Joseph J. Badger was born in 1838 in Ohio, the son of John A. (b. 1797) and Amanda (b. 1799).
Connecticut native John married New Yorker Amanda and they eventually settled in New York. The family moved from New York to Pennsylvania where they were living by 1836, and between 1836 and 1838 moved to Ohio where they resided for some years. Sometime between 1843 and 1850 his father moved the family to Michigan and by 1850 Joseph was attending school and living on the family farm in Watertown, Clinton County. By 1860 his parents were still living on a farm in Watertown.
Joseph was 23 years old and probably still living in Clinton County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. By August 1 he was in the Regimental hospital suffering from inflammation of the lungs, but he eventually recovered and rejoined the Regiment and was reported present for duty from January of 1862 through mid-April when he was in a hospital near Yorktown suffering from “intermittent fever” (malaria).
On March 10, 1862, Joseph was court-martialed at the Johnson house, opposite General Heintzelman’s headquarters at Fort Lyon, Virginia, charged with refusing to obey orders. The court convened at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following charge: that Badger disobeyed orders. Specifically, it was alleged that while the regiment was located at Camp Michigan, Badger did
on or about the 10th day of February, 1862, about the hour of 8 o'clock, a.m., after having been ordered to go on guard by Sergeant Jerome B. Ten Eyck, Co. G Third Michigan Volunteers, he being in the lawful discharge of his duties, reply, that he would not go on guard for any God damn man, or words to that effect.” And, second, “that he the said Private Joseph J. Badger . . . did on or about the 10th day of February, 1862, about the hour of 8 o'clock a.m., after having been detailed for guard and duly notified by Sergeant Jerome B. Ten Eyck of Co. G, Third Michigan Volunteers, willfully refused to go to the guard-house first.
Joseph pled guilty to both specifications and charge and was found guilty. He was given a dishonorable discharge, dismissed from the service on April 30, 1862, forfeited all pay and allowances and confined to the penitentiary in Washington, DC for one year.
There is no further record and no pension record seems to be available.
He was probably the same Joseph J. Badger, born c. 1838 in Amherst, Ohio, who was living in Manlius, Lasalle County, Illinois, when he enlisted on December 14, 1863, in Company L, 15th Illinois Cavalry.
He stood 5’10’, with brown hair, gray eyes and a light complexion and was working as a farmer when he joined the regiment at Joliet, Illinois. He was transferred to Company M, 10th Illinois Cavalry at consolidation of the two regiments, and was reportedly sent to the hospital at Helena, Arkansas.
Joseph was mustered out on November 22, 1865 in Quincy, Illinois.
He married Ohio native Harriet A. (b. 1837), and by 1870 was working as a farmer in Jackson, Guthrie County, Iowa. By 1880 Joseph was still working as a farmer (he owned some $1000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife in Batson, Johnson County Arkansas. By 1900 he and his wife were living in Township 17, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory; also living with them were Edward Badger (b. 1878, presumably his son), Georgia Holland (b. 1884), Mary Ann Bodger (or Badger, b. 1896).
Joseph applied for and received a pension (cert. no. 69,650) for service in the Illinois Cavalry.
In 1905 Joseph was admitted as a widower to the National Military Home in Danville, Illinois. (He listed on Ed badger in Flint, Indian Territory as his nearest relative).
Joseph died in the NMH hospital in Danville on December 14, 1910, and was buried in Danville National Cemetery: section 6 no. 1374.