the Civil War came, J. Kelley Brown answered his nation's call. On
April 25, 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army as a
Sergeant. He was assigned to Company G, Fourth Infantry Regiment New
Jersey on April 27, 1861.
Fourth Regiment--Militia, was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr.,
serving under him were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R. Stroud and Major
Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at
Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the
state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned
officers and 743 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777.
On the evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th it was
ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a few days the
entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was honored
by a visit from the president, who warmly complimented the
appearance of the troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the
2nd and 3d regiments and about midnight took up the line of march
in silence for the bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was
crossed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted
at Roach's spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the
road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for a section
of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important to
hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge; still
another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of the
regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to
Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th
returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861.
The total strength of the regiment was 783, and it lost by
discharge 6, by promotion 2, by death 2 and by desertion 7,
mustered out, 766.
J. Kelley Brown was among those who mustered out with Company G,
Fourth Infantry Regiment New Jersey on July 31, 1861 at Trenton,
men who served with Company G, Fourth New Jersey became members of the Camden Fire
Department after it was founded in 1869, including William
Mines, Benjamin Cavanaugh, Henry F.
Surault, Edward Mead, William
M. Lane, and William
Gleason. Other Fourth Infantry men who served
A. Zimmerman, Charles
G. Zimmerman, William
C. Lee, George B. Anderson, Jesse
H.H. Clark, Cornelius
M. Brown, John
J. Brown, Benjamin
Connelly, and G.
Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played
significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.
Kelley Brown re-enlisted as a Major with the 25th New Jersey Infantry, a
9-months regiment, on September 24, 1862, and received his commission
two days later.
Twenty-fifth New Jersey Infantry was led by Colonel Andrew Derrom,
assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Enoch J. Ayres and Major John Kelley
Brown. Among the 9-months regiments sent to the field from New
Jersey, few performed more signal service or made a finer record
than the 25th. The regiment, composed about equally of citizens of
the northern and southern sections of the state, was fortunate in
securing as its commander a man of thorough soldierly
combined with great energy and force of character, whose heart was in
the work in which he was engaged, and who, enjoying the entire
confidence of his command, was able to make it, in the
highest degree, useful and efficient. Moreover, the men composing
the regiment were of the best class, whether as to intelligence or
personal physique, and adapted themselves readily and cheerfully to
all the requirements of the service.
regiment left its camp at Beverly on Oct. 10, 1862, and arrived at
Washington on the following day. Going into camp at Capitol Hill,
it was assigned to the 2nd brigade of Casey's
division, consisting of the 27th N. J., 12th and 13th Vermont, and 12th
Massachusetts Artillery, Colonel Derrom being placed in temporary
command of the brigade. Acquia creek was reached on December 8, the
regiment crossing the Potomac in transports from Liverpool Point, and on
the following day proceeding directly to Falmouth, where it was
assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d
division, 9th army corps. It took a conspicuous part in the battle
of Fredericksburg and met with a loss in the conflict of 9 killed,
58 wounded and 18 missing. It also participated in an engagement
near Suffolk in May, 1863, in which the behavior of the men was
most admirable, the loss of the regiment being 2 killed and 9
wounded. That was the last fight in which the 25th was engaged. On June
4 it was ordered to proceed to Portsmouth and take transportation
for New Jersey, and four
days later reached Camp Cadwallader at Beverly, where on June 20 it
was mustered out of the service. The total strength of the regiment
was 1,019, and it lost during its term of service,
by resignation 11, by discharge 92, by promotion 13, by transfer 3,
by death 57, by desertion 18, by dismissal 1, not accounted for 5,
mustered out, 819.
Brown was among those who mustered out with the 25th New Jersey regiment
on June 20, 1863 at Beverly, New Jersey. Among this he served with were
Privet Steven L. Thomas
and Sergeant Major Harry H.
Kelley Brown married Adeline Locke in
September of 1863. The July 1870
Census states that he was living in Camden's South Ward with his
wife Adaline and children Andrew, Mary and Florence. On March
31, of that year he had been elected president of the
newly-formed South Ward Republican Association.
the years before the Civil War J. Kelley Brown became active as a
volunteer firefighter with Independence Fire Company No. 1. George
Reeser Prowell wrote about the two companies in his History of
Camden County, New Jersey which was published in 1886.