A Civil War Story

John Reuben Carver

Private in the Union Army

My third great-grandfather, John Reuben Carver (1800-1863), served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Records on Ancestry.com indicate that my third great-grandfather served in the Union Army during the Civil War. John Reuben enlisted in the Union Army between 1861 and 1865.

As family and friends knew him, Reuben was 61 years old when the war began in 1861. The average age of enlistment was 26. Records indicate he enlisted in 1861. I wonder why at 61, Reuben felt compelled to enlist as a private?

His rank was Private, and he was in Company I. His regiment was Greene County Regiment, Missouri Home Guard.

Name:John Carver
Enlistment Rank:Private
Muster Place:Missouri
Muster Company:I
Muster Regiment:Home Guard Infantry
Muster Regiment Type:Infantry
Muster Information:Enlisted
Side of War:Union
Title:Index to Compiled Military Service Records

Most Union soldiers were farmers without military training and had learned to shoot while hunting.

Reuben received about $13 per month for his service – about $200 today.

Sadly, John Reuben never made it home. He died in the war in 1863 at the age of 63.

Greene Co Home Gd Infantry Regiment Missouri
Date of Organization:
1 May 1861
Regiment State:
Regiment Type:
Regiment Number:
Greene Co Home Gd
Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded:
Officers Died of Disease or Accident:
Enlisted Killed or Mortally Wounded:
Enlisted Died of Disease or Accident:
Find Soldiers in this Regiment:
U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles

John Carver
Date of Death:2 May 1863
Burial Place:Sparta, Missouri, USA
Unit:Mo. Cavy.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest conflict in the American Civil War. Three days of fighting in the July heat ended in nearly 52,000 lives lost.

John Reuben Carver’s Soldier’s Pins Lead to Modern Dog Tags

Reuben and his fellow soldiers sometimes added labels to their uniforms before going into battle, writing their names on bits of paper or handkerchiefs. They did this after seeing or hearing men die in battle without identification or a proper burial.

Seeing this demand, merchants sold “Soldier’s Pins,” small metal discs stamped with their name that could be attached to their uniform. This ingenuity inspired the standard practice of providing identification, or “dog” tags for soldiers, implemented by the United States government after the Civil War.

Sadly, John Reuben never made it home. He died in the war in 1863. A note at the bottom of a Civil War record noted that he most likely died at Mill Springs and was buried among the unknown dead.

Our Relationship

Here’s how John Reuben Carver is related to me.

Did Reuben pin a Soldier’s Pin to his uniform before the battle he died in? Or, perhaps he put a scrap of paper with his name on it in his pocket? Reuben’s story is an example of how later dog tags would have helped provide him with a proper funeral during a dark period in our American history.

Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.

I thank Ancestry.com and its many records for helping build this story.