Term: Guppey, Gen. Joshua J. (1820-1893)
b. Dover, New Hampshire, August 27, 1820
d. Portage, Wisconsin, December 8, 1893
Joshua Guppey is best known for his leadership during the Civil War, though he was also active in local politics in Portage, Wisconsin.
Lawyer and Judge
Joshua J. Guppey was born on August 27, 1820, in Dover, New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1843 and three years later was admitted to the New Hampshire bar. He soon came west to Wisconsin, opened a law office in Columbus, and became a probate judge in Columbia County in 1849.
From 1850-1858 he served as a county judge and from 1858-1861 he was superintendent of Portage schools. In 1862, he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress as a Democrat. After this loss, he became a Republican and remained associated with that party until his death.
In 1861, Judge Guppey was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 10th Wisconsin Infantry. His regiment left the state for Kentucky in November 1861 and spent the next six months skirmishing and destroying Confederate railroads.
On July 25, 1862, Guppey was promoted to colonel of the newly formed 23rd Infantry and returned to Madison to take command. The regiment was mustered in at Camp Randall in August 1862, and headed south the following month. Over the next nine months Guppey's regiment fought at the battles of Arkansas Post, Port Gibson, and Champion Hill, as well as in the assault on Vicksburg. During 1863, Col. Guppey, like many of his men, suffered badly from malaria or other illnesses. At times he gave his subordinates the command of the regiment.
On November 3, 1863, Guppey was wounded during a skirmish in Louisiana and gave up command for several months but rejoined his regiment in July 1864 at Baton Rouge. The next month he was promoted to general of the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division of the 19th U.S. Army Corps.
In spring 1865 he commanded the brigade during the campaign against Mobile, Alabama, including the Battle of Fort Blakely. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier general for his “gallant and meritorious services during the war.”
From 1866-1873, Guppey resumed his position as superintendent of schools in Portage, Wisconsin, and from 1866-1881 he served again as county judge. He was active in establishing a local company of the Wisconsin National Guard (Co. F, 3rd Infantry) which was named the Guppey Guard in his honor. In 1882, he retired and on December 8, 1893, he died in Portage, Wisconsin.
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View original documents related to Joshua Guppey
[Source: Portage Weekly Democrat, December 15, 1893; Proceedings, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, vol. 41: 18-19; History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin (Chicago, 1879).]