Tombstone of John Edmunds Brown
John Edmunds Brown was born on August 30, 1830 in Caswell County, North Carolina. Following college, he became an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. He married Laura Morrison, the sister of Stonewall Jackson's second wife. When the Civil War began, he was made lieutenant in the 7th North Carolina Infantry and was promoted to adjutant three months later.
In April of 1862, he became lieutenant colonel of the 42nd North Carolina Infantry. He would be promoted to colonel of the regiment in January of 1864. The 42nd North Carolina spent most of this time in service near Wilmington, North Carolina. They saw action at Cold Harbor and in the battles around Petersburg. On May 20, 1864, at the Battle of Bermuda Hundred, he was shot in the head. He was left on the field for dead, but his body servant Dave Brown (a colored man) went onto the field to retrieve his body and found him alive. Colonel Brown would never forget his body servant for saving him and he supported Dave for the rest of his life.
Following the war, he again practiced law in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was eventually elected to the state legislature, serving one term. The head wound seemed to have affected him for the remainder of his life. On January 28, 1896, Colonel Brown sat at the desk in his law office and put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He would linger in his office, never regaining consciousness until 8:40 the next morning when he died.
An autopsy was performed and it was found the bullet had entered two inches behind the right ear and passing downward had stopped an inch from the opposite side of the skull. The surgeons found his brain had grown to the coverings of the skull, a probable result of his being shot in the head in Virginia in 1864. Brown was then buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, North Carolina.
His obituary called him "a good soldier. He knew no fear, and never flinched when danger was nigh." He was just another example of a man who survived the war, but in the end, died as a result of that horrible war.