top of page

William Warren

Researcher: Diantha Jones

          When war breaks out, few people usually realize the horrendous effects it will have on a nation, or the soldiers who so bravely fight in these wars. William Warren was a man who, like many others at the time, signed up to fight in the Civil War for the Union Army. Warren risked life and limb to serve his country and he survived to tell the tale. Though Warren would later move to Franklin, Massachusetts, Warren was living in New York when he signed up with the 38th New York Regiment Company E. On June 19th, 1861. Warren's regiment left for Washington D.C., where they stayed on duty in the defenses until July 16. Following this was the regiment's first battle at Bull Run in Virginia. There were 60,680 men involved in this battle and there were approximately 4,700 casualties in total. Warren fought under the command of Brigadier General Irvin McDowell for the Union Army, but unfortunately, the North lost this first battle. The Confederate Army was able to bring in reinforcements and broke the Union flank, leading the South to victory.

          After the Battle of Bull Run, Warren's regiment did not see major action again until the siege of Yorktown in April of 1862.  With his regiment now under the command of Major General McClellan, this siege would prove to be inconclusive for both sides, with neither a winner nor a loser. Besides these two battles, the 38th regiment would go on to fight in the battle of Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Oak Grove, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Groveton, Chantilly, and Fredericksburg. Besides these battles, however, the most famous ones for Warren's regiment would be the battle of Chancellorsville.

          The last and final battle Warren was involved in occurred April 30 1863; this was the battle of Chancellorsville. Now under the command of General Hooker, Warren and his regiment were a part of this battle in which General Lee of the Confederate Army was able to successfully outmaneuver the Union army during the battle. The federal line was broken at Chancellorsville by the Confederates and they again won. Today many historians remember this battle for two important reasons. One this is when "Stonewall" Jackson would be killed, a man who proved to be a key component of the Confederate army and who worked closely with General Lee. However, Chancellorsville is also important because it was fought soon after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued and showed the North that the South could still fight and win against the Union army. After Chancellorsville, Warren and the rest of the men in his company had successfully completed their service.

          By the time William Warren's term for service was completed, three officers and seventy-two soldiers from his regiment were killed in battle. In addition, thirty-nine soldiers and three officers died of disease. After the Civil War finally came to an end, Warren would continue to go on with his life, as so many other soldiers did. During the war he had married Catherine McCarthy, also from New York, and had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who was born on April 2, 1865. Working as an artist, Warren would continue to be a contributor to the good of society, moving to Franklin Massachusetts. Years after the war ended he would continue to do various jobs for the community such as working on the Franklin Public Schools and fixing broken ladders. William S. Warren was a man who fought in some of the key battles of the Civil War. His involvement and dedication to the Union Army is something that society could never truly repay him for. One can only hope that his story and his bravery in the Civil War, along with his life, will be remembered by our current generation and future generations as well.

bottom of page