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Wilcox, John W. - Capt


Among the Confederate soldiers who have passed in recent years into the Great Beyond was Captain John W. Wilcox, and surely none was more loyal to the South, its traditions, and its people. Often I have heard him say that if he was not permitted to go into heaven, he hoped he would be allowed to enter into whatever place the Army of Northern Virginia now occupied.

Captain Wilcox, although intensely Southern, was all-American also, for in 1650 one of his forbears, John Wilcox, with others, settled Middletown, Conn. Lemuel Wilcox, grandfather of Captain Wilcox, served in the war of the Revolution.

John W. Wilcox, son of Columbus and Marie Andrews Wilcox, of New Orleans, La., enlisted on May 26, 1861, as a private in the 4th Company battalion, Washington Artillery. He served as private, corporal, and sergeant in the Army of Northern Virginia until February, 1865, when he was promoted to captain on Gen. James Dearing's staff, with whom he served until the surrender.

Henry H. Bolser gives the following in his book on "Personal Experiences in the Civil War": "At Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, Va., finding all ammunition chests empty, we were ordered to the rear. Ramming my sponge staff into a bag of hard-tack which I slung over my shoulder, I followed gallant John Wilcox down the Telegraph Road. Wilcox's horse had been wounded, and he was leading the poor animal along, for he was fond of him and refused to leave him. Suddenly Wilcox threw his arms into the air, exclaiming, 'They got me. I am shot.' Running to him, I found a large piece of shell on the back of his packet, as though it had been stamped there by a red-hot iron." All his life he suffered from this terrific blow on the spine.

Another tribute to him I quote from the Times-Democrat of New Orleans: " Wilcox was a born leader, chivalrous and independent and as honest as he was brave" is the tribute paid to the late Captain Wilcox, of Macon, Ga., by Sumter Turner, secretary of the Washington Artillery Veteran Association. 'It was my good fortune to be intimately associated with Wilcox for the four years of the war, during which he won honorable and well merited distinction. His death is felt with keen regret by his many friends here.'"

The last earthly music he heard here was " Dixie." Standing at attention, hat in hand, he drank in its soul-stirring strains. Half an hour later he had gone, I fully believe, forest in "The shade of the trees," with his beloved commander gone ahead, and I also believe that the song he loved so well greeted him "over the river."

Capt. John W. Wilcox died January 1, 1920. He rests in Milledgeville, Ga., where old friends of three generations gathered to do him honor. The chancel furniture of the Episcopal church, from which the services were conducted, was the work of his loving hands, a tribute of faith and love to the great "I am."

[H. M. Robertson, Augusta, Ga.]

Confederate Veteran, February 1922

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