Joseph B. Collins became a second lieutenant Fourth Infantry, in March, 1848,
and was promoted to first lieutenant in
July of 1853. He was promoted to captain in May of 1861. With the Fourth he was engaged at the Siege of Yorktown,
Virginia, and in the Battles of Gaines’ Mill, Malvern Hill, and Second Manassas, where he was wounded.
In June of 1862, Captain Collins was brevet major for gallant and distinguished
services at Battle of Gaines’ Mill. Later,
in August of 1862, he was brevet lieutenant colonel for gallant and distinguished services at the Battle of Second
Manassas. In 1863 he was assigned to mustering and disbursing duty at Boston, Massachusetts. Collins was promoted
to Major, Second Infantry, in January of 1865 and was Brevet Colonel in April of 1865, for gallant and distinguished services
during the War of the Rebellion. He was unassigned in 1869 and was discharged in January of 1871.