Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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Joseph S. Keen

Mr. Keen was born July 24, 1843 at Stanford-in-the-Vale, England. Joseph was a farmer by occupation and an officer of the Detroit Oak Belting Company.

Keen enlisted as a private, for three years, in Company D, 13th Michigan Infantry at Detroit on February 1, 1862. He was mustered in on February 27th. Joseph was twice promoted: to Corporal, August 31, 1862, and Sergeant on April 1, 1863.

Joseph was wounded and taken prisoner at Chickamauga, Georgia on September 20, 1863. He was confined in the Confederate prisons at Richmond, Danville and Andersonville. He escaped on September 10, 1864 at Macon, Georgia. Following the escape and during the period of his attempt to return to Union lines Keen observed the movement of General Hood’s forces (40,000 Confederate soldiers) crossing the Chatahoochee River to flank Sherman’s army in the rear. Keen boldly walked through the Confederate marching columns, camps and pickets. He reached Union lines near Atlanta on October 1, and reported to General Kirkpatrick.

Keen was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on July 31, 1899 for carrying and reporting information on enemy troop movements near the Chatahoochie River.

Joseph S. Keen died of heart disease on December 6, 1926.

Born: July 24, 1843
Died: December 6, 1926
Buried: Section 10, Lot 12