Williams, Thomas, 1815-1862

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Thomas Williams (1815-1862) was a career artillery officer ot the US Army.

Thomas Williams (1815-1862) was a career artillery officer of the regular US Army whose active, distinguished service was almost entirely on the frontiers of the Old Northwest, Florida, and the Far West until the last year of his life, during which he assumed general responsibilities as a brigadier commanding volunteer troops of combined arms. He died of a gunshot wound at age forty-seven in 1862 while leading his brigade in the Union Army's successful defense of Baton Rouge, Louisiana against a Confederate counterattack.

Williams was literally a child of the War of 1812, having been born in Albany, New York to which his family had temporarily revived in the wake of the British capture of Detroit, where his father had served as a senior officer of American militia troops. Thereafter Thomas Williams fought in every major American conflict preceding the Civil War, including Illinois' Black Hawk War (1832), in which he accompanied his father's Michigan troops as a teenaged private; the Second Seminole War (1835-1842); the Mexican War (1846-1848); and the Utah War (1857-1858). During the late 1850s, when Thomas Williams wrote most of the letters in this collection, he was a captain in the Fourth U.S. Artillery, the regiment in which he had served since graduating from the U.S. Military Academy two decades earlier, standing twelfth in the Class of 1837. In addition, he held the rank of major by brevet, reflecting his receipt of two brevet promotions for gallant and meritorious conduct during the Mexican War battles of Contereras, Churubsco, and Capultepec. During a portion of that conflict, Williams served as an aide to General Winfield Scott as well as a battery commander. In May 1861, with the outbreak of the Civil War, Williams was promoted to the substantive grade of major and transferred to the Fifth U.S. Artillery, a new regular regiment in which his son, Thomas Williams, Jr., simultaneously received a direct commission as a first lieutenant. Notwithstanding the senior Williams' appointment, four months later as a brigadier general for volunteers and his departure from the Fifth for greater command responsibilities, that regiment and his continuing rank as its major defined Williams' regular army status at the time of death. Note: Biographical sketch written by Bill MacKinnon of Santa Barbara. Sketch was received by David Whittaker 5 March 2009. Full sketch by MacKinnon is available in collection.

From the guide to the Thomas Williams correspondence, 1858-1859, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Philip Case Lockwood memorial collection of Civil War portraits and autographs, 1862-ca. 1886. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Folmer, Henry, 1901-. Military affairs : [collection] : 1818-1968 ;. History Colorado
referencedIn Battle of Baton Rouge fought on the 5th of August 1862, circa 1870-1940. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn United States. Army. Vouchers, 1852-1859. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Commandery of the State of Massachusetts Civil War collection, 1724-1933 (inclusive);, 1861-1912 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Paine, Halbert E. Halbert E. Paine papers, 1861-1915 (bulk 1861-1863). Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
creatorOf Williams, Thomas, 1815-1862. Letter, 1842. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Fitzgerald, Thomas, 1796-1855. Thomas Fitzgerald papers, 1836-1849 Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part III: The Civil War: The Union, 1804-1915. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Thomas Williams correspondence, 1858-1859 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn Risdon, Orange. Williams family papers, 1769-1862 Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Plimpton, Emory M., ca. 1827-ca. 1888. Letter, August 25, 1862. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
creatorOf Williams, Thomas, 1815-1862. Letters of Major Williams, Johnston's expedition, 1858-1859 / [transcribed by] Henri Folmer. McCracken Research Library - BBHC
creatorOf Williams, Thomas, 1815-1862,. Thomas Williams correspondence. Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Thomas, 1796-1855 person
associatedWith Folmer, Henry, 1901- person
associatedWith Lockwood, Philip Case, 1844-1897 person
associatedWith Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Massachusetts, collector. corporateBody
associatedWith Paine, Halbert E. person
associatedWith Plimpton, Emory M., ca. 1827-ca. 1888. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Utah Expedition (1857-1858) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Utah
Subject
Material Types
Utah Expedition, 1857-1858
Correspondence
Utah Expedition (1857-1858)--Sources
Mormons--history
Manuscripts, American
Occupation
Authors
Function

Person

Birth 1815-01-16

Death 1862-08-05

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