Saturday, July 7, 2007

Soldiers of the 48th: Lieutenant James May, Co. E

Lieutenant James May
Company E

Born on December 4, 1843, in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, James May was a first-generation American, the son of English immigrants. He attended school and by the outbreak of civil war in 1861 was employed as a blacksmith. On August 20, 1861, May, at eighteen years of age, was mustered into service as the 5th Corporal of Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Volunteers. He served with the regiment throughout all four years of the war, seeing action at 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and throughout the campaigns in Kentucky and East Tennessee. He rose steadily through the ranks, rising from corporal to sergeant to second lieutenant. He was promoted to first lieutenant after the battle of the Wilderness, and in this capacity led his men at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. Having survived all four years of the war unscathed, May was mustered out of service as a "Veteran" on July 17, 1865.
After the war, May settled in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, taking up residence in the town of Shamokin. He was a merchant for several years before entering the coal business in 1871, working with the Burnside Colliery, and the Morris Ridge Colliery, where May rose to become senior partner. He remained active in military affairs, joining the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1867. He was first a lieutenant in the Shamokin Guards, but soon rose to the rank of captain, and finally to major. May was also an active member of the community, serving for three years on Shamokin's borough council, and as treasurer of the Home Building and Loan Association. In 1904, he helped locate the position of the 48th Pennsylvania during the battle of Antietam, and helped select a suitable spot for the regiment's monument there. He died the next year, on September 29, at the age of 61. His remains were buried in Shamokin's St. Edward's Cemetery.

{I am indebted to Mr. John Mattre, a descendant of James May, for providing information on the lieutenant}.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OUR JAMES MAY was my Great-Great Uncle and brother to my Grandmother, Mary May who died in her 8th child birth. Her husband, Charles E Jones supplied Issac May and his Sons with Mining supplies in Shamokin, PA. In the year of 2015 Jones Hardware and the 1st Home Center in 1978 will be 100 years old with Thomas F Jones, as founder.
TOM JONES HAS THE SAME BIRTHDAY AS JAMES MAY on December 4th, truly two heroes