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John Wayles Hemings Jefferson, 1835-1902
Home Up John Wayles Hemings Jefferson, 1835-1902 Ann Wayles Hemings Jefferson, 1836-1866 Beverly Wayles Hemings Jefferson, 1838-1908

Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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John Wayles Hemings Jefferson, 1835-1892 was not only the son of Eston and Julia Hemings but also a nephew, cousin and sibling to other Hemings near and far to him in both war and peace; and, with the blessings of all he was able to establish and maintain his identity as a White man in 19th century America.  No doubt, his father named him to honor the beloved and talented Uncle John Hemings the builder, ... a true Masonic minded master long before 20th century pretenders up from slavery that entered the lodge but did not study or travel into histories that allowed them to be free-masons.  

John Hemings Nelson, born 1775

Our interest in the story of Eston's number one son, ... is the fact that "he knew what he knew when he knew it" in the second half of the 19th century when human worth was not simply on the basis of skin color or hair texture, ... but definitive racial heritage as would confront European Jews and everyone else in first half of 20th century.  We know that as a commander of human resources for change, ... he knew a lot more about real movements for changing human conditions and relationships of African-Americans than most novelists ever envision.

He knew and lived in the real world of injustice long before author James Baldwin wrote about "The Fire Next Time" that many unheraled men of multi-generation values and views like Dr. King were struggling day and night to extinguish. Indeed, many of the thousands of young men led by Colonel John Wayles Hemings Jefferson, ... marched into battles singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for "the least of us" not yet born.  

In fact, it was not until the second half in 20th century realties, thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, ... that courage and contents of character mattered as much or more to our living Christ than what appeared to be most important to vast majority of African-Americans, ie: color, fashion, texture, tint, etc., and still does to many not yet up from enslaved minds. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eston_Hemings

39Jefferson, John W.UnionInfantry8th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry
8th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry

Organized at Madison, Wis., and mustered in September 13, 1861. Left State for St. Louis, Mo., October 12; thence moved to Pilot Knob, Mo., October 14. Expedition to Fredericktown October 17-21. Action at Fredericktown October 21. Expedition against Thompson's Forces November 2-15. Moved to Sulphur Springs November 25, and duty there till January 17, 1862. Moved to Cairo, Ill., January 17, and duty there till March 4. (Co. "K" detached at Mound City till April. Rejoined Regiment April 14, 1862.)

Attached to 3rd Brigade, District of Cairo, Ill., January to March, 1862. 1st Brigade, 5th Division, Army of Mississippi, to April, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of the Mississippi, to April, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 8th Division, Left Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee, to December, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 8th Division, 16th Army Corps, to April, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps, to December, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, to December, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division Detachment, Army of the Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps (New), Military Division West Mississippi, to September, 1865.

SERVICE.-Operations against New Madrid, Mo., March 6-14, 1862. Siege and capture of Island No. 10 , Mississippi River, March 15-April 8. Expedition to Fort Pillow, Tenn., April 13-17. Moved to Hamburg Landing, Tenn., April 13-22. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Reconnaissance toward Corinth May 8. Action at Farmington May 9. Occupation of Corinth and pursuit to Booneville May 30-June 12. Expedition to Rienzi June 30-July 1. At Camp Clear Creek till August. March to Tuscumbia, Ala., March 18-22. March to Iuka September 8-12. Actions near Iuka September 13-14.

Battle of Iuka , September 19. Battle of Corinth, Miss., October 3-4. Pursuit to Ripley October 5-12. Duty at Corinth till November 2. Moved to Grand Junction November 2. Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign. Operations on the Mississippi Central Railroad November 2, 1862, to January 10, 1863. Duty at LaGrange and Germantown, Tenn., January to March, 1863. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., March 14; thence to Young's Point, La., March 29. At Ducksport till May.

Movement to join army in rear of Vicksburg, Miss., via Richmond and Grand Gulf May 2-14. Mississippi Springs May 13. Jackson, May 14. Siege of Vicksburg , Miss., May 18-July 4. Assaults on Vicksburg May 19 and 22. Expedition to Mechanicsburg and Satartia June 2-8. Mechanicsburg, Satartia, June 4.  Expedition to Richmond June 14-16. Richmond June 15. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Camp at Bear Creek till September 26. Expedition to Canton October 14-20. Bogue Chitto Creek October 17. At Big Black River Bridge till November 7. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., November 7-13. Duty there, at LaGrange and at Salisbury till January 27, 1864. Expedition to Pocahontas December 2-4, 1863.

Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., January 27-February 3. Meridian Campaign February 3-March 2. Red River Campaign March 10-May 22. Fort De Russy March 14. Occupation of Alexandria March 16. Henderson's Hill March 21. Battle of Pleasant Hill , April 9. About Cloutiersville April 22-24.

At Alexandria April 26-May 13. Retreat to Morganza May 13-20. Mansura , May 16. Yellow Bayou , May 18. Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., May 20-22; thence moved to Memphis, Tenn. Old River Lake or Lake Chicot, Ark., June 6.

Smith's Expedition to Tupelo, Miss., July 5-21. Camargo's Cross Roads, near Harrisburg, July 13. Tupelo, July 14-15. Smith's Expedition to Oxford, Miss., August 1-30. Abbeville August 23 and 25. Expedition up White River to Brownsville, Ark., September 1-10. Pursuit of Price through Arkansas and Missouri September 17-November 16.

Moved to Nashville, Tenn., November 23-December 1. Battle of Nashville , December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. Moved to Clifton, Tenn., thence to Eastport, Miss., and duty there till February, 1865.  Moved to New Orleans, La., February 6-19. Campaign against Mobile and it. Defences March 17-April 12. Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely March 26-April 8. Assault and capture Fort Blakely , April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12. March to Montgomery April 13-25. Duty at Montgomery and Uniontown till September.

Mustered out at Demopolis, Ala., September 5, 1865.  Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 53 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 219 Enlisted men by disease. Total 280.

The life of John Wayles Hemings Jefferson in helping to win the Civil War was far more useful than too many historians, Black and White, choose to acknowledge.  He was part of a great Messianic movement that our faith causes us to believe was about much more than rebels imagined, then or now.   Movements for change did not begin or end with civil rights marches in the 1960s.  We believe John likely viewed himself as part of something driven to be much more than he could conceptualize or reason to occur.

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