Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - John Flynn

John Flynn

Representing: Union

Unit History

  • 5th US Infantry D

See full unit history

John  Flynn
Full Unit History

Organized: 1815
Mustered In: Inf. Not Avail.
Mustered Out: 2018 Still In Existence

Regimental History


The 5th United States Regular Infantry was founded in 1815 during the War of 1812. It also participated in the Mexican - American War between 1845 and 1847. 

In May, 1848 the 5th returned to the U.S. from Mexico. After that, it spent 1849-'50 in Arkansas and the neighboring Indian Territory, then replaced the 7th Infantry in Texas.

Early 1857 saw the 5th moved from Texas to south Florida where they spent several months skirmishing with Seminoles in the area around Ft. Meyers. The 5th left Florida that June for Ft. Laramie in modern-day Wyoming where they took part in the Buchanan administration's expedition against the Mormons. The unit stayed at Camp Floyd (later Ft. Crittenden) in the Great Salt Lake valley until the autumn of 1860 when it moved to New Mexico for operations against the Navajos." 

In the spring of 1861 the 5th was consolidated at Albuquerque, New Mexico Territory pursuant to moving it to the east, but the department commander persuaded Washington to leave the unit on the frontier. Thus the 5th was to spend the entire Civil War in New Mexico Territory.

In early 1862 a Confederate force from Texas invaded New Mexico. On 2/21 four companies of the 5th formed the Union rear guard following the Rebel victory at Valverde after which enemy forces occupied Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

On 3/28 two companies of the 5th captured a field piece at the Battle of Glorietta Pass. This battle was the beginning of the end of Confederate interference in New Mexico Territory.

The Rebels ultimately withdrew to San Antonio, TX. After this the 5th spent the rest of the war on frontier duty watching for another Confederate incursion which never materialized

Soldier History

Residence: Inf. Not Avail. Age: 32. yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 10/3/62 Peralta, N.M. Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: Inf. Not Avail
Mustered Out:  10/3/65 Ft. Sumner, N.M.
Highest Rank:  Pvt.

Family History



ED. NOTE: Although this is the computer age when data on events and individuals from our past is more plentiful than ever, life history information on John Flynn is almost nonexistent. There were likely many Irish-born John Flynns/Flinn around one hundred and fifty or more years ago. Further, what information is available is often conflicting. Still, here we go.......................

John Flynn, an American Civil War veteran is buried in the Orting Pierce Co., Washington's Soldiers' Home cemetery. He was reportedly born in Ireland to Irish parents. When he enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army in 1862 he reported that he was then 32 years of age. If this is correct information the year of his birth was 1830.  No other information is available pertaining to his birth family or when and why he came to America.

In 1892 Mr. Flynn put on a pension application that in 1847 in Ireland he had married one Mary Ann (or middle initial E.) Mulligan. In 1849, also in Ireland, she died. The couple had no living children. Whether this means he and she never had children or perhaps she and child had died during childbirth is not known. To further confuse matters, in 1898 John reported that he had never been married.

The first information on John Flynn in America comes from 11/28/56 when, in Boston, Massachusetts he enlisted in the U.S. Army. In January, 1857 he joined his regiment and company - Co. "C” 5th U.S. Army. Private Flynn was honorably discharged on 11/28/61 at Ft. Craig, NM.

On 10/3/62 John rejoined the army returning to the 5th and his old company. The only matters of note during the second enlistment were his being treated for illness in March and April, 1863, the latter month finding him sick at Ft. Marcy, NM. On this occasion he did not return to duty until June the 7th or 8th.

December 28, 1863 saw Private Flynn promoted in rank to corporal. March 19, 1964 saw Corporal Flynn reduced in rank to private. Private Flynn was mustered out of the service on 10/3/65 at Ft. Sumner, NM. The only notation made at that time was that while in the service his surname had also been borne on the rolls as Flinn.

Following the Civil War nothing more is heard of John Flynn until 1889 when John Flinn, a laborer shows up in Kittitas Co., Washington Territory. Is this our man? Probably yes, but we don't know for certain. 

On 11/20/90 then residing in Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA former Private Flynn began the application process to try to garner a U.S. Government disability pension based on ailments and physical conditions which he traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering. In this instance he claimed defective hearing, swelling of his feet and legs, head problems, eye problems and general age-related debility.

A year later on 12/19/91, the 5'6" Flynn 72 year old - the following May he would claim to be 68 years of age - then residing at 712 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, underwent a medical exam which found some superficial senility and some eye problems, but nothing of significance in terms of health issues. Whether or not the decision was made based on this exam, on 5/20/92 his claim was rejected, but then re-opened.

In mid-September of '92 then residing at 1108 Pacific in Tacoma it was noted the Mr. Flynn had not been able to do any substantial work for the preceding five years. While there was nothing major wrong with his health he was old, so he could do light work like sweeping out a building.

At the end of July, 1893 the government pension office determined Mr. Flynn was not significantly handicapped to be covered under the pension act of June, 1890. Shortly thereafter his claim was, again, rejected.

The Tacoma City Directory for 1893 noted Mr. Flynn's address as 1123 Tacoma Avenue. Another address from this period was a boarding house located at 811 Pacific Avenue.

During the opening months of 1894 John began collecting affidavits from those who had reportedly known him both during his time in the military and afterwards. One individual said he had known John Flynn  for six years and he was always feeble. Another claiming to have known him for five years said Flynn could no work because of being in the hospital. Finally, an affidavit from early '95 said the individual had known Flynn since 1864 when they were stationed together at Ft. Sumner. Flynn's hearing was defective even then. Further, Flynn had no bad habits.

On 11/19/94 - showing his address as 715 Pacific Ave in Tacoma - John Flynn was pensioned retro actively to 11/10/94 in the amount of $8 per month. But, his difficulties were not over yet. In April, 1895 the pension office began questioning the veracity of one of his affidavits.

In 1896 Mr. Flynn's stipend was upped to $12 per month. He was suffering from no major disease, but was deaf in both ears, had heart problems, vertigo and constipation. He was suffering from old age................

In August, 1898 came another government challenge. His age at the time of enlistment in 1856 was requested. When he said 26 years, he was told if that were the case, he had been born in 1830 and was not 65 years of age at the time of his 5/20/92 filing. John’s pension stipend was  terminated on 2/12/89.

 John Flynn died 9/20/98 in Tacoma Pierce Co. WA. While it appears he had never resided in the state Soldiers' Home Orting facility, burial was/is in that facility's cemetery. Apparently not knowing Mr. Flynn had died, on 9/29/98 another of the two time U.S. veteran’s pending pension claims was rejected.


Buried at Washington Old Soldiers Home Cemetery Orting

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