Feedback +

Napoleon Bonaparte Clarke (1842-1914)

Napoleon Bonaparte Clarke, born in 1842, was mustered into military service on August 13, 1861. He served in the 1st RI Light Artillery as a corporal in Battery B during the Civil War. Just over a year later, on September 7, 1862, Clarke was demoted to the ranks when he committed a “breach of discipline.” The following July, Clarke fought in the ranks of Battery B at Gettysburg. Several members of his battery were wounded, killed or taken prisoner, including Joseph S. Cassen, with whom Clarke shared a muster date, and later, a final resting place. Battery B’s losses were so heavy that Battery B was temporarily combined with Battery A. Unharmed, Clarke went on to complete an additional year of service. Battery B participated in a number of campaigns and battles within this year, and it is likely that Clarke fought in most, if not all, of these.

After three years of service, Napoleon Clarke was mustered out on August 12, 1864. He and several others traveled by boat to Washington, where they received their pay, then traveled by train to Exchange Place in Providence on August 17, 1864. They were welcomed with ceremony and celebration. In 1913, Clarke and many other veterans travelled to Gettysburg for the 50th anniversary of the battle. He was photographed along with several other veterans of the 1st RI. Clarke passed away on November 17, 1914, was survived by his wife and children, and was laid to rest in the North Burial Ground. Read More...

Katelyn St. George, Student at Rhode Island College