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About John Charles Black
John Charles Black (January 27, 1839 – August 17, 1915) was a Democratic U.S. Congressman and received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the American Civil War.
He was born in Lexington, Mississippi and moved to Danville, Illinois in 1847. His father was a minister of the Presbyterian Church. Black attended Wabash College until the outbreak of the Civil War.
He is Buried in Spring Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Danville Illinois. His grave can be found in block 12, lot 54.
On April 14, 1861, Black (like his brother, William P. Black) entered the Union Army as a private in the 11th Indiana Volunteers.
After three months of service, the brothers organized Company "K" of the 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. By the time of the Battle of Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862, John Black had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was commander of the 37th Illinois regiment. Black led his regiment against a fortified Confederate position during the battle. The unit suffered heavy casualties and was eventually forced to retreat. Black himself was seriously wounded. An 1896 review of numerous actions during the war resulted in John Black being awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Prairie Grove. Black's brother William also received the medal, making them the first of 5 pairs of brothers to both receive the Medal of Honor as of 2005.
Black had risen in four steps to full colonel by the storming on April 9, 1865, of Fort Blakeley, for which he was brevetted Brigadier General. He served in the military through August 15, 1865.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 37th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Prairie Grove, Ark., December 7, 1862. Entered service at: Danville, III. Born: January 27, 1839, Lexington, Holmes County, Miss. Date of issue: October 31, 1893.
Gallantly charged the position of the enemy at the head of his regiment, after 2 other regiments had been repulsed and driven down the hill, and captured a battery; was severely wounded.
Black practiced law and became the United States District Attorney at Chicago. Running as a Democrat, he was elected to the Fifty-third United States Congress, and served from 1893 to 1895.
In 1903/04, he was honored with the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans organization for Civil War veterans of the Union Army. Black served as president of the United States Civil Service Commission from 1904 to 1913.