Letters of Richard Williams

Richard Williams age 24, enrolled, October 20, 1861, at Cooperstown, NY, to serve three years; mustered in as second lieutenant, Co. I, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, November 12, 1861; as first lieutenant, Co. E, July 26, 1862; killed in action, August 29, 1862, at Bull Run, Va. His body was buried on the field and later was removed and reintered in the National Cemetery at Arlington, Va. as one of the unknowns.

Commissioned second lieutenant, January 17, 1862, with rank from November 12, 1861, original; first lieutenant, August 28, 1862, with rank from July 25, 1862, vice J.H. Ballard discharged.

Mary Lions and William Williams were married at Philadelphia , Pa. May 26, 1839 by Rev. Sovin and at the time of Richard's enlistment the family consisted of Richard, his brother John C., born Dec 15, 1846, a member of 13 Pa. Cavalry (formerly the 113th Pa. Regiment) who died at Andersonville, Ga. a prisoner of war March 24,1 864; Mary, born June 17, 1854; David, born Feb 1, 1857; and Charles born Dec 28, 1848. Mary Williams is the step mother of Richard Williams. The family lived in Philadelphia, Pa. and William Williams was a grocer.

New York 
April 23, 1861

Mr. Wm Williams

Dear Sir

At the request of your Son Richard I write to inform you he has responded to his country call for men to defend the Capitol and Sustain the Government he listed in the 71 Reg of the NY State Militia company E and Sailed for Washington on the Baltic yesturday at 5 o'clock The 71 is considered next to if not quite equal to the favorite 7th which is now in Washington The 71 is camposed entirely of Native Americans they are all good men Richard could not (get) all of his out fit they could not get Coats enough for the new recruits but they will be sent in a few days some of this friends are getting him up a pair of handsome revolvers to send him tomorrow Dick went off in good spirits he has a young Docte who was tending here for a chum Homedike of Concord NY Yestarday was agreat day in NY Such an one as I never saw BM was full from 4th to the foot of Canale where the troops imbark I presume you will here from Richard when he gets to Washington he left his trunk with me in New York 

I T Allen 96 Houston St

New York, Jan 28, 1862

Dear Father You no doubt think me a very undutiful Son; Let I Trust, to explain everthing Satisfactorily. We expect to leave here Thursday, for Washington, expect we Shall come through Philadelphis. We are now encamped on Rikers Island, where we have been, Since we came from the Wester part of this State, which was a week ago Saturday noon. If we came by the way of Philadelphia I should like to see you all! Enquire for Lieut Wiliiams Co. I 76th Regt, N.Y. S. V.

Yours Truly Lieut. Richard Williams

(April 1862)

Yesterday, being our Regular Muster and Inspection Day we were drawn up in line fully equipped and the modus operandi, was performed by one of our General's Aids; previous to the Inspection, the Lt Col put the Regt through a few movements, for the edification of the Inspector; who I should think , was disgusted, instead of being edified. As the Lt Col made so many Bulls and Blunders, that he failed to gain the proper attention of the men. 

We are expecting news every day of a bloody fight at Yorktown, When certainly must be the severest contest, our army have or will meet with, as the rebels are well prepared for us, accoding to Reports and maps of their fortifications, which I have seen I should say that it will take a good deal more than one day to take it! Twill be a regular Siege, which will either prove the Superiourity, or inferiority , of Little General mac. I hope that he may succeed, beyond his utmost anticipations; for in my opinion he deserves to be covered with everlasting Glory, and have the foggers, who have dared to sully his name and reputation, with their foul mouths, should be spit upon and cast under foot, as we would trample the meanest of insects. 

I have not time to write you anymore at presnt except this scribbling. Remember me to all the Family and Friends, write soon, and direct as usual. 

