Tag, John G. (Private)

Alternate Spellings of Surname: Tag, Tagg

 

Born in Germany in 1831, John G. Tag was a laborer residing in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Civil War Military Service

Sometime around July 1864, John G. Tag enrolled for military service at Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Although the Civil War Veterans’ Card File entry for him at the Pennsylvania State Archives indicates that he mustered in as a Private with Company G of the 194th Pennsylvania Infantry, no other data is provided on this index card.

Conversely, the ledger documenting his 1887 admission to the U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Leavenworth, Kansas indicates that he was mustered in with Company G of the 196th Pennsylvania, and that he mustered out in November 1864 upon expiration of his term of service.

Both sources confirm that he then mustered in with Company A of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry at Harrisburg on 26 January 1865, and mustered out with his regiment on 26 December 1865 at Charleston, South Carolina, following instructions issued by the U.S. War Department on 28 November 1865.

1865

In 1865, Private John Tag and his fellow members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were, quite literally, eyewitnesses to several of the most pivotal moments in American history. After making his way from Pennsylvania to the Washington, D.C. area, Private Tag connected with his regiment at Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia via a recruiting depot.

Assigned in February 1865 to the Provisional Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah, the men of the 47th Pennsylvania were ordered to move, via Winchester and Kernstown, to Washington, D.C. where, on 19 April, they helped to defend the nation’s capital following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Making camp near Fort Stevens, the longer serving members of the regiment received new uniforms and were resupplied while newer members of the regiment, like Private John Tag, worked to integrate themselves into a battle-hardened military unit which had fought valiantly and lost members at Pocotaligo, South Carolina (21-23 October 1862), Sabine Cross Roads/Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, Louisiana (8-9 April 1864), Snicker’s Gap (mid-July 1864), Opequan and Fisher’s Hill (September 1864), and Cedar Creek (19 October 1864).

Matthew Brady's photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Matthew Brady’s photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Letters home during this period and newspaper interviews conducted in later years with survivors of the 47th Pennsylvania confirm that at least one 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer was given the high honor of guarding President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train while others may have guarded the Lincoln assassination conspirators during their imprisonment or trial.

As part of Dwight’s Division of the 2nd Brigade, Department of Washington’s 22nd Corps, they participated in the Union’s Grand Review on 23-24 May. Captain Levi Stuber of Company I was also promoted to the rank of Major with the regiment’s central command staff during this time of turbulence.

On their final swing through the South, the 47th served in Savannah, Georgia from 31 May to 4 June as part of Dwight’s Division, 3rd Brigade, Department of the South. Relieving the 165th New York in July, soldiers from the 47th were housed in a mansion formerly owned by the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury.

Ruins seen from the Circular Church, Charleston, SC, 1865. Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (111-B-4667, public domain).

Ruins seen from the Circular Church, Charleston, SC, 1865.
Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (111-B-4667, public domain).

While in Charleston, typhoid and other diseases stalked the men of the 47th. Many who died during this phase were initially interred in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery before their remains were later exhumed and reinterred at the Beaufort National Cemetery.

Responsibilities during this phase of service were typically Provost (military police) or Reconstruction-related, including rebuilding railroads and other key aspects of the region’s infrastructure that had been damaged or destroyed during the long war.

Beginning on Christmas day 1865, the majority of the men of Company A, 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers finally began to be honorably mustered out, a process that continued through early January 1866. Private John Tag’s muster out occurred the day after Christmas.

Return to Civilian Life

On 11 October 1887, John G. Tag was admitted to the U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Leavenworth, Kansas. He had been suffering from rheumatism for eight years. A widower, his nearest living relative was Frederick Tag of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Admissions records describe him as being a laborer by trade and member of the Protestant faith who was 5’4″ tall with black hair, black eyes and a dark complexion. His residence subsequent to discharge was listed as Carlinville, Illinois.

John G. Tag died of valvular heart disease at the age of 67, on 10 August 1897, in Barracks I at the U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was interred at the Leavenworth National Cemetery in Section 11, Row 13, Site 2 at Leavenworth, Kansas.

 

Sources:

1. Admissions and Death Ledgers (Tag, John G., U.S. National Soldiers’ Home at Leavenworth, Kansas), in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Record Group 15 (Microfilm 1749), in Historical Registers of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

2. Burial Ledgers, in Records of The National Cemetery Administration, and in Record Groups 15 and 92 of the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense (Office of the Quartermaster General). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

3. Card Records of Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, in U.S. Office of the Quartermaster General Record Group 92 (Microfilm 1845). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

4. Civil War Veterans’ Card File. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State Archives.

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