Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CONYNGHAM, John Butler, soldier, born in 1827; died in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, 27 May, 1871. He was graduated at Yale in 1846, subsequently studied law, and practiced in Wilkesbarre and St. Louis. At the first call for troops in 1861 he volunteered in the three-months' service, and on his return joined the 52d Pennsylvania volunteers, of which he was appointed major on 5 November, 1861. He participated in the peninsular campaign of 1862, and in the winter of 1863 was sent with his regiment to Port Royal, South Carolina, was present at the naval..attack on Fort Sumter in April, 1863, and participated in the subsequent assault and siege operations against Fort Wagner. Upon the reduction of that fort, Majo Conyngham was placed in command of the defenses of Morris island. He was detailed by General Terry to make a night reconnoissance of Sumter, and subsequently engaged in the night assault on Fort Johnson, across Charleston harbor. In this assault he was captured and detained as prisoner for several months. While a prisoner at Charleston he was one of the number selected as hostages to be shot in case of a bombardment of the City by our forces. In November, 1863, he was promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy, and in March, 1865, to the colonelcy of his regiment. In March, 1867, Col. Conyngham was appointed captain in the 38th infantry, United States army, and transferred to the 24th infantry, November, 1869. In 1871 he was brevetted major and lieutenant colonel for gallant service in the field. During his term of service in the regular army he was mostly employed on the Indian frontier.
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