Capt. James G. Staley was from Monticello, IN when he enlisted 1/22/64 as a 1st Lt., into Co F. He was killed at Franklin on November 30th, 1864. The following is an account of his death. The 128th IN was positioned on the far left Union flank, in Stiles’ Brigade. They faced the onslaught of Scott’s and Featherston’s Confederate Brigades.
“… the 128th Indiana occupied breastworks near the extreme left of our line; that the enemy charged right up to and planted their colors on our works, and that their dead and dying which filled the ditches, sufficiently proved how bloody and disastrous was their repulse.
“When the assault was made, Captain Staley was standing up watching the enemy and directing the fire and the use of the bayonets of his men. Just then Captain Bissell, of the same regiment, was shot through the head and fell against Lieutenant Bliss, who, with the assistance of Captain Staley, laid him upon the ground and placed a blanket under his head. This had scarcely been done when some one called out ‘They are coming again,’ and all prepared to receive the enemy. As Captain Staley turned to the works, a minie ball struck him in the forehead, and he, too, fell into the arms of Lieutenant Bliss and died almost instantly. There was no time then to listen to parting words. A desperate hand-to-hand conflict was straining every nerve for the possession of the works. The deadly musket shot, the clash of arms as bayonet came to bayonet and sword to sword, the hurried breathing of the men through their shut teeth, their words of encouragement and mutterings of vengeance, with the thunders of the two pieces of artillery that flanked the company, combined to bring into heroic exercise every muscle of the body and every power of the mind.
“Darkness came on and still the fighting continued. Every man was needed to repulse the desperate assaults of the enemy. The body of Captain Staley was carried to the rear by the stretcher corps and buried in the same grave with that of Captain Bissell, near the large brick dwelling house on the hill south of Franklin. This statement was made by Lieutenant Bliss. The grave where the heroes slept was left unmarked, but to have done otherwise was impossible. Though we had repulsed the rebel army, it was determined to withdraw under cover of darkness, and at midnight we retreated across Harpeth river and abandoned the battlefield and Franklin to the enemy.”
Captain Staley’s remains were recovered and brought home, through the efforts of the Christian Commission arriving at Monticello on February 7, 1865, and on the 12th were reinterred with appropriate ceremonies.
A Standard History of White County Indiana by W. H. Hamelle 1915