Cpl. John J. Beaufort
USCIS New Orleans Field Office
The New Orleans District Office dedicates the New Orleans Field Office to Corporal John J. Beaufort, a Civil War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient. Born in Paris, France, around 1831, Beaufort (whose given name in French was Jean) eventually made his way to New Orleans. He enlisted in Company A, 2nd Louisiana Infantry, on Aug. 27, 1862.
Beaufort was serving with his unit at Port Hudson, Louisiana, when he volunteered to lead a team of eight soldiers into enemy territory. On May 20, 1863, they destroyed a signal station, greatly aiding in the operations against Port Hudson that followed. The siege of Port Hudson lasted 48 days, until Gen. Franklin Gardner surrendered the Confederate stronghold to Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks.
Just one week after his covert mission, Beaufort was shot in both legs. One of the wounds ruptured during the summer of 1864 while he was on duty aboard a transport ship. He was sent to the Invalid Corps. Beaufort was discharged by Surgeon’s Certificate on Nov. 9, 1864, due to a “hernia of gunshot wound of left leg.”
After his military service, Beaufort moved to Donaldsville in Ascension Parish. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the Civil District Court of New Orleans on Aug. 29, 1883. He moved to Washington, D.C., likely between 1892 and 1896, and worked as a shoemaker.
Beaufort received his Medal of Honor on July 20, 1897, 34 years after his act of bravery. He died two months later and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.