John Wesley Debord

Company A, 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

John W. Debord volunteered along with his father, Martin, at Millersburg in August 1861. Martin cited the defeat at First Bull Run as impetus for their enlistment. Martin developed acute pleurisy and was honorably discharged after 90 days. While in camp in Springfield, Missouri during the fall of 1861 John contracted typhoid fever, developed gangrene and had several toes amputated. although eligible, he would not accept an honorable discharge for disability and wrote that he would, "rather have died than to have returned home...without doing [his country any good whatever." Thus, with unwavering devotion to the Union, John set out to rejoin his regiment near the Arkansas line. During the journey he contracted the small pox and was hospitalized in Rolla, Missouri. He was finally well enough to rejoin the 37th at Cassville, Missouri in May 1862. Primary engagements in which John was involved included: the Battle of Prairie Grove, the Siege of Vicksburg and the capture of Yazoo City. He re-enlisted as a Veteran in 1864 and was mustered out with his company in May 1866.

As descendants of an old Colonial Virginian family, many of John and Martin Debord's relatives found themselves on opposite sides during the war. Numerous relations enlisted with militias throughout the USA and CSA. Of those who wore the blue, several, including George W. Debord (Co I, 45th IL Inf) and William Debord (Co G, 47th IL Con) served under the colors of the state of Illinois.

Photo is ca 1880's

Submitted by S. Buttnor

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