John L. Perley papers  1864
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Perley, John L.

Rank : Lieutenant

Regiment : 4th Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment. Co. D (1864-1865)

Service : 1864 January 2-November 16

John L. Perley, a baker from Newburyport, was among the first to respond to Lincoln's call for recruits in April, 1861. Volunteering for three months as a private in Co. A of the 8th Mass. Infantry, he served at Annapolis and Baltimore before immediately reenlisting in August as a Sergeant in the 1st Company, Massachusetts Sharpshooters. The sharpshooters were attached to the 15th Massachusetts Infantry, in the Army of the Potomac, where they took part in the campaigns in Maryland and northern Virginia. In February, 1863, Perley was given a disability discharge at Falmouth, Va.

At the end of 1863, his health recovered, Perley again volunteered, obtaining a commission as 1st Lieutenant in Co. D, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry, a regiment then being raised under Special Order No. 70 from the War Department. Unusually, the various companies of this regiment served most of their time in separate assignments, often at great distance from each other. Perley's Co. D arrived at Hilton Head, S.C., on April 1st, 1864. There, in late May, they participated in a disasterous expedition up the Ashepoo River, during which a transport was destroyed by Confederate artillery, killing 30 men and 74 horses. Companies B and D left South Carolina for Jacksonville, Fla., on July 6th, 1864. As experienced soldiers, they performed effectively on an extended cavalry raid toward Baldwin, Fla. in late July, capturing prisoners and horses and disrupting Confederate supply lines. At Palatka on August 5th, Perley and five enlisted men were captured and sent to Charleston, S.C. Perley died of disease in Charleston, on November 16th.