The son of Irish immigrants who moved to Boston, John Mahoney adopted the alias William Jones when he enlisted in the army in 1861. He joined Battery B of the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery and saw action at battles such as Ball’s Bluff and Fredericksburg. In the artillery barrage that preceded Pickett’s Charge, Jones was decapitated by a Confederate shell.
Richard Townsend’s first military experience was provost duty in Washington City with the 10th New Jersey. He joined Company C of the 12th New Jersey just days before the Battle of Chancellorsville—his trial by fire. The regiment fought hard at the Bliss Barn in July 1863, but it was during the repulse of Pickett’s Charge that Townsend went down. In his absence, his young wife struggled to support a son who would never know his father.