Grand Army of the Republic
John S. Kountz, the 13th Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, was born in Maumee, Ohio, March 25, 1846. At the age of 15, both parents being dead, he tried to enlist, but was too young, although his appeals were so earnest he was permitted to enlist as a drummer boy on September 30, 1861, in the 37th Ohio Volunteers. He served as a musician for over two years. In the assault on Tunnel hill, he refused to go to the rear with the musicians, but fell in with Company C and seized a gun of a fallen comrade, was shot and his right leg was shattered and it necessary to amputate it at the hip. This ended his days of service.
He returned to Toledo, Ohio, and worked in the treasurer's office and was elected treasurer of Lucas County, later going into the insurance and real estate business. He joined the GAR in 1866 as a charter member of Forsythe Post. He served as Department Commander of Ohio in 1881 and in 1884 was elected Commander-in-Chief, the first private soldier so honored. He was known as Johnnie Kountz, the Drummer Boy of Missionary Ridge, a poem being written about him. He passed away in Toledo, Ohio, June 14, 1909.
Final Journal of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1957. Compiled by Cora Gillis, Jamestown, New York, Past National President, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865, Inc. and last National Secretary of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Lorraine Orton, Past Department President
Woman's Relief Corps, Aux. to GAR
Camillus, New York
November 25, 1999