John Decatur Barry Bio-Sketch


Name: John Decatur Barry
Rank: Brigadier General
Education: University of North Carolina
Birth Date: June 21, 1839
Birth Place: Wilmington, NC
Death Date: March 24, 1867
Death Place: Wilmington, NC

John Decatur Barry was born in Wilmington, NC on June 21, 1839. He attended the University of North Carolina from 1856 until 1859. Upon his graduation, he became a banker in Wilmington.

With the onset of the Civil War, Barry enlisted in Company I of the 8th N. C. Regiment. This unit became the 18th N. C. Regiment once it entered Confederate service.  The regiment deployed to South Carolina and then relocated to Kinston, NC where it joined Lawrence O’Bryan Branch’s Brigade. April 1862 saw Barry elected as Captain of Company I.  In May 1862, Barry and his regiment went north to Virginia where they saw action in the Peninsula Campaign. His unit first saw action on May 27, 1862 at Hanover Courthouse. In the Battle of Frayser’s Farm on June 30, 1862, Barry was wounded. He was incapacitated from his wound until October. Upon his return, he served as a captain until promotion to major on November 11, 1862.

Major Barry saw action in May 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville. On May 1, 1863, his unit sustained severe casualties, which left Major Barry in command of the 18th N. C. Regiment. On May 3, 1863, Barry ordered the volley that led to Stonewall Jackson’s death. Barry mistook General Jackson and his party for raiding Union cavalry.

Despite this incident, John D. Barry received a promotion to colonel and command of the 18th N. C.  Barry and his 18th N. C. Troops saw action in the Gettysburg Campaign where, on July 3, 1863 they charged as part of the Pickett-Pettigrew Charge. They continued to serve in the campaigns of 1864 as a part of John H. Lane’s Brigade. He assumed command of this brigade when General Lane received wounds on June 2, 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Barry received an appointment to brigadier general to replace Lane. However, on July 27 Barry received a wound in the hand and lost two fingers. Because of this injury, and the return of General Lane, the temporary appointment to brigadier general on Barry was revoked. Colonel Barry continued to serve until he received a transfer to command a department in North Carolina due to his incapacitating injury. In early May of 1865, Colonel Barry received his parole in Raleigh, NC.

John D. Barry returned to Wilmington after the war and started a newspaper. He experienced a severe decline in his health and died on March 24, 1867 at his mother’s home in Wilmington. Barry was married to Fannie Jones in 1863 and she survived him. His remains rest at the Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, NC.