Biography of James M. Beardsley
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The above named widely known soldier-citizen is a brother to Colonel Ezra, and Lieutenant Elisha I. Beardsley, the latter of whom was killed in action, December 29, 1862, at Chickasaw Bayou, during the assault under General Sherman. Mr. Beardsley, who is also a cousin of the late Major James M. Beardsley, and descended from a family who settled in America along with the Puritans in 1628, and whose relatives served in the Army and Navy in various capacities for nearly three centuries, was born near Aledo, Mercer County, Illinois, June 23, 1843. When he was still in his swaddling raiment, his parents settled in Rock Island County, where he has since resided, being at the present time a member of the firm of Beardsley & Bailey Company, wholesale liquor dealers.
In 1862, Mr. Beardsley enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Second Regiment, Illinois Infantry, and with his Company was at once sent to the front, going to Gallatin, Tennessee, where Company C became a part of Sherman’s Army. He was in all engagements which have made Sherman and his men famous forever, and was in the assault upon the Rebel battery at Resaca, Georgia, which was successfully accomplished by a deadly, though brilliant bayonet charge, and through which he emerged with two serious wounds and numerous narrow escapes; he was one of the foragers which operated from Atlanta to the sea, including the battle of Savannah, and the battles which took place on the route through the Carolinas. At the battle of Avensboro, North Carolina, he was captured and sent to Libby Prison, at Richmond, Virginia, that place of confinement so lamentably famed for the carelessness and brutality of its administration-and was there held as a prisoner of war until the war was over, when he was mustered out as a prisoner of war at Chicago, June 15, 1865.
The most notable of the numerous engagements in which Mr. Beardsley participated were the battle of Resaca, when his regiment stormed a battery at the point of the bayonet, and at Atlanta, when but 280 men remained to answer roll call out of a total of 921, who had enlisted a year before.
During the attack at Resaca, which occurred May 15, 1864, at which time the Rebel battery was captured and four guns representing the prize. General Benjamin Harrison was in general command; W. T. Ward, whose division was known as ” Ward’s Iron Brigade,” of which Mr. Beardsley was one, was Division Commander, and ” Fighting Joe Hooker” was Corps Commander.
In civil life, Mr. Beardsley has also been exceptionally prominent. From 1865 to 1875 he was a manufacturer of brooms; from 1875 to 1885 was in the Internal Revenue Service, as gauger and deputy collector; was a charter member of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1866; a charter member of Island City Lodge, No. 4, Ancient Order of United Workmen; a charter member of St. Paul Lodge, No. 107, Knights of Pythias; a master Mason since 1871, organizations to which he still belongs, and of which he is an esteemed and active member.
June 27, 1865, Mr. Beardsley was wed to Hannah Hally Beardsley. The surviving children of this union are: Henry Marvin, now a leading business man in Boulder, Colorado; Laura C., now Mrs. Arthur McNeill, of Rock Island, and C. Lynde Beardsley, a young man who gives promise of the same useful and commendable life observed by his father. The friends of Mr. Beardsley are legion and of the substantial and esteemed class. His record as a civilian and citizen is of the same high tone as his record as a soldier and officer in the Army. In fact, as a friend, man and father, he is par excellent.