenth Indiana (mounted) Infantry. I beg to call the attention of the major general commanding more particularly to the gallant and meritorious conduct of these officers. On the night of the 17th Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard marched from Columbus, Ga., in command of his own regiment and the Third Ohio Cavalry, under orders to push forward and save the Double Bridges over Flint River. He carried out his orders faithfully and energetically, saved the bridges, although every preparation had been made for burning them, and captured the battalion which had been left to destroy them. Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard was severely wounded in the battle of Chickamauga, in September, 1863. Captain Hudson led his battalion with sabers, and captured the entire force. Captain Hudson was shot through the shoulder while leading his company in a charge at the battle of Shelbyville, Tenn., on the 27th of June, 1863. Lieutenant-Colonel White had command of the advance on the 20th of April. He drove a rebel once of nearly equal strength to his own from Spring Hill to Macon, a distance of twenty-one miles, in five hours, driving them from behind at least a dozen well-built rail barricades, and saving the bridges over Tobesofkee and Rocky Creeks. The former was on fire, the latter ready for the application of the match, when he carried them. He also received the surrender of the city of Macon from General Cobb, having nothing with him but his own regiment, with which he had entered the city. Colonel White was severely wounded at the battle of Mission Ridge in November, 1863. Major Wiler, Lieutenant McDowell, and Lieutenant and Adjutant Doyle rode in the advance in the various charges made while driving the rebels from their barricades on the 20th. Lieutenant McDowell staked his horse on one of the barricades, killing him instantly. These three officers were on the extreme advance in the charge on the burning bridge and acted in the most gallant manner throughout the day. I earnestly recommend that these five officers be promoted by brevet-Lieutenant-Colonels Pritchard and White to the rank of colonel, Major Weiler to lieutenant-colonel, Captain Hudson to major, and Lieutenants McDowell and Doyle to captains.

I am, respectfully, your, obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Division.


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies - Volume XLIX Page 457-460

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 49, Part 1 (Mobile Bay Campaign)


Macon, Ga., April 21, 1865.

CAPTAIN; I have the honor to make the following report of this regiment, which I commanded on the 20th instant:

On the morning of the 20th the regiment being the advance regiment of the division (Second), the four companies with sabers were sent forward as advance guard of the division under Major Weiler. I had the remaining companies, as the regiment, in the proper order of march in rear of the headquarters. From our camp of the preceding night, from whence we started in the morning, it was forty-five miles to Macon. After marching about twenty-four miles, and when near Spring Hill, the advance guard first met a small force of the enemy and drove them off, capturing a few. I then moved forward with the other companies and assumed command of the advance. We rested near Spring Hill about an hour and then moved on. Near Montpelier Springs we again met the enemy and charged him to up to and through a strong barricade of rails and brush across the road, charging it driving the enemy from it, and capturing about a dozen of them, three officers, and a few horses. Resting a minute, I again moved forward at a fast trot in order to be in time to save the bridge over the Tobesofkee Creek, at Mimm's Mills. Here we found the enemy in line about 300 strong, and attacked them. The advanced charged, mounted, over the burning bridge until stopped by the plank being torn up. They then dismounted, as did also the two advance companies, E and H, and I double-quicked them across the bridge, and after a sharp fight of about five minutes drove the enemy off in confusion. In the meantime I had parts of the other companies at work extinguishing the fire on the bridge, the men carrying the water in their hats, caps, and everything else available. As well drove the enemy from the bridge, I sent two companies (G and I) across a ford below the bridge to pursue the enemy, and gave pursuit at the same time with the dismounted men. The road after crossing the bridge makes a bend, and the enemy had to retreated around this bend, whilst my dismounted men double-quicking across the bend had the enemy under fire for about 200 yards, and took good advantage of it, firing very rapidly demoralizing the enemy, causing them to throw away guns (over 100), blankets, haversacks, &c., and fly as for their lives. The fire on the bridge was sufficiently suppressed in about fifteen minutes to admit of horsemen crossing, and leaving men still at work against the flames, I crossed the command and pushed on. About two miles from the bridge and about thirteen from Macon I was met by a flag of truce under the rebel Brigadier-General Robertson. The force we were pursuing passed the flag of truce and thus saved themselves. I sent word to Colonel Minty, commanding Second Division, of the state of things, and awaited orders. The flag of truce detained us about half an hour. I then received orders from Colonel Minty to give them five minutes to get out of the way, and and then to drive everything before me and save the bridge over Rocky Creek at Bailey's Mill. I placed Adjt. W. E. Doyle in charge of the advance guard of fifteen men, giving him instructions and sending him forward at a trot, supporting him closely with the regiment. After going about two miles be came in sight of the flag-of-truce party covering the rear of a force of about 250 men, said to be Blount's battalion. They were moving slowly, and evidently trying to delay us. Seeing this the adjutant, as I had instructed, him charged them, causing the flag of truce to run into the woods, capturing three of the officers that were with it, and driving the rebel cavalry pell-mell along the road. They kept up a continual fire on us for some time, but with no effect. On getting within sight of the Rocky Creek bridge the enemy were discovered on foot attempting to fire the bridge. The advance drove them off, however, and pursued them closely to the palisades in the road. Before getting to the bridge the adjutant had sent to me for a small re-enforcement, and I sent him Major Weiler and Lieutenant James H. McDowell with Company E. The major caught up before getting to the bridge.

