John L. Tibbetts (1818-1893)
John L. Tibbetts was born in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire in late 1818 and was the son of Ezekial R. Tibbetts (sometimes listed as Hezekiah) and Rachel Burke. The Tibbetts family had lived in what is now Maine and New Hampshire for several generations and some of John's relatives and ancestors included early pioneers that fought in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.
By 1860, John L. Tibbetts was living in Ipswich, Massachusetts where he made a living as a shoemaker. He was married to Rossana MacDevitt, a native of Donegal, Ireland and was the father of two children, Charles (from a previous marriage) and John.
On August 27, 1861 John enlisted as a Private in Company C, 19th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. His enlistment record states that he was born "about 1822" and its possible that he gave his age as 39 instead of 42. According to his obituary in the Ipswich Chronicle, John served with his regiment when it fought in the controversial Union defeat at Ball's Bluff in October of 1861.
In the spring of 1862, the 19th Massachusetts participated in the Peninsula Campaign under General George B. McClellan. On June 25, 1862, the 19th Massachusetts fought in the first of the so-called "Seven Days Battles", at Oak Grove, Virginia. During the battle, John L. Tibbetts was shot through the shoulder, a wound that would require the amputation of his right arm.
Tibbetts was officially discharged from his regiment in the spring of 1863 and later that year welcomed the birth of a daughter, Annie Rose (the author's great great grandmother). Later, Tibbetts reenlisted in the Veterans Reserve Corps and despite the loss of his arm continued to serve the Union cause until his final discharge at the end of 1864.
John L. Tibbetts spent the remainder of his life living in Ipswich, Massachusetts working as a "Huckster" or door-to-door salesman. According to newspaper accounts his health was in decline in the final months of his life. It was during this time that he finally received a one-time $50.00 pension from the US Government for the loss of his arm at Fair Oaks in 1862. John L. Tibbetts passed away on November 14, 1893, one month after the untimely death of his wife Rossana. He is buried in the "Old North Burying Ground" on High Street in Ipswich.