His new duties as second in command was to secure the aft hatch, manning the seventh crank operating the aft pump, seacock and flywheel.
He was one of the most experienced seamen on board the Hunley.
His body and those of the others were not found until 1995.
During the Hunley's excavation, his body was found with a slouch hat, pencil and wooden pope. But the most interesting artifact found on his remains was an id for a Union soldier named Ezra Chamberlin who died at the Battle of Morris Island in 1863.
Best guess as to how it came into Ridgaway's possession was that he picked it up at some point when he was on picker duty at Morris Island. probably while he was assigned to the CSS Indian Chief. Four other members of the Hunley's crew had also been on that ship.
After the Hunley didn't return from its attack on the Housatonic, a friend of Ridgaway's from the Indian Chief, James Joiner, brought his personal possessions back to his family in Maryland and eventually married one of Ridgaway's four sisters.
Joseph Ridgaway and the other Hunley crew members are buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, S.C..