Biography of Capt. John Evans, Co. A 2nd Delaware Infantry

by Brett Schulte on September 16, 2011 · 0 comments

Editor’s Note: 2nd Delaware researcher and reenactor Sean Protas has generously agreed to do a series of guest posts focusing on the colorfully nicknamed ‘Crazy Delawares’.  Look for Sean’s posts to appear periodically here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.  For more information on the modern day 2nd Delaware Volunteer Infantry reenactment group, check out their web page: http://www.2nddelaware.com/

 

Capt. John Evans, Co. A 2nd Delaware Infantry

By: Sean Protas

 

Capt. John Evans of Delaware, was a well respected officer who served for nearly three years in Company A of the 2nd Delaware from May 1861 till his death in May 1864. His record was without blemish and featured his rise in rank from 2nd Lt. to Captain. He was a steadying influence on his company as he was able to serve in every battle of the unit from the Seven Days till his mortally wounding at Spottsylvania and was a courageous and brave officer under fire. In May of 1863, Sgt. Cyrus Forwood of Co. A, in a letter home, gave the following description: “Capt. Evans is as near like a rock as man can be, no matter how near him a shell may burst he will scarce look around toward it.”[1]

Prior to May 1861, John Evans was a bricklayer by trade living in New Castle County, Delaware. When the call for three year regiments was made by the government, Mr. Evans worked with David L. Stricker to form a company of men that began recruiting in early May 1861 in Dover, DE. On May 31st, 1861, the Delaware Gazette reported the following:  “The new Regiment- Capt. David L. Stricker and Lt’s. Wenie and Evans, are now busily engaged in recruiting men for the Kent County Rangers, to be mustered into the three years service of the US. 16 men from Kent County enrolled their names on Friday, and are now in this city; at the armory of the company, No. 414 Market St. About 40 men are yet wanted to make the complement necessary for a full company.” This company would be mustered in as Co. A of the newly formed 2nd Delaware Infantry on June 1, 1861 at Camp Brandywine in Wilmington, DE, and accompanied the regiment when it broke camp for Cambridge, MD on September 17, 1861.

Just prior to the regiment joining the Army of the Potomac, 2nd Lt. Evans received his first promotion on April 26, 1862. This promotion came following the promotion of the Company’s 1ST Lt. Thomas Wenie to Captain of Co. I. As Co. A’s 1st Lt. he served during the Seven Days Battle in June 1862, the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, and Fredericksburg on Dec. 13th, 1862. During this battle, Lt. Col. Baily and Major Ricketts were wounded and thus Capt. David Stricker of Co. A was promoted to take command of the Regiment in January 1863 and 1st Lt. Evans was promoted to Captain to fill the vacancy in Co. A. As Captain of Co. A, he saw action at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, Mine Run, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Courthouse. On May 10th, 1864, during the skirmishing along the lines at Spottsylvania, Capt. Evans was shot and mortally wounded. This was the only wound that he suffered in 3 years of active military service and he was just two months short of his term of enlistment expiring. He died of the wound on May 12th, 1864, his body was returned to Wilmington and was interred in Emmanuel on the Green Cemetery in New Castle, DE on May 17th, 1864. [2]

At this time, it is unknown whether any personal correspondence still exists from Capt. Evans but some insight into his personality and character are available through the observances of Sgt. Cyrus Forwood, who served as a Non-Commissioned officer in Co. A. In a diary entry on May 10th, 1862, Sgt. Forwood said the following: “Lt. Evans is one of our best officer, had he the advantages of a military education he would make of one of the best officers in the Service. As he is, I predict for him a brilliant future if he remains in the Army.”  Sgt. Forwood also viewed him in a favorable light because of Capt. Evans’s distaste for the consumption of alcohol, unlike many other officers in the regiment.  It is also known that on March 28th, 1864, while on furlough, Capt Evans married Miss Maggie Stroup of New Castle County, DE in a ceremony at 509 S. Thirteenth St., Philadelphia, PA by Rev. F. W. Olmstead, Chaplain US Army. [3]

Camp Pope Publishing

Figure 1 Brief History of the 2nd Delaware Lt. Robert Smith


[1] Cyrus Forwood Letters  State of Delaware Archives May 1863

[2] Delawarean 5/21/1864

[3] Philadelphia Inquirer 3/30/1864


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