91st PA: William James Dorsey

William James Dorsey

Before the war

He was born in 1843/44 (2 (18 in 1862)). He was born in Ireland (7).

He was living in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, in the 1850's (7).

When he enlisted, he was a baker (2).


When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, had a light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair (2).

During the war

He enlisted and was mustered into service for three years on 7 January 1862, at Philadelphia Pennsylvania (1, 2, 11). He was enlisted and mustered in by Lieutenant Hall (2). He was a private, in company E (12).

He was detailed for duty in the ambulance corps on 12 September 1863, replacing George W. Keever (4).

On 30 December 1863, Sinex reported that he was one of 38 men who had less than fifteen months to serve who were unwilling to reenlist (5). On 2 January 1864, he was transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry, while those eligible were on veterans' leave (9).

On 15 April 1864, Lieutenant Colonel Sinex recommended him for a detail, in compliance with general order 18 (8 April 1864) from the Army Headquarters (6). He does not say what the detail was for.

In September (?) 1864, he was still detailed as an ambulance driver, and had been since 12 September 1863, when he was detailed by General Garrard (8).

He was mustered out on 7 January 1865, at a camp near Petersburg, Virginia, when his term expired (1, 2, 3, 10, 11). He was a private in company E (12).

After the war

After the war, he lived in Western Pennsylvania, mostly in Camden, Coal Valley, and Duquesne, which were all then in Mifflin Township, Pennsylvania (7). He was a businessman (7).

He belonged to Col. Sam Black Post #59, Grand Army of the Republic, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania (7). His first wife died, and he remarried (7).

On 27 January 1886, he successfully applied for a pension (11).

He again applied for a pension on 20 February 1907 (11).

He died in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on 16 August 1917, at the age of 76, several months after settling there (7, 11). He is buried in Allegheny Cemetery, in the Lawrenceville area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, along with with members of his first and second families (7).


Contact Irene at [email protected], who is researching him.


1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster)

2 company E descriptive roll, entry 102 (William Dorsey) [has his birthplace as Cambria County PA]

3 company E, register of men discharged, number 34 (William Dorsey)

4 special order 78, headquarters, 91st Pennsylvania Infantry, 12 September 1863

5 letter, Sinex to Marvin, 30 December 1863

6 letter, Sinex to Marvin, 15 April 1864

7 e-mail messages, Irene, 16 September 2001 and 17 October 2001 [birthplace Ireland; lived in Cambria County]

8 [list of detailed men, probably from Sept 1864] (William Dorsey)

9 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 2 January 1864 (Dorsey)

10 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 8 January 1865 (Privt Dorsey)

11 pension index, by regiment, 91st PA Infantry, company E (William Dorsey)

12 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (William Dorsey)

Sources checked unsuccessfully

pension index by name
Ancestry index (accessed January 2007)
read through all 'William Dorsey' entries and through retakes at beginning of file, and 'Dorsay' and 'Dorsy' (accessed 28 Dec 13)


William Dorsey in the 91st PA database

index to compiled service records

[index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania]
[transcribed 28 Mar 2014, from Fold3]

Dorsey William
Co. E, 91 Pennsylvania Inf.
Pvt | Pvt
See also [blank]


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revised 29 Mar 14
contact Harry Ide at [email protected] with comments or questions