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By: Judy C. Ware
January 2009
Judy C. Ware

     John Daniel Imboden was born in 1823 near Staunton, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  He is best known for his Confederate service during the Civil War, but the only written correspondence currently known between him and Josiah William Ware was actually dated in 1859 – a few years prior to the outbreak of hostilities.  This letter refers to Imboden’s service in the Virginia State Militia, an organization in which Josiah also held a commission.

     John D. Imboden had no formal military training, but on November 28, 1859 he received a commission as Captain in the Staunton Artillery unit of the Virginia State Militia.  Prior to the Civil War, militia service was compulsory for all free Virginia males.  In fact, Josiah Ware had received his own commissioning as a Captain in 1824.  Both men served in the Artillery.  At the time of their written correspondence, however, Josiah had already been promoted to the rank of Colonel and Imboden had only been commissioned as a Captain for one month. GeneralJohnImboden.gif (90087 bytes)

     John Imboden studied at Washington College and although never completing his degree, he later taught at a school for the deaf, dumb, and blind.  He then attended law school and became a lawyer in Staunton before the war broke out.  After much service with the Confederate army, Imboden eventually achieved the rank of Brigadier General.  His actions in the Shenandoah region earned him the nickname of Defender of the Valley.

      After recovering from typhoid fever in late 1864, General J.D. Imboden continued his service to the South as an administrator of a Confederate prison in Aiken, South Carolina.  After the war ended, he went back to his career in law and also took up writing.  He died in 1895.

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