John D. Barry

John Decatur Barry (June 21, 1839 – March 24, 1867) was an officer in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. The men he was leading at Chancellorsville mistakenly fired on Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, leading to Jackson's death.

John Decatur Barry
Born(1839-06-21)June 21, 1839
Wilmington, North Carolina
DiedMarch 24, 1867(1867-03-24) (aged 27)
Wilmington, North Carolina
Place of burial
Oakdale Cemetery
Wilmington, North Carolina
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service1861–1865
RankConfederate States of America Colonel.png Colonel
Brigadier General (temporary)
Commands held18th North Carolina Infantry
Lane's Brigade (temporary)
Other workNewspaper editor

Early lifeEdit

Barry was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on June 21, 1839. He was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1]

Civil WarEdit

Barry enlisted in Company I of the 18th North Carolina Infantry when the Civil War began. He was elected captain of Company I in April 1862.[2](p303) The 18th was part of Lawrence O'Bryan Branch's brigade, and took part in all of the major battles with A.P. Hill's Light Division. Barry was wounded at the Battle of Frayser's Farm during the Peninsula Campaign.[1]

Following the Battle of Antietam, Barry was promoted to major. At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Barry gave the order to fire on Stonewall Jackson's party as they attempted to ride through James H. Lane's brigade, believing they were Union cavalry. Despite the error, Barry was promoted to colonel of the 18th North Carolina after the battle.[2]:303 He led the regiment during Pickett's Charge on July 3 at Gettysburg. Throughout the 1864 Overland Campaign, Barry continued to lead the 18th North Carolina.[1]

Lane was wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 2 and Barry was appointed brigadier general (temporary) to replace him. However, on July 27, at the First Battle of Deep Bottom, Barry was wounded in the right hand.[3] The wound caused him to lose two fingers to amputation. Because he was disabled and after Lane returned to lead the brigade, the temporary appointment to brigadier general was canceled. In February 1865, Barry was ordered to command a department in North Carolina.[1]

Postbellum activitiesEdit

Barry died within two years of the surrender of Confederate forces. Returning home in poor health, he edited a newspaper in Wilmington before dying on March 24, 1867. Some of his friends and family said that Barry "died of a broken heart" for his role in Jackson's death. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e And Then Hill Came Up - Biography of John D. Barry Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b James Sprunt (1916), Edwards & Broughton printing Company (ed.), Chronicles of the Cape Fear River, 1660-1916 (2 ed.), p. 732
  3. ^ Price, James S. (30 September 2014). The Battle of First Deep Bottom. ISBN 9781625846815. OCLC 947153192.


External linksEdit