|Source: A Complete History of the Great Rebellion of the Civil War in the U.S. 1861-1865 with Biographical sketches of the Principal actors in the Great Drama. By Dr. James Moore, Published 1875
Transcribed by LINDA RODRIGUEZ, of Genealogy Trails
LIEUTENANT JOHN T. GREBLE, Born Jan. 19, 1834, was a native of Philadelphia , being educated at the celebrated High School of that city. He graduated with honor at West Point Military Academy , in 1854, received the rank of brevet second lieutenant, and was sent west to Florida , where he served two years in the war against the Seminole Indians. He was made first lieutenant in March, 1857, and afterward became an instructor at West Point . He was sent to Fortress Monroe in October, 1860, and there remained till May, 1861, when he was put in command of the artillery at the advanced post of Newport News . In the disastrous battle of Great Bethel, June 10th, 1861, he was in command of the artillery used on the occasion, consisting of two guns, which were worked by eleven artillerists of the Regular army. Lieutenant Greble was the first to ride up, and rectify the fatal error made by Duryea's zouaves and Colonel Townsend's regiment, of firing into each other, in the absence of signals, and during the prevailing darkness. A number were killed and wounded on both sides, and Greble, wrung with agony, declared that he had rather himself be shot than that such a fearful disaster should have happened. He had a presentiment that he would not survive the expedition on which the troops were sent, and was heard to say, "this is an ill-advised and badly arranged movement, no good will come from it; and as for myself, I shall not return from the battlefield alive." The words were prophetic, and this heroic young officer, by an early death, became the first martyr to the cause of his country from among the commanders of the regular army. The enemy were far superior in artillery, and many patriots were slain. With the most heroic courage, and the greatest precision, Greble worked his guns, and though left exposed from the irregular action of the troops, scorned to retreat till the bugle should sound the recall. He was struck on the right temple with a cannon ball, and instantly expired. His remains were rescued, and the guns recaptured. This lamented young officer was descended from illustrious Revolutionary sires, and will stand an example to American youth for ages. His amiable disposition, mental acquirements, attention to his duty, unflinching courage, and self-devotion, rank him with those worthies whose memory the country loves to cherish; and many an ardent patriot, stimulated by his example, like him, offered their lives at their country's shrine.