John Clark, 3rd Pennsylvania Reserves

JOHN CLARK, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Third Reserve regiment, was born in Philadelphia on the 30th of November, 1822. He was the son of George and Ann (Kearney) Clark, of Irish descent. He received a good common-school education, but no military training previous to the Rebellion. He entered the service of the United States on the 31st of May, 1861, as Captain of Company E, in the Third Reserve. No officer of his command was moreb attentive to duty nor more constant than he. He was with the corps throughout the entire Seven Days’ battle upon the Peninsula, and at its close was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel for meritorious services. At Antietam he was wounded in the hand, but refused to leave the field, and did not go to a hospital, though the wound resulted in the permanent injury of one of the fingers. He was here in command of the regiment, as also at South Mountain and Antietam, where he was in the thickest of the fight and acquitted himself with distinction. Soon after the battle of Fredericksburg, Colonel Clark was detailed for special duty in the engineer corps. It was at a time when the Government was carrying on stupendous campaigns reaching over almost the entire breadth of the continent, and the building and repair of railroads for the transfer of troops and supplies was not among the least of its labors. Colonel Clark had, in early life, acquired great familiarity with the practical part of railroad construction, and his services were invaluable. At the close of his term he was mustered out, and was subsequently chosen a member of the City Council of Philadelphia, and a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, of which body he was elected Speaker. He died at his residence in Philadelphia, on the 30th of May, 1872.1

John Clark
John Clark, Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves. Clark raised the Desilver Grays, which were assigned Company E of the 3rd Reserves.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Clark – John Clark, eldest son of George and Anne Clark, was born in Philadelphia in 1822. When he had completed his education he engaged with his father in the construction of many public works, the first being the Welland Canal, Canada. While there employed he was married to Miss Elizabeth M. Stephenson, only daughter of E. W. Stephenson, a prominent citizen of St. Catherine’s, Cananda. He resided temporarily, while pursuing his business, in Boston and West Needham, Massachusetts, and Tarrytown, N.Y. He also lived for several years at West Chester, Pa. In 1858 he moved to Holmesburg, where he bought and occupied the house now owned by Mrs. Peale on the corner of Main and Mill Streets. Here he died on May 30, 1872. He was actively engaged as a contractor, and was employed on some of the largest public works in the country, notably the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Hudson River Railroad, and the North Pennsylvania Railroad, the Croton Water Works, of New York City, the Boston Water Works, and many others. He served one term as a member of Common Council for the Twenty-third Ward. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Board of Brokers. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Mr. Clark was unanimously elected captain of volunteers from Holmesburg which was attached to the Third Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, known afterwards as the famous Pennsylvania Reserves. The regiment was the Thirty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. Mr. Clark was in the service for three years, taking part of the regiment in the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines’ Mill, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Manassas, South Mountain, Antietam, and others. Having been promoted to the position of lieutenant-colonel he commanded the regiment in the last-named action, and received a painful but not severe wound, the index finger of his right hand being broken by a piece of shell which exploded near him. The injury was aggraved by a subsequent fall from his horse, caused by the breaking of the firth of his saddle. In 1862 he was detached from the regiment by the War Department and detailed for service in the construction department United States military railraods and given charge of the Acquia & Fredericksburg Railroad. He was afterwards sent to Nashville, Tenn., and given similar employment there. He remained in the West until his three years’ term of service expired. After the war he resumed active business. In 1866 he built the Warren & Franklin Railroad in the oil region of Pennsylvania. He was also engaged on the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railraod, the Union Railroad, of Baltimore, and other large public works. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1868 and 1869, being Speaker of the House during his last term. He then retired from politics, his time being fully occupied by his large buisness interests. Mr. Clark was a man of handsome appearance and commanding presence, genial in his manners and generous in disposition. He was a regular attendent at the services of Emmanuel Church. He took an active interest in all matters affecting the welfare of the village, and was universally respected as a brave and distinguished soldier, a capable and honorable business man, and a legislator of ability and integrity. He was one of the original members of the Commandery of Pennsylvania Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and was also a Trustee of the Lower Dublin Academy. Colonel Clark is buried in the cemetery attached to Emmanuel Church, Holmesburg.

His noble war record is in Major E. M. Woodward’s History of the Third Pennsylvania Reserves, which contains a portrait of him.2

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Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.

  1. Bates, Samuel P., Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania. Pgs. 644-645
  2. The Bristol Pike by Samuel Fitch Hotchkin.