John Carden

Name: John Carden
Occupation before the war: Farmer

Hometown: Charles City, Virginia
Birth: March 12, 1844
Death: August 18, 1879
Spouse: Laurie Bugg

Date of Picture: 1862

Rank: Private upon enlistment; rose to rank of Sargeant

Selected battles/conflicts:

  • First Manassas (Bull Run)
  • Williamsburg
  • Siege of Suffolk
  • Gettysburg
  • Drewry’s Bluff
  • Cold Harbor
  • Siege of Petersburg
  • Appomattox Campaign

Bio: Born southeast of Richmond, Virginia, John Carden spent most of his military career in his home state and relatively close to the home he loved. Although his father had been wounded in the Mexican-American War, John and his brother Maxwell joined the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment following a recruitment rally in their hometown of Charles City. They left their family farm, their father Jeff and mother Abigail (Williams) Carden, and their little sister Susannah to join their regiment.

After assembling in May 1861, one of the regiment’s early skirmishes was at the Battle of First Manassas under the command of James Longstreet. The next year, the regiment was assigned to the larger Army of Northern Virginia where it was active in many famous battles from the Battle of Williamsburg to Gettysburg back to the Seige of Petersburg and the Appomattox Campaign that led to Lee’s surrender.

While John’s regiment participated in many of the same campaigns his cousin Larry Williams did, the 1st Virginia suffered far greater casualties. Of the 140 men in John’s unit, more than 50 lost their lives in battles such as Second Manassas and Drewry’s Bluff, where his brother Maxwell received a fatal injury. Maxwell was sent to Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond where he later died. More than half of the men in his regiment were disabled in Gettysburg. John received an injury at the Battle of Five Forks, where so many remaining soldiers in his unit were injured that only 17 surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. John was not one of them as he was recuperating from losing his right foot.

John returned to Charles City after the war to a ravished farm and countryside. His mother join him, leaving Richmond with his little sister, but due to John’s inability to work the farm, the trio eventually had to leave their home and joined relatives in New England. He was married after the war but died of complications of his wound at the age of 35.

Confederate soldier

Private, 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment

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Please note: This material is part of a performance task developed with input from teachers Kelli Wilson and Makesha Yellock from Martinsville Middle School, instructional coaches, and other dedicated educators in the Martinsville City Public Schools. You are free to use this task, but do please give credit to John Ross and Martinsville City Public Schools if you do use it.