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John Charles Black Passes Away

Today in Masonic History John Charles Black passes away 1915.

John Charles Black was an American soldier and politician.

Black was born in Lexington, Mississippi on January 27th, 1839. At the age of 8 he moved with his family to Danville, Illinois. Black would later attend Wabash College in Indiana and become a lawyer.

At the age of 21 Black, along with his brother William, joined the Union Army. He would join the 11th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He join the unit in the the beginning of April of 1861, by the end of April he was already a sergeant major. He would stay with the 11th for three months.

After leaving the 11th, Black and his brother were mustered with the 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In September of 1861, Black would be promoted to Major in the unit. The following March in 1862 the unit would be a part of the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. It was a decisive battle that would guarantee Union control of Missouri and Norther Arkansas, it was also one of a few battles in the Civil War that the Confederate Army was larger then the Union Army. Black would be wounded in the right arm during the battle.

In July of 1862, Black would be promoted again to lieutenant colonel and become the commander of the 37th Illinois Infantry. He would lead his regiment, in December of that same year, against a fortified Confederate position in the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. The unit would take heavy casualties and Black himself would be wounded, forcing the regiment to retreat.

In late December of 1862 Black was promoted to full colonel. He would remain with the unit until 1865 when he would resign his commission. In January of 1866 President Andrew Johnson recommended Black for a promotion to brevet brigadier general dating back to April of 1865 when Black led his regiment in an assault on Fort Blakeley, Alabama. Congress would approve the promotion in March of 1866.

Black was elected to Congress in 1893 and would serve a two year term until 1895.

In 1896 a review of the events at the Battle of Prairie Grove led to Black and his brother William to receive the Medal of Honor. They would be the first of two brothers to both receive the award. As of 2005 there have only been five sets of brothers to receive the award.

Black passed away on August 17th, 1915.

Black was a member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 in Danville, Illinois.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.