John Higgins was born in 1838 in Warford or Waterford, Ireland.
John immigrated to the United States before the war broke out and eventually settled in central Michigan.
He stood 5’8” with blue eyes, black hair and a “fresh” complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer possibly living in Ingham County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) He allegedly deserted on July 24, 1861, at Arlington, Virginia. Frank Siverd of Company G wrote on August 1 that he was “none the less sorry for the honor of the company to state that [George] Sutherland and [John] Higgins have been reported to the authorities as deserters. They have not reported themselves since the battle, and yet are known to have been in the city.” But Higgins soon returned to the unit, and on August 7 Siverd wrote to the Lansing State Republican that “Higgins, who was a deserter, has returned to camp and gives a satisfactory account of himself.”
At some point, probably in 1862, John was taken sick and subsequently hospitalized in Washington, DC. He was discharged on November 23, 1862, at Union Hotel hospital, Washington, DC, for “varicose veins of the left leg” so severe that he “has not been able to perform duty for two months.”
On his discharge paper John gave Williamsburg, New York as his mailing address. It is however possible that he eventually returned to Michigan and may have reentered the service on March 15, 1864, in Company A, Third Michigan cavalry.
If indeed John joined the Third Michigan cavalry, according to one source he is buried in Grant County, Indiana.
No pension seems to be available.