A Civil War Biography

Edward Franc Jones

Jones was born 3 January 1828 in Utica, New York. When he was young his family moved to Leicester, Massachusetts, where he attended the public schools. In 1856 he invented a kerosene lamp and established a factory to manufacture his invention. Guided by his skills in manufacturing and sales the business proved extremely successful.

When the war erupted Jones shut down his factory and helped recruit the 6th Massachusetts, the first regiment to respond when, on 15 April 1861, Abraham Lincoln called for troops to put down the rebellion. Led by Jones, the 6th was the first regiment that had to pass through Baltimore, Maryland on the way to Washington, DC. On 19 April 1861 as the Massachusetts troops marched from the President Street station, where trains from the north arrived, to the Camden station, where trains departed heading south towards Washington, a distance of a few miles along Baltimore's inner harbor, a confrontation occurred. No one was ever sure what side starting the shooting but both sides reported casualties. Jones's official report lists 3 dead and 40 wounded. Eventually that death toll would rise to 4. The major of Baltimore, George Brown, claimed 12 civilians killed and dozens others wounded, in what Baltimore still refers to as the "Second Battle of Lexington". Jones and his troops were hurried out of town, leaving behind his dead, wounded, and the regimental band. When Jones and the 6th reached the capital they were greeted by Lincoln who was very worried that without troops in the city, the capital would fall. When the 6th was officially mustered into Federal service on 22 April 1861 Jones was given the rank of colonel in the volunteer service. Jones and his 6th returned to Baltimore on 13 May 1861 part of the troops commanded by Benjamin Butler that were sent to occupy the city. The troops dug in on Federal Hill above the harbor. Jones was recalled to Massachusetts by Governor John A. Andrew and was officially mustered out of service with the 6th on 2 August 1861. He helped raise the 26th Massachusetts infantry regiment and on 28 August 1861 became its colonel. The 26th became part of the Union forces sent to Louisiana and became part of the occupying forces of Forts Jackson and St. Philip after they fell in April 1862. Little is available concerning Jones's further service during the war. One source lists him being discharged on 28 July 1862 but no further explanation is given. Another source simply states he served with distinction throughout the war. The one thing that is certain is he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on 13 March 1865 for his war service.

Following the war Jones returned to Massachusetts. He was elected to the state legislature in 1865. He settled in Binghamton, New York in1866 where he started a factory to manufacture of scales and farming implements. Again he was very successful in a manufacturing venture. In 1885 he was elected lieutenant governor of New York and served two terms remaining in office until 1892. He returned to running his businesses until after he became blind he was forces to turn over control to his son. He died 14 August 1913 following a stroke of apoplexy. He was a member of many patriotic organizations including the Sons of the American Revolution, the Army and Navy Club of Washington, DC, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, and the Loyal Legion. He also was an author of some note. His works included "Origin of the Flag," "Richard Baxter." and "Uncle Jerry."

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