L. WILLIAMS NEGRO, Co. B, 24th Texas Cavalry


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

We know very little about L. Williams. His name is on only one muster roll, the roll taken by the Union prison authorities at Camp Butler, Illinois.

The text of the extract of this roll is as follows, with italics representing handwriting:

24 Cav Texas
L. Williams
Co. B 24 Texas Cavalry

Appears on a
Roll of Prisoners of War
received at Camp Butler, Ill., Jan. 31, 1863
Roll dated Not dated
Where captured (left blank)
When captured (left blank)
Remarks: Negro Liberated

At the bottom is the following printed text:

Roll bears the following endorsement, “Received City Point,
Virginia, April 15, recd from Jas K. Mulford Capt. 2nd Infty N. Y. V
Comdg. ‘Flag of Truce.’ (On the within rolls) Eight hundred &
Eighty three Confederate Prisoners of War paroled for Ex-
change and Two Surgeons.

J. H. Thompson Capt. Comdg. Post. ”

A copy of a similar roll, that of Negro Alexander, may be viewed here.

I interpret this to mean that L. Williams and the five other “Negroes” had been freed at Camp Butler, and that only their names were on the rolls that accompanied the other Confederates when they were sent to Virginia to be exchanged in April.

We have few clues about the identity of L. Williams. We can guess that he was the body servant of one of the members of Company B., either owned or hired.

Whether L. made it home to his family in Montgomery County, Texas, is not known. A check of the Williams families of Montgomery County in 1870 has uncovered one Williams family that might possibly be the right family. This Williams family lived as next-door neighbors to Matilda, the widow of Peter B. Irvine.

In this Williams family is a son named “Elm.” Even though Elm would have been quite young at the time of the battle of Arkansas Post, it is known that there were a number of young boys who served as body servants during the Civil War.

It can be theorized that when Elm gave his first name to the Union authorities, they misunderstood his Texas accent and wrote, “L.”

The logistics of a ten-year-old making his way home from Illinois in the middle of the winter must be considered. On the other hand, he may have been older; the ages on census records can be several years off, especially among the black community, most of whom had little idea of their birth dates in those early years.

Passed down in the Peter B. Irvine family is the story of Minerva sending a servant with a wagon to retrieve Peter’s body from Arkansas Post. Was that servant a member of the Williams family? The 1860 slave schedules show Peter owning no slaves, so this idea does not seem to pan out.

We hope that a descendant of L. Williams will write us and give us more information on him.

The foregoing was compiled from census records, and from the Compiled Service Records, which are housed in the National Archives and which were accessed on microfilm at the Confederate Research Center at Hillsboro, Texas.

For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at fjohnson@wt.net.

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
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