Prominent Men of West Virginia
by George W. Atkinson and Alvaro F. Gibbens
(Wheeling: W. L. Callin, 1890)
One of West Virginia's Irish-American citizens is this veteran one-armed Union soldier, James A. Macauley, who was born in Ireland, November 8, 1840. In his infancy his parents removed with him to Glasgow, Scotland, but finally joined the throng of liberty-loving home-seekers and emigrated to the "Home of the Free," and in 1850 landed on its soil. The family settled first in Jefferson county, Ohio, but in 1854 removed to the city of Wheeling, Virginia, where the subject of our sketch has since resided, except the period spent in the civil or military service of his adopted country.
He received his education in the public schools of Jefferson County, Ohio, and Wheeling, Virginia, to which he has added valuable and useful acquisition by his own "midnight lamp" - all supplemented by a thorough course of law studies, from 1865 to 1868 - after he had come home from the war minus an arm, and was admitted to the Bar in 1868.
True to his Irish instincts, when his adopted Government called for her citizen soldiery to rise up for the preservation of the Union, he threw himself into the breach as a volunteer in Company E, First Virginia Volunteer Infantry, of which he was made sergeant. Those were three months' soldiers. At its expiration he re-enlisted in Company A, of the same regiment reorganized, and served faithfully under the stars and stripes until, in the fore-front of the hot Port Republic, June 9, 1862, he lost his left arm, and was taken prisoner; as a wounded prisoner, he suffered with his Union comrades at Richmond's Libby and Belle Isle, when he was paroled, sent home, and was soon after honorably discharged on account of his disability. He was subsequently clerk in the Wheeling postoffice, then filled a like position in the State Treasurer's office, and finally was elected State Treasurer for West Virginia. At the expiration of his term he was made Examiner in the United States Pension Bureau, where he is now employed as the head of one of its Divisions.
Government and Politics