John Taylor Cuddy
John Taylor Cuddy was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on
October 17, 1844. He was one of five surviving sons of John and Agnes
Cuddy. The Cuddy family owned and operated a distillery in the town.
John Taylor also had a sister, Maggie, and two brothers who died as
young children. His schooling was limited since he worked in the family
business. In the late spring of 1861, like tens of thousands of his
fellow Pennsylvanians, he was caught up in the excitement of the Civil
War and President Lincoln's call for volunteers. Carlisle and its surrounding
area quickly brought together four companies of volunteers during April
1861. One of these, the Carlisle Fencibles under Captain Robert Henderson,
took into its ranks the young Cuddy, who added a year to his age to
avoid possible complications with his enlistment. This unit subsequently
became Company A, 36th Regiment, 7th Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, and
John Taylor Cuddy was mustered into this regiment as a private on June
The 36th, after training at Camp Wayne near Philadelphia, joined the
defense of Washington and spent some relatively quiet months before
being engaged at Gaine's Mill in June 1862. Before that summer was out,
the regiment had also fought and suffered heavily at the Battle of Antietam.
Further bloody action continued at Fredericksburg that December. Ironically,
the now battle-trained Pennsylvanians of the 36th missed the 1863 Confederate
invasion of their home state. The regiment saw limited action, in fact,
until the spring of the following year when it marched south to participate
in the Battle of the Wilderness. During the confusion of the first and
second day of the battle, the 36th suffered disaster when it was cut
off and forced to surrender all its 272 officers and men. Those who
surrendered included the thirty-three survivors of Company A, most of
whom were one month away from ending their three year enlistment.
Cuddy was among those who were entrained and then marched to the notorious
Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Sixty-seven men of the 36th perished
in the horrendous conditions of the open camp. John Cuddy survived Andersonville,
but when he and others in his company were transferred to another equally
harsh camp in Florence, South Carolina, his shattered health gave way
to the ravages of five months in captivity. He died in Florence on September
29, 1864, eighteen days before his twentieth birthday.
Please visit the following link for materials authored
by John Taylor Cuddy maintained in the Their Own Words database:
Cuddy, John Taylor, 1844-1864.