Murther, John

15th Independent Battery
Middle Island

John Murther
15th and 32nd Independent Battery
Middle Island

John Murther was born in New York City on July 4, 1841. He moved to Long Island and was working on the Middle Island farm of Sylvester Swezey when the war broke out.

At the age of twenty-two, he was among the many young men who answered the call to join the Union Army. On August 26, 1862, he and two friends from Middle Island traveled to Westchester to enlist with the 15th Independent Battery, under Captain McMahon, for a period of three years.

When Murther joined the unit in September the 15th Independent Battery was ordered to Maryland and stationed at Relay House. He served with the unit through the battles of Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Petersburg, and Weldon Railroad.

The unit was equipped with four brass guns, which were twelve-pounder smooth bores known as Napoleons. These guns, and the men, saw a lot of action. Captain Hart, who replaced Captain McMahon, was not one to run from a fight.
After Gettysburg, the battery fought at Rappahannock Station and Mine Run. In May, they were attached to Grant's army and fought at the Wilderness. The 15th then followed Grant to Cold Harbor where three of their men died.

Murther, John
Union gun battery ready for action.

They then proceeded to Weldon Railroad. The 15th, though undermanned and short of cannons, was assigned to support the 5th Corps in the battle to control the railway supply lines. The fighting was fierce and at close range.

John Murther was hurt during the fight for Weldon Railroad. On August 21, 1864, a horse fell on his right leg. He was sent to the Corps Hospital in Virginia. This caused him to limp badly, he had an internal hernia, and he suffered long-term pain in his leg and back.

Despite the injuries, Murther was promoted to Corporal three months later. He and the remaining men of the 15th were transferred to the 32nd Independent Battery, where he spent the rest of his military service.

John Murther was discharged in New York City on July 14, 1865. He returned to Middle Island and continued to work on the Sylvester Swezey farm. As a result of his war injuries, however, he had a hard time carrying out his duties on the farm. Unfortunately, Murther had difficulty securing his disability because there was a problem with his military records.

He married, but his wife passed away before the couple had any children. Over time, Murther moved between Middle Island, Yaphank and Coram. He was residing in Coram when he died in 1911 at the age of 70.

Union troops destroying the Weldon Railroad, cutting a vital supply line to Richmond.

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