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William White

Researcher: Frank May


          William White was born in Medway, Massachusetts on July 29, 1845. As an only child, He lived a normal childhood with his parents Nancy N. White, and Adam H. White. His father, Adam, supplied the family’s income with his boot-making job. William White continued to live in Medway until he came to the realization that he needed to support his country in the Civil War. William White was drawn into the Civil War, most likely due to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of November 1863. Only at the age of 18, William White enlisted in the Union army. He traveled many miles to join April 4th 1865 in Reedville Massachusetts. He was mustered in at Camp Meigs, a training camp for soldiers. That was where he learned to shoot a gun, and learned the basics of war. He was put into the 16th Light Artillery Independent Battery of Massachusetts. His service would extend from April 4, 1864 to July 13, 1865, a relatively short 1 year and 3 month service, although he proclaimed himself as being in the military for 3 years. After his training, he was sent out to Washington, D.C. His job was to protect his stationed fort.


          William was part of the bigger plan to prevent the Confederates from moving the war North. Jumping from Fort to Fort, William eventually ended up in Fort Kearney. He was brought in because of General Early’s attack on Washington. From July 11th to the 12th. William White was working under DeRussy’s division, the 22nd corps, an army corps mainly consisting of sharpshooters, and soldiers specializing in guns. Their training fended off Early’s attack, which prevented the confederates from taking over the capital. Although several units were inexperienced, the Union’s soldiers were able to win a key battle. If General Early was able to take over Washington DC, the Union’s approaching victory would be pushed even further into the future, and it might have been possible for other countries to support the Civil War on the confederate side. After the two-day battle, William White’s division was sent out around Virginia for the last few months of their campaign to keep protecting the North. He would eventually go to Fairfax, Vienna, and Station, Virginia forts. After the 15-month service, the 16th Light Artillery Independent Battery of Massachusetts was mustered out in Massachusetts on July 13th 1865. Although no one in William White’s division was shot or killed in battle, a total of 6 men died from diseases.


          Thirty-six years later, 1901, William White ended up with a respectable combined wealth of $1600. He took up his father’s job as a boot maker. He also married to Anna B. White. Although William White never died for his country, and he only served for fifteen months, he did what he felt was best for his country. William White followed his values and volunteered to become a soldier to preserve the Union.

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