He was born in 1833/34 (4 (27 in 1861)). He was born in Tyrone, Ireland (4).
He married Sarah Ann [unknown family name]. They had at least two children (11):
When he enlisted, he was a laborer (4).
When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 7-1/4 inches tall, and had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair (4).
He enlisted and was mustered into service on 29 August 1861 (1, 4, 5). He was enlisted for three years, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Captain McArthur (4, 5). He was a private in company C (1, 13, 14, 15).
He fought at the Battle of Gettysburg (8).
He was captured (1). He was apparently captured with Edward Shinkle (C), who had been given permission to fall to the rear of the regiment, because he was ill and the regimental ambulance was full (12). (Shinkle apparently died in captivity (12).)
He died on 13 July 1863 or perhaps 14 August at Richmond, Virginia, in prison (1 [13 Jul], 4, 6 [14 Aug]). He was shot the day he arrived at Belle Island, as he was obeying a guard's order to move away from the bank enclosing the prisoners (6, 7). According to Orwin H Balch (142nd NY), the guard was removed from duty for one day, but returned in two days (6).
On 23 February 1864, his widow, Sarah A Donnelly, applied successfully for a pension, under the act of 14 July 1862 (9, 10, 11). Her application was approved in January 1865; she initially received $8 per month (11).
Sarah Donnelly applied for an increase under the act of 25 July 1866. Her application was accepted in April 1867, and she received an extra $2 per month for each child less than sixteen years old, retroactive to 25 July 1866 (11).
On 25 May 1871, the guardian of his minor dependents, S A Conner (presumably his remarried widow Sarah Ann), applied successfully for a pension (9, 10).
1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster) (John Donnolly)
2 consolidated morning report, 91st PA, 8 March 1863 (Private Donnelly)
3 consolidated morning report, 91st PA, 1 November 1863 (Priv Donnily)
4 company C, descriptive roll, entry 28 (John Donnolly)
5 company C, untitled list, probably of status at muster out, entry 89 (John Donnelly)
7 Serial set volume 1391, 40th congress, 3rd session, session volume 4, House of Representatives Report No. 45, 'Report on the treatment of prisoners of war, by the rebel authorities during the war of the rebellion: to which are appended testimony taken by the committee, and official documents and statistics, etc. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1869), pages 900 and 1029
8 Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (John Donnelly)
9 pension index, by name (John Donnelly)
10 pension index, by regiment (John Donnelly)
11 widow's pension certificate file, National Archives and Records Administration, record group 15, widow's certificate 37,274, Sarah A Donnelly widow of John Donnelly (Sarah Ann widow of John Donnelly)
12 widow's pension certificate file, National Archives and Records Administration, record group 15, certificate number WC 111,870, Barbara Beveridge widow of Edward Shinkel (John Donnelly)
13 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (John Donnelly)
14 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (John Donelly)
15 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (John Donely)
ABEL JONES sworn.
By Mr. PILE:
Question. State your name, age, residence, and occupation.--Answer. Abel Jones; age, forty-five; residence, Woburn, Massachusetts; occupation, a blacksmith.. . .
Q. What was the character of your treatment by the guards and officers there [sc. at Belle Isle]?--A. I had no conversation with them. I saw a newly-arrived prisoner shot one day for standing on the bank. He had been there only a few hours, and did not know the rules about not going on there. He was hard of hearing, also, and the guard told him to move back, and just as he was in the act of turning around he drew up and fired and the ball passed through him. The same ball cut another man on the breast, and then took a third man in the head without hurting him much; thus killing one, badly wounding another, and scratching a third. The name of the man who was shot was John Donnelly, of the Ninety-first Pennsylvania volunteers. ...
By the CHAIRMAN:
Question. What is your name, age, residence, and occupation?--Answer. Dorence Atwater; twenty-three years; Washington, D.C.; clerk.
Q. Did you ever witness the shooting of any prisoners for approaching the dead-line? if so, state the circumstances of the same.--A. I have seen five men shot--three at Belle Isle and two at Andersonville. One of them (John Donnelly, Company C, Ninety-first Pennsylvania volunteers) was shot for sitting near the embankment of the camp, which constituted a barrier and dead-line: he was a new prisoner and just come in, and did not know it was against orders to sit there. The guard told him to get up, and as he did so he shot him. The second one was a sergeant in charge of a working squad, who was ordered by the rebel commandant to lay out some lines on the embankment, and as he walked up the bank the guard shot him. The third was a crazy man, who attempted to go out to the sinks at night, which was against orders. The first one at Andersonville was a crazy German, who saw a crust of corn bread inside of the dead-line, which the rebel guard had thrown there, evidently to entice one of us starving men to attempt to get it. He crawled to get it, but before he had reached the coveted prize he was shot by two guards. The fifth and last one I saw shot was an Illinois soldier, (nicknamed Chickamauga, on account of his losing one leg at that battle,) who went inside of the dead-line on purpose; the guard warned him he would shoot if he did not get out, when Chickamauga replied that was what he wanted, and the guard complied with his wishes. All of these men were instantly killed. A large number of men were shot by the guard, but never so reported at the chief surgeon's office.[widow's pension certificate file, National Archives and Records Administration, record group 15, widow's certificate 37,274, Sarah A Donnelly widow of John Donnelly]