There were many Civil War heroes that, today, aren’t known about. But as patrons of this Country, the United States, those heroes are owed gratitude. John S. York was a man from a large family who, later in life, joined the 17th Massachusetts Infantry. He was born in New Hampshire in 1824, and in 1860, moved to an area around Haverhill or Essex, MA. He had three sisters, Sarah, Sarah F., and Mabel, 38, 11, and eight, and a brother Joseph, 10 years old. His parents were unknown and John was 36 when he entered the war. He then became interested in serving for his country, and so he did.
In 1860, John joined the 17th Mass. Infantry, Comp. D, as a private. As war proved to his end, he would rank out as a private as well. The Infantry gathered at Lynnfield, MA, and then traveled to Baltimore, Maryland where they met up with Dix’s Command and General Burnside’s Expeditionary. Burnside was very successful commander drilling and fighting with the North Carolina Expeditionary Corps. From there the three groups traveled to New Berne, North Carolina where they would be most needed. When in North Carolina, John journeyed back and forth between Lenoir County and Wayne County, NC.
John S. York’s infantry played an important role in the Anaconda plan, blockading the coast. His company traveled from coast, inland, and back to the coast. They had to protect the south from other country reinforcements, importing and exporting goods, etc. The first battle that John specifically fought in was the Battle of Kinston in Lenoir County. He was commanded by Brigade General John G. Foster where, on their way to Goldsborough, they were disrupted by Brig. Gen. Nathan Evans on December 14. The Confederates were outnumbered so they retreated and Foster overtook the River Road. The next battle, on December 16 in Wayne County, was the Battle at White Hall. Confederate Brig. Gen. Beverly Robertson had control over the north bank of the Neuse River. The Federals fought for the bank while the other part of the Union troop moved towards the railroads, their initial endeavor. Their next stop was the Battle of Goldsborough, commanded by Foster still, in Wayne County. December 17 was the day that the troop reached the tracks and started destroying them. Confederate Brig. Gen. Thomas Clingman slowed the destruction a little, but it didn’t stop Foster’s men. They pushed forward, finishing their job and returning to New Berne. The final fight that John would take part in was the Battle at Wyse Fork in Lenoir County in March of 1865. Lead by Major General John Schofield versus General Braxton Bragg, the Confederates stopped the Union on their way inland. The Confederates won the first shot, but were then halted and two days later, on the ninth, the Union counterattacked. Making Bragg and his troops retreat, the fall of Kinston was to come on the 14th. John S. York died sometime during that battle, was brought back to Franklin, MA, and is now remembered on a monument on the Common across from St. Mary’s Church. John S. York was around the age of 41 when he passes away while in action.