James Henry Pooley was born in Northamptonshire, England in 1810. He was educated in England and received a licentiate’s diploma for the practice of medicine. He married and had five children before immigrating with his family to the United States in the mid-1840s. They settled at Dobbs Ferry, in Westchester County, New York, where he worked as a general practitioner and obstetrician.
During the Civil War, Dr. Pooley was appointed an Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army on August 5, 1861. He initially served on hospital duty in Washington, D.C. until November, and was assigned to the 6th U.S. Cavalry in December. He served with the regiment throughout the Peninsula campaign, and was assigned to duties at Fortress Monroe in July and August 1862.
When the army evacuated the peninsula, Dr. Pooley was assigned to the Convalescent Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia for the remainder of the year. He served with the Light Battery, 5th U.S. Artillery in the IX Corps, Army of the Potomac until April 27, 1863, when he resigned his commission.
Dr. Pooley returned to New York and resumed his practice. His two oldest sons followed him into the practice of medicine. His eldest son, James H. Pooley, Jr., was a professor at the Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio and later the Dean of Faculty of the Toledo Medical College. His second son, Thomas R. Pooley, was a professor of ophthalmology at the New York Polyclinic and surgeon in chief of the New Amsterdam Eye and Ear Hospital.
Dr. Pooley was described in his obituary as a “man of engaging manners and a fluent and eloquent public speaker.” He retired from his practice in 1880, and returned to England shortly after the death of his wife Anna in 1885. He died on June 3, 1890 in Birkenhead, England, and is buried next to his wife in a cemetery near Liverpool.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 797.
Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume I (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1873), pg 105.
Muster Rolls, 6th U.S. Cavalry, NARA, M744
New York Times, June 4, 1890, obituaries
This is my 3x great grandfather. This information is not entirely correct. JHP Senior arrived in New York May 14, 1844. His wife and five children arrived June 24, 1845. They finally settled in Dobbs Ferry and built a mansion around 1850 at 19 Livingston St. Unfortunately the home was torn down just last year, April 2012. JHP Senior was definitely a well known physician in the Dobbs Ferry area. He was also the first President of the Village of Dobbs Ferry, was a member of both the school board and bank board. He was also an “elder” at the South Presbyterian church in Dobb’s Ferry. He retired around 1880. His wife moved back to England around 1884 and JHP Senior went to NYC to live with his 2nd oldest son Dr. Thomas Rickett Pooley for a while. Unfortunately JHP’s wife died in England before he could get back there. He did ultimately return to England around 1885 where he resided with his youngest daughter and her family until his death in 1890. There is no records of JHP Senior in the Civil War.
The discrepancy lies in that back then they did not always use Jr. or Sr. to delineate themselves. However, we have copies of the handwritten appointment letters from the war, one of which in particular is of James Henry Pooley JUNIOR writing to accept his appointment as assistant surgeon in 1861. This letter confirms Junior’s date of birth and the age at which he came to America, confirming that the above mentioned data on JHP Senior’s involvement in the Civil War was actually that of JHP Junior.
Thank you very much for clearing that up, I can see where I went astray in my research. Armed with your comments, I was also able to locate the letter that you mention in his letters to the Adjutant General’s Office in the National Archives. I was also able to find his letter of resignation in 1863, if you’re interested in a digital copy.
That would actually be wonderful if you could share that, I haven’t been able to find that letter.
I found a few relevant documents in addition to the letter, sent them via your email this morning. Unfortunately they weren’t available when we researched the book. I’ll ensure the corrections are included if we’re fortunate enough to get a second edition.