Maj Joseph W Latimer (1869)

9 December 2019

Joseph White Latimer, Virginia Military Institute Class of ’63, was a drill instructor in Richmond at the start of the war and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in his cousin A.R. Courtney’s battery in September 1861, barely 18 years old. He became their Captain when Courtney was promoted to Major and battalion command in July 1862.

He commanded the battery in Maryland in September and was promoted to Major in May 1863, but was mortally wounded and lost his left arm at Gettysburg. He died in Harrisonburg, VA on 1 August 1863, not yet 20 years old.

The portrait of him above – with symbolic empty sleeve – was painted in 1869 by William D Washington and is at the Preston Library, VMI, Lexington, VA. It may have been based on a photograph like the one below, of unknown provenance, apparently in his VMI uniform. It’s among his records online from fold3.

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