On arriving at the palisades the advance got up amongst the rebels and some firing ensued, the rebels breaking off the road through the gardens on the right in confusion. The advance tore down a few of the palisades, passed through, and rode up to near the rebel works. Here Major Weiler and Adjutant Doyle rode up on the works and demanded their surrender telling them that we had two divisions of our cavalry in their rear. The colonel commanding not being present, the men believed that they were cut off; subordinate officers surrendered their commands, and the soldierly threw down their arms, and as directed marched down to the road, where Lieutenant McDowell took charge of and formed them. The major and adjutant were at this time riding along the line of works, telling the men to throw down their arms and surrender; that they were cut off and were our prisoners; that flight was vain and that fighting would avail nothing, and the rebel soldiery were throwing down their arms and hastening to the road and the officers were following the men. I came up at this time with the regiment and found the rebel prisoners in line along the road under Lieutenant McDowell. I ordered Adjutant Doyle to the forts on the right of the road to receive their surrender. As soon as the regiment got inside the line of works the entire line surrender, finding themselves cut off from town, and Colonel Cumming, who commanded the forces (one brigade) immediately on the road, came down with about 500 men and surrendered to me. I left two companies (G and I) in charge of prisoners, and moved on toward town with the other companies. At the edge of town I was met by some officers with a flag of truce from General Cobb, asking what terms I would give him if he surrendered the city and forces. My answer was unconditional surrender and gave the flag five minutes to get out of my way. After passing into the town the distance of four or five squares, another flag of truce met me stating that General Cobb submitted to my terms, surrendering the city and everything in it. I marched into two and up to General Cobb's headquarter, thus taking formal possession of the city. I placed patrols on duty at once and camped the regiment in the court-house square and adjoining street. We captured in the city and in the works Major General Howell Cobb, Brigadier General Gus. W. Smith, Brigadier-General Mackall, and Brigadier-General Mercer: 3,500 prisoners, including over 300 officers of all grades below brigadier-general; 5 stand of colors, about 60 pieces of artillery of all calibers, and about 3,000 stand of arms. There were also large quantities of quartermaster's, commissary medical, and ordnance stores captured in the city. The exact estimates of the stores I have not been able to find out. We had in the action during the day 21 commissioned officers and 500 enlisted men. We lost 1 killed and 2 wounded. I have to return thanks to Major J. J. Weiler for the efficient aid given me in commanding the regiment, to Adjutant Doyle for the able manner in which he handled the advance guard whilst in command, and to Lieutenant J. H. McDowell, who ably assisted the major, for his promptitude and energy in getting the prisoners together and retaining them. I have also to return my thanks to every officer and man in the regiment for the cheerfulness with which they endured the hardships incident to the march, for the alacrity with which they obeyed every order, and for the gallant manner in which they have gone at the enemy where they have found him since the opening of the campaign. And I have also to return thanks to Captain T. W. Scott and Lieutenant Culberston, of Colonel Minty's staff, for the efficient aid and assistance given me in taking the city. I had omitted to state that we captured after getting in the city four 2-pounder breech-loading guns, known as Travis guns, made and intended for General Forrest, and a large number of horses and mules.

I have the honor to remain, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                                                              FRANK WHITE.

                                                                              Commanding Regiment.

Captain O. F. BANE,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General First Brigadier, Second Div., Cav. Corps,

                                                                              Military Division of the Mississippi.




April 25, 1865.

Captain T. W. SCOTT,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Cavalry Corps:

SIR: I have the honor to send, in accordance with your order, four rebel flags marked by whom captured. The large flag of the Sixth Regiment Arkansas Volunteers was captured on a train at the railroad depot on occupying Macon by Sergt. John W. Deen, of Company C, Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers. The flag marked "captured by Reuben Phillips, Company C, Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers" (battle-flag), was got at the same time and place.

