Joseph Depuy Davis
Born on Oct. 10, 1825, Allentown, Joseph Depuy Davis was the son of attorney Charles and Mrs. (Mdn. Unk.)Davis. The family moved to Reading, where Davis read law with his father; studied at Hoffman Law Institute, Philadelphia; and attended (one year) the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Class of ’46; classmates included Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan, and A.P. Hill. He returned to Reading where he joined the Berks bar before he enlisted as a private in the Mexican War, Co. I. 3rd Kentucky Inf.; then 2nd Lt., 11th U.S. Infantry: he saw action at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Jalapa, Puebla, Contreras, Cerubusco, and the surrender of Mexico City. Joseph returned to his practice before organizing, as Lt. Col., the 167th Regiment, PVI, nine-month service: served at Suffolk in the defense of Norfolk; the Black Water Campaign (Dismal Swamp) and Deserted House, January 30, 1863. Here, Davis’s regiment faced a heavy, night assault by Confederate artillery. During the action, 167th’s commanding officer, Col. Knoderer, was killed. On March 19, 1863, Davis received a promotion to Colonel and regimental commander. Falling back toward Suffolk, he encountered a siege by General Longstreet and a superior force of 40,000 soldiers. Davis executed an impressive defense of Suffolk; action on Seaboard & Roanoke RR; Holland House; Dix’s Peninsula Campaign; White House to Bottom’s Bridge; Baltimore Crossroads; to Washington DC; joined the pursuit of Lee with the 1st Army Corps from Maryland to the Rappahannock River and mustered out on August 12, 1863. After the war he resumed private practice; state Senate for two terms; county Democratic Convention Chair; solicitor for the Texas and Pacific Railroad in Marshall, Texas, 1874; returned to Reading in 1880 and practiced law. He married Mary Smith of Berks County, daughter of state Supreme Court Justice, George Smith. Senator Davis died, August 4, 1907.