John Dooley, SJ was born July 12, 1842 in Richmond, VA. He began studies at Georgetown College in 1856. During the time Dooley was at Georgetown,sectional feeling was on the rise; by 1858, in fact, he belonged to a Cadet company formed on campus by Southern students. He attained the rank of Second Lieutenant. Though still at Georgetown when war broke out, by early1862 he left the College in order to fight for the Confederacy. In August of 1862, Dooley enlisted as a private in D Company, First regiment, Virginia Infantry. (Dooley's father served in the same unit asC Company commander; towards the winter of 1862 he was made Acting commander of the unit.) Dooley saw considerable action during the war,having fought in the battles of Second Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg. Dooley was made a Captain in Kemper's Second Brigade of Pickett's Division at Gettysburg, where he participated in the Division's ill-fated assault against Hancock's line. It was during this action --known as Pickett's Charge -- that Dooley was wounded in the thigh. He was taken prisoner by the Union Army that night of July 3, 1863. As a prisoner of war, Dooley was sent to the Federal Prison on Johnson's Island near Sandusky, Ohio. Upon his release in 1865 Dooley returned to Georgetown College, where in September of that year he entered the Society of Jesus. He died at Georgetown on May 8, 1873, only nine months before his intended date of ordination. The John Dooley, SJ Papers contains some correspondence and manuscripts, as well as the journal Dooley kept during the time he was held as a prisoner of war. Parts of this journal were edited by Fr. Joseph T. Durkin, SJ, and published under the title 'John Dooley, Confederate Soldier: His War journal' (Georgetown University Press, 1945). A copy of this book can be found in the Dooley Papers.
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