The battle-flag marked "captured by First Lieutenant James H. McDowell, Company B, Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers," was surrendered to him by Colonel Cumming in the rebel works on the Columbus road, one mile and a half from Macon, Ga., on the surrender of said works. The rebel flag marked on the flag "Worrill Grays," was captured by Privates A. R. Hudson and J. Davis from a battalion of militia near Culloden, Ga., after a sharp skirmish in which a small party of the regiment ran about 200 militia. I also hold subject to orders four 2-pounder Travis guns, breech-loading, smooth-bore, brass. They are not mounted. They were found by Corporal Bottorff, of Company K, boxed up and buried in the small-pox grave-yard. He (Bottorff) was directed to them by a rebel soldier. The guns were made for presentation to Lieutenant-General Forrest. I would respectfully suggest that it has been the custom to allow regiments to retain flags captured by them, in order that they may be sent by the regiments to their State libraries; and I would therefore ask that the flags be returned to the regiment to be disposed of in this manner.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                                                                  JOHN J. WEILER,

                                                                                  Major, Commanding Regiment.

Civil War Service - John J Weiler


Weiler, John J.
4 images

John served in the Civil War for the state of Indiana:

Enlisted as a Sergeant on 21 Apr 1861 in Company E, 17th Infantry Regiment Indiana. He was promoted to 5th Sergeant in May 1861, then Lieutenant 2nd Class on 31 Jan 1862 for Co. K. He transferred to company E on 25 Mar 1862 and was promoted to Lieutenant 1st Class. He was promoted to Captain on 21 Nov 1862.

He was dismissed on 31 Dec 1863 and restored on 15 Jun 1864. He transferred to company S with promotion to Major on 08 Jan 1865, He mustered out 08 Aug 1865 in Macon, GA

Grand Army of the Republic - GAR member

United States

John was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, first listed in the Davidson Post, No. 490, Smithville, Wayne, Ohio in 1884-1885 where he served as commander; then Patton Post, No. 26, Johnson City Tennessee in 1888-1889 where he served as Adjutant; later he was a member of John A Dix Post, No 11, GAR (Organized 1885) in Texas from 1889-1910 and served as the Junior Vice-Commander in 1896-1899. Then he served as Adjutant in 1900-1904. He was a delegate for Dallas for the 18th National Encampment in 1903.

Civil War Photograph Sold

In November 2009 a signed photograph of Capt. John J. Weiler was sold at auction in New York

Lot#: 2075  

Description: Signed Id'd CDV. Major. John.J. Weiler 17th Indiana.

Estimate: $200.00 - $400.00

The photo sold for $440


John's Life In Texas


City Directory Dallas 1897 John J Welier GAR p2.PNG

He was a member of John A Dix Post, No 11, GAR (Organized 1885) in Texas from 1889-1910 and served as the Junior Vice-Commander in 1896-1899. Then he served as Adjutant in 1900-1904. He was a delegate for Dallas for the 18th National Encampment in 1903.

In 1893-1894 John and partner George W. Clayton were proprietors of Clayton & Weiler Manufacturers of Cider. In 1896 John owned an Ice Cream Parlor. In 1897-1899 John again is an Apple Cider Manufacturer. 1900-1903 & 1909-1910 John worked for Colonial and U.S. Mortgage Company as a loan inspector. In 1904-1905 John was the proprietor of Linden Hotel. 1906-1908 John worked as a Laborer at the fairgrounds.

Civil War Typed and Signed Letter Sold

In December 2007 a signed letter typed by Major John J. Weiler was sold at auction

Lot#: 164 


Estimate: $400.00 - $600.00, starting bid $240.00

The letter sold for $275

Section from Robert E. Lee and the 35th Star

"Robert E. Lee and the 35th Star" by Tim McKinney, copyright 1993, Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Inc. Charleston, WV 25304, ISBN 93-929521-75-7, 144 pages.

Page 74.

"Lee's announcement to the troops did not mention the sad fate of Lt. Col. John Augustine Washington, who was killed while on reconnaissance at Elkwater on the 13th. While awaiting word from Rust, Lee had decided to probe the enemy position at Camp Elkwater in an attempt to discover any weakness in their defenses. Lee's son Rooney, commanding the cavalry, was ordered to lead the expedition. Rooney, accompanied by Colonel Washington and a cavalry detachment, scouted the country in front of the Union lines. Proceeding cautionsly at first, Rooney Lee decided their mission was accomplished and wanted to return. Colonel Washington urged they continue awhile longer, and though it was against his better judgement, Rooney Lee agreed. It was to be a fatal decision. About one mile in front of Camp Elkwater was a Federal picket post, and about another one-helf mile in advance of them was a small Union scouting party, consisting of members of the 17th Regiment Indiana Infantry. The men had advanced beyond the picket to a long narrow defile in which ran Elkwater Fork. The mountain side to the right at this section was covered with dense undergrowth, and was thus enticing as a place from which to ambush the Confederates. Three member of the 17th, Sgt. J. J. Weiler, Cpl. Wm. L. Birney, and Pvt. Wm. L. Johnson, advanced along the road, while at the same time Lee and Washington, with just two other men, moved toward them. Just then Lee and Washington caught sight of an enemy sentinel about a half mile down the valley. "Let us capture that fellow on a gray horse, Washington exclaimed. Directing the two men wih them to remain hehind, Rooney and Colonel Washington charged down the road. After covering about half the distance the inrtepid Southerners found themselves directly opposite Sergeant Weiler and party. Realizing their predicament, Lee and Washington wheeled quickly right acoss the road, presenting their backs to the Yankees. Without a word spoken the three Indiana soldiers raised their muusket and fired. As it happened all three of the men shot Colonel Washington, who fell from his excited horse as it turned away. Major Lee's horse was wounded and he took off on foot up the bed of the creek. Fortunately for Lee his comrades horse ran toward him. Lee mounted it and made good his escape.

