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Kavanagh, James


Age: 24, credited to Plymouth, VT
Unit(s): 2nd VT INF, 9th VT INF
Service: enl 6/2/62, m/i 7/9/62, Pvt, Co. B, 9th VT INF, m/o 11/6/62; substitute - enl 8/5/63, m/i 8/5/63, PVT, Co. E, 2nd VT INF, wdd, Petersburg, 3/25/65, m/o 7/15/65

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 09/1840, The Rower, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Death: 04/18/1908

Burial: Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Joie Finley Morris +
Findagrave Memorial #: 99445016


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 3/29/1880; widow Helen M., 5/1/1908, VT
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Death listed in Spirit of the Age newspaper - photo of grave marker in Ancestry Family Tree

Webmaster's Note: If this soldier enlisted before 9/1/62, and was with the regiment on 9/13/62, he would have briefly been taken prisoner along with the entire regiment at Harper's Ferry. Read the blue section of the unit's Organization and Service for details.


3rd Great Grandfather of Ryan Dougher, Windsor, VT

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Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.

James Kavanagh

Born on September 29th, 1839 in The Rower, Kilkenny County, Ireland to a Roman Catholic family, James H. Kavanagh experienced the horror of the Great Famine at a young age. He told a story of going around with his mother to visit people in distress, and of arriving at one house with no smoke coming from the chimney, nor any other sign of life. They looked in through a window and saw a strange white heap in the middle of the room. It turned out to be the family who had all died after crawling under the rug for warmth. Snow had blown in through the cracks and covered them. As a result of the famine experiences, James is said to have developed a hatred for the English.

James was sent to the U.S. in 1850 at the age of 11 to live with an older brother who was already living on a farm in Gloversville (or Mechanicville), NY. It was intended that he finish his education and have an opportunity at a better life. Sometime between 1850 and before the Civil War broke out, James moved to Plymouth, Vermont.

On June 2nd, 1862, James enlisted into the Union Army and was mustered into Co. B of the 9th VT Infantry on July 9th, 1862. It was a couple months later that he was captured along with the entire 9th VT INF at the Battle of Harper's Ferry on September 15th, 1862. Along with his unit, he was paroled and sent to Camp Douglas in Chicago and was mustered out on November 6th, 1862. The family history tells of James breaking parole to rejoin the Union Army.

He was mustered back in as a replacement in Co. E of the 2nd VT Infantry on August 5th, 1863 where he served until the end of the war. He was wounded on June 1st, 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor and again on March 25th, 1865 at the Battle of Fort Stedman.

The family history elaborates on his experience on March 25th at the Fort Stedman battle:

"...He was wounded in the leg and left lying in an exposed position near the top of a little hill. Some of the southern soldiers called to him and offered to come and get him. He knew that if he was captured again he would be shot for breaking parole, so he called back 'No, boys, I'm too far gone: it isn't worth it.' When their attention was directed somewhere else and no one was noticing he scrambled over the top of the hill to safety. Then he stuck his head up and called, 'Didn't I do that pretty well, boys?' He had trouble with his wounded leg for the rest of his life."

James was shot in the left foot which required his big toe to be amputated. He was mustered out of the Union Army on July 15th, 1865.

In 1866 James married a Helen M. Sherwin (born 12/8/1846 in Grafton, VT). Together they had 11 children, all born in Plymouth, Vermont.

James died of cancer on April 18th, 1908 in Plymouth Union, VT. The following obituary was published in the "Spirit of the Age" newspaper of Woodstock, VT dated April 25th, 1908:

"Plymouth Union. After many months of suffering with cancer in the face, James H. Kavanagh died last week Saturday in his 69th year. He was an old soldier and had lived here for several years. He leaves a widow, four sons and four daughters. The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at his late home, Rev. Mr. Cook of Shrewsbury officiating. Burial at the Notch."

James is buried next to his wife, Helen, at the Plymouth Notch Cemetery.

Contributed by Ryan Dougher, James' 3rd great grandson.