John T. Carpenter, 5th Pennsylvania Reserves


During the war Schuylkill County was most ably represented in the medical corps of the National service. Several of her surgeons were ordered to the most responsible positions, while all were useful and efficient. We will give brief data of their respective service, merely premising that it is a chapter honorable to the gentlemen whose names are contained in it, and of which Schuylkill County can justly be proud:

John T. Carpenter


Dr. Carpenter was appointed Surgeon by Governor Curtin, his commission dating April 21, 1861. He was forthwith ordered on duty at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, to examine recruits and organize the hospital department of the camp. By commission, dated June 4, 1861, Dr. Carpenter was appointed Surgeon of the 5th Pennsylvania Reserves, Col. S. G. Simmons. He went into the field in Western Virginia, June 21st, with the First Pennsylvania Brigade of three years” troops, as Surgeon of the Brigade, by seniority.

He served as Senior Surgeon of the Pennsylvania Reserves, when that Division was on duty in the Army of the Potomac, at Washington, after the First Battle of Bull Run. Dr. Carpenter was examined by the United States Army Medical Board at Washington, and promoted to Brigade Surgeon, U. S. Vols., by commission from President Lincoln, dated September 4, 1861. He reported to Major-General Rosecrans in the field at Tompkin”s Farm, West Virginia, Oct. 14, and was assigned to the German Brigade, commanded by Col. Robert L. McCook of Ohio. He established the general hospitals for the sick and wounded of Gen. Rosecrans”s army, at Charlestown, and took charge of them in November, 1861. He was ordered to Cumberland, Md., March 13, 1862, to take charge of the general hospitals of the army. He was ordered to Wheeling, Va., April 29, by Gen. Fremont, as Medical Purveyor of the Mountain Department, of which Department he was appointed Medical Director on the 10th of May. He was ordered to Cincinnati, Ohio, and entered on the duty of the Medical Inspector of Hospitals, August 25, 1862. He was appointed Medical Director of hospitals in Cincinnati in the vicinity, September 1st. He was appointed May 18, 1863, by the Surgeon-General U.S. Army, to be President of the Army Medical Board of Cincinnati, for examination of candidates for the appointment of Assistant-Surgeons of Volunteers.-Gen. Burnside in General Order, No. 131, Aug. 13, 1863, appointed Dr. Carpenter Assistant Medical Director of the Department of Ohio. He was appointed by Gen. J.D. Cox, Medical Director of the District of Ohio, Oct. 31. Dr. Carpenter was relieved from duty at Cincinnati, March 8th, 1864, by order of the War Department, and ordered to report to the Assistant-Surgeon-General at Louisville, Ky. On the 19th he was appointed Superintendent and Inspector, U.S. Army general hospitals, District of Kentucky. Dr. Carpenter resigned on the 26th of April, 1864. His resignation was accepted, to take effect May 15, 1864. To the exertions of Dr. Carpenter is due the fact that the sanitary condition of some of our most important general hospitals, was brought to a high state of excellence – a work of the utmost importance. In addition Dr. Carpenter was recognized in the army as an able, skillful operating surgeon.1

John T. Carpenter

CARPENTER, JOHN THOMAS Excerpt from Samuel Carpenter & His Descendants, by Edward & Henry Carpenter – printed for private circulation, Philadelphia 1912 John T. Carpenter, the son of James S. and Camilla (Sanderson), was born in Pottsville, PA on 27June 1833 and died 22 Jan 1899. He married (1) on 04 Dec 1855, Eliza Adeaide Hill, daughter Of Charles M. Hill and Caroline Hammecken his wife, she having been born on 22 Dec 1830 and died in April of 1886. He married (2) Ann E. (Shaw), widow of General Henry Pleasants.

Dr. John T. Carpenter graduated A.B. University of Pennsylvania in 1852 and A.M., M.D., 1855, at the University of Pennsylvania. He settled in Pottsville and succeeded to his father”s practice. He was appointed surgeon in the 34th Regiment[, 5th] Pennsylvania Reserves April, 1861 and was Medical Director of General McCook”s Brigade, West Virginia as well as many other appointed positions. After the war he was President of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania.

Upon the close of the Civil War, he continued to reside in Pottsville, devoting himself to the successful practice of his profession until his death. He attained a distinguished reputation as a physician and surgeon, and from his character was universally respected and esteemed in his community.

He and Eliza were the parents of Caroline who married Rev. John B. Draper; James S.; Laura S who married Lucian F. Bringham as his 2nd wife; Sophie; Margaret; John T.; Cornelia; Charles M.; Agnes L; and Eliza A. Carpenter.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. Wallace, Francis B., Memorial of The Patriotism of Schuylkill County, in the American Slaveholder’s Rebellion, Published by Benjamin Bannan, Pottsville, PA. 1865.
  2. Excerpt from Samuel Carpenter & His Descendants, by Edward & Henry Carpenter – printed for private circulation, Philadelphia 1912.