General Lee was greatly pained by the loss of his aide and friend. The next morning, the 14th, Lee sent Col. W. E. Starke to Camp Elkwater under flag of truce to determine Washington's fate. Lee's note of inquiry was addressed to the general commanding U. S. troops at Huttonsville: "Lietenant Colonel John A. Washington, my Aide-de-Camp, whilst riding yesterday with a small escort was fired upon by your pickets and I fear killed. Should such be the case, I request that you will deliver to me his body, or should he be a prisoner in your hands, that I be informed of his condition."

Early that morning General Reynolds had ordered the return of Washington's body. Sergeant Weiler, one of the party who killed the colonel, drove the wagon containing his remains. In a short while the exchange was accomplished, and the unfortunate episode passed into history, gone but not forgotten.

Colonel Washington had previously made several successful scouts of the Federal camps near Valley Mountain, apparently using a map from a Northern newspaper which was found on his person. An Ohio soldier who witnessed the taking of Washington's body later described what he saw; "Three balls passed through Washington's body near together coming out from his breast. He fell mortally wounded. Major Lee was unhurt... When reached, Colonel Washington was struggling to rise on his elbow, and, though gasping and dying, he muttered 'water', but when it was brought to his lips from the nearby stream he was dead. Wahington's name or intials were on his gauntlets cuffs and upon a napkin in his haversack; these served to dentify him and a large knife in his belt. He also had a powder-flask, field glass, gold plated spurs, gold watch and fob-chain, letters, a map of the country, and some small gold coin on his person... thus early, on his first military campaign, fell John Augustine Washington... the great-grandson of General Washington's brother and on his mother's side a great-grandson of Richard Henry Lee, Virginia's great Revolutionary patriot and statesman. He inherited Mount Vernon, but sold it before the war to an association of patriotic ladies.

Colonel Washington's pistols were sent by General Reynolds to the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron; the secretary ordered that Sergeant Weiler be given one of the pistols, and the knife went to Corporal Birney, while Private Johnson received the gauntlets. General Reynolds retained the field glass but eventually gave it to Colonel Washinton's son, George. Col. Milo Hascal, of the 17th Indiana, took possession of the spurs and powder-flask, and Capt. George L. Rose, of Reynold's staff, kept a letter through which a bullet had passed, Indeed, many of the Union soldiers rejoiced in having killed such a man as Washington... As if the facts were not grim enough, some men exaggerated the truth in their letters home and to hometown newpapers. A member of the 13th Indiana wrote his friends back home declaring that they had thoroughly whipped the Rebels. He said they killed not one, but two prominent Confederates: "... we killed Colonel Washington and General Lee and about 100 men... when the bloody 13th got into them we made them run..." Of course exaggeration was not a trait peculiar to Yankees."

FOOTNOTES to the text transcribed: 
26. John Levering, "Lee's Advance and Retreat in the Cheat Mountain Campaign in 1861...From a paper read before the Commandery of the State of ILLinois, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, December 12, 1889. Published in Military Essays and Recollections, V, 4, Cozzens & Beaton Co.: 1907, pages 11-35 (page 33 cited). 
27. Joseph Warren Keifer, Slavery and Four Years of War, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London; 1900. Additional Washington family history was obtained from an article which appeared in Confederate Veteran Magazine, March 1926, pg. 96. 
28. From the papers of John Halvy, included in the manuscript collections of the Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Ind., letter of September 22, 1861. 
29. Confederate Veteran Magazine, March 1926, pg. 96 and United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine, March 1991, pg. 14. 
30. Robert E. Lee, Jr., Recollections and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee, New York: 1904, pgs. 44-46. 
31. Freeman, R. E. Lee Biography, V. I, pg. 576. 

Mt. Vernon Heir Falls, Lee Tells The Child

 Mt. Vernon Heir Falls, Lee Tells The Child  

The link above has information, reserched by Jim Surkamp, on John A Washington; his family, time in the service and death.

References J. J. Weiler who was 23 years old at them time of the death of John A Wasington who was 40 years old.



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