Sons of Union Veterans of
P. O. 24969 San José, CA

My Union Ancestor



Co. E, 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry
Wilder's Lightning Brigade

3 x great-grandfather of Tad D. Campbell, PCinC

John Henderson Appleton was born November 27, 1832 in Centre County, Pennsylvania, the son of Dr. Charles William Worthington Appleton and Rachel Hutton.

Very little is known about his childhood. While still a boy, he moved with his parents to Indiana, eventually settling in Wabash County. Once he was old enough, he purchased land of his own in Thorncreek Township, Whitley County, Indiana.

On June 24, 1857 he married Matilda (Dupler) Egolf, widow of Daniel Egolf. She was born April 15, 1835 in Perry County, Ohio, one of eight children of Jonathan and Lydia (Hoppes) Dupler. They had five children.

At the age of twenty-nine, John H. Appleton enlisted as a Private in Company E, 17th Indiana Infantry on August 27, 1862 at Columbia City, Indiana, and was mustered into service at Indianapolis on September 3, 1862.

The records of the regiment describe him as height 5' 10 1/2", with blue eyes, dark hair, and light complexion.

The 17th Indiana was attached to Col. John T. Wilder's Brigade (1st Brigade, 4th Division, 14th Army Corps). The regiment was already at Nashville when Appleton joined them. While at Murfreesboro, Tennessee in February 1863 the Brigade was mounted and served most of the remainder of their service as "mounted infantry". In May they were equipped with the new Spencer Repeating Rifle.

At Hoover's Gap, they repulsed several charges by superior numbers, and when reinforced captured seventy-five prisoners and 126 stands of arms, their loss being forty-eight killed and wounded. It was for this action that they received the moniker of "Wilder's Lightning Brigade."

They next marched to Manchester, capturing many prisoners, were in a skirmish near Chattanooga on August 21, and moved towards North Chickamauga and Dalton.

The Regiment was in a sharp fight with Scott's brigade of cavalry and two pieces of artillery, near Ringgold, Georgia in September, defeating the enemy, and was in frequent skirmishes until the battle of Chickamauga, in which the regiment several times broke the enemy's lines and repulsed a severe charge with a counter- charge, in which the Confederates were driven back, leaving many prisoners with the 17th. They helped hold the line that allowed the shattered Union Army to retreat back to Chattanooga.

The 17th Indiana continued their operations in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee until the end of the War. John H. Appleton was honorably discharged at Nashville, TN on June 22, 1865.

After the war, he returned to his home in Whitley County, Indiana where he continued his pursuit of farming.

On April 11, 1879 his wife Matilda died. John H. Appleton remarried on June 9, 1880 to Ellen Caricure. They were divorced on February 18, 1886, probably due to her mental condition, as she later died in the Insane Asylum at Logansport, Indiana. He again remarried on September 14, 1886 to Sarah Jane (Mayberry) Beemer, a widow.

John H. Appleton belonged to the Baptist church, the I.O.O.F, and was an active member of the George W. Stough Post No. 181, GAR of Columbia City.

He died April 10, 1911 at the age of 78, and was buried with his first wife in the Hively Cemetery (also called St. John's) in Thorncreek Township, Whitley County, Indiana.

Click here to download his Military Service File

Click here to download his Pension File


John Henderson Appleton's half-brother, Charles Manning Appleton (1846-1862), served in the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry "Baxter's Fire Zouaves" of the Philadelphia Brigade during the Civil War.

Copyright © 2001-2015 — Phil Sheridan Camp 4, Dept. of CA & Pacific, SUVCW
Created 27 Jan 2001; Revised 25 Aug 2015

Webmaster: Tad D. Campbell, PCinC

Visit: Norse Highlanders Genealogy