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Beatty was born near Sandusky, Ohio. He entered the banking business in Morrow County.
When the Civil War started Beatty volunteered as a private in the 3rd Ohio Infantry, serving in western Virginia. By 1863, he was commissioned as a brigadier general following his distinguished service in the Battle of Perryville, the Tullahoma Campaign and the Battle of Stones River. He took command of a brigade of infantry and led it through the rest of the war. Beatty participated in the Tullahoma Campaign, the Battle of Chickamauga, and the successful Union attack on Missionary Ridge during the Chattanooga Campaign..
Following the war, he represented Ohio in the U.S. Congress from 1868 to 1873.
Beatty was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky.
Beatty wrote The citizen-soldier, or, Memoirs of a volunteer, Cincinnati : Wilstach, Baldwin, 1879. The book has been reprinted more than once.
- "Prior to the Cvil War, John Beatty was a banker.
- Yet like many others, North & South,
- he swiftly demonstrated a capacity for war."
- Author Dave Powell
- Beatty, John, The Citizen Soldier, Time-Life Books reprint of 1879 edition. Reprinted in 2007 by Gardners Books. ISBN 9781406536980 1406536989
- Powell, Dave, Citizen Soldier: John Beatty and his Brigade at Chickamunga, North & South - The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, Volume 10, Number 1, Page 58.
- John Beatty (Ohio) at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-02-12
- John Beatty (Ohio) at Find a Grave Retrieved on 2008-02-12
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