Joseph Godfrey was born on October 12th 1835 in Manassas, Virginia. He was the youngest of the Godfrey siblings. Much like his brother William, he had never gone to school, but was taught how to read and write at home. He lived and worked on his father's farm with the rest of his brothers. Jospeh had a way with horses and was an exceptional rider and caretaker. That experience would prove beneficial when the Civil War erupted and he rushed to fight for the Confederacy.
Joseph enlisted in 1862 and was assigned to the 49th Virginia Infantry with his brothers Chapman, Lewis, and William. It is unknown exactly when, but early on in his military career he had his arm shot off. Once he recovered he was reassigned to the 18th Virginia Calvary on Feburary 28th, 1863 due to his skills as a rider. Jospeh remained a part of the 18th Virginia Calvary for a few months before being reassigned to his final post: The 43rd Battalion, Virginia Calvary, better known as Mosby's Rangers.
Joseph's main job under Mosby's command was issuing orders and giving signals to the rest of the battalion as a bugler. Mosby's Rangers mainly operated in the northern section of the Shenandoah Valley. There they conducted hit-and-run tactics on supply depots, wagon trains, and generally harrasing and tying up Union forces in the area. They took what supplies they could from the Union, then scattering across the Valley and hiding in the homes of sympathetic civilians until the next raid. By the end of the war there were almost 2,000 men under Mosby's command. Joseph was sent home after Mosby disbanded the unit on April 21, 1865 when they had learned of General Lees' and Johnstons' surrender.
Joseph returned to his father's house in Prince William County alongside his brothers William and Chapman (Lewis had died in 1864). After his father passed away, Joseph lived with William who became the head of the house. Joseph never married after the war and in 1907 he died of pneumonia at the age of 71.