I Remain as ever Your Affectionate Son, Richard Williams

Fort Massachusetts, May 1st /62

Dear Father

Yors of the twenty first came duly to hand; To which, I suppose, you think tis nearly time you had an answer; So do I! but as this is the first opportunity, I must not be censored for that, which I am not to blame. We have had a great deal of uncomfortable weather, since we have been here; a great deal of snow, more than they have had, anytime through the winter; but, I guess tis over now, as we are bein blessed with April weather, which is composed of warm rains, of which we are having an elegant Sufficiency; vegatation of all kinds, are Showing the benefits of them; my camp is Situated in rather a Romantic and Picturesque portion of the Country which, as nature addorned her Spring Garb appeard doubly more So; the Scenry Surrounding us, is pretty Splendid this is, Somewhat of a Peach Country, and the trees fo the different orchards, are now in full bloom, which naturally leads us, to anticipate a large crop of Peaches, this Season, if nothing happens to them; We are Situated in a Sandy and barren hill tis a very comforatble position, as the water runs off, immediately, andnot troubled with mud, in the Camp, although we are outside and along the Roads, quite sufficient, to Satisfy the most extravagant, on that score and youare doubly right, in thinking we are enjoying comforts here, to which the Army, before Yorktown, are Strangers to. It notwithstanding, we are disposed to eny therin and are not likely to have; as they have prospects of glories, that we have not, and are not likely to have; we all, naturally so desire, to have a chance of distinquishing ourselves; we came here, for the purpose of supporting, and fighting for the restoration, of this Glorious Union, and of course we are all, more, or less abitious for distinction; 

Our Colonel's difficulty, is now in a fair way for being Settled, Soon, to our pleasure; but then, of course we are to have a another Colonel, the principal difficulty of which, is gettin one to Suit, we are afraid of having Some wishe Politician appointed; we might have our Lt Col promoted but he is not competent; he is a laughing Stock for the men, which would never do for discipline, as they possess no respect for his commands, or orders; although, it would be advantageous to me, in one respect, as he provides me a better position, than I now occupy, if he became Colonel; but I would rather forego that flatering pleasure if we can get a more suitable and competent Commander which I trust may be our lot; We may then have a chance for Service, but not before this is Satisfacturely Settled, and our Regiment properly drilled and disciplined; which could Soon, be made the case, if the right man, gets hold of us. As all we lack, is Battalion movements and to assuming a little respectiblity.

N.Y. Nov 28, 1862

Mr. Williams

My Dear Sir,

Your very kind favor dated teh 20th reached here the following day, and I very much regret not having been able to answerit immediately on receipt, but circumstances not having allowed me so to do. I have herin obliged very reluctatly, to defer it till the present time. I am very sorry to hear of you not having received any reply fro Lieut Thompson, and I am also vary sorry to inform you that I know nothing about him not having heard anything of him since I last wrote you at that time I also wrote him a letter. Giving him the particulars as far as I knew them of our late lamented friends' death and also telling him that he would probably receive a letter from you (according to my suggestion) for the purpose of gaining some further information relative to the decease of your son to this letter we have received no reply as yet. 

When he last wrote us, he was very feeble indeed and scarcely able to use a pen, so that we fear the has had a relapse which may possibly have carried him off, we know not what else to infer from his protracted silence, one thing we do know, that had he been able, that is, alive and well he would have deemed it a priviledge, to favoring you. 

It must be a great sence of gratification to you Dear Sir, to know that your late son bore such an excellent character I know he must have been beloved by his fellow companions for no one could help admiring his upright and gentlemanly deportment he was a Son of whom any Father might be proud. It must also be consoling to you to have learned what information you have respecting his death and Oh! my dear Sir, what consolation, in the thought, that he has gone to that better land "where the wicked cease from trembling and the weary are at rest." 

I feel condidant of his having died happy, he always had a reverance for everything that was holy and I trust that in his last moments he recognized the voice of the Heavenly father, calling him to home on high. When, your Son started last February for the seat of War he carried with him a new trunk, and left his old one in charge of us as he had previously done. I was just about writing you of this when your lett arrived making the inquiry. The trunk is here just as poor Richard left it, and we will send it on to you as soon as we hear from you again. 

You ask us if your Son was indebted to us for anything? and I would say No Sir! he was not! at the time of his departure he owed me a very trifling sum, a sum scarcely worth mentioning, but on his first payment he sent it on and he then made use of the expression that he thanked God! he could again hold up his head, as his debts were about being all paid. God has taken him home and we can only say "Gods will be done". 

And now I must close. I shall always be happy to hear from you and anything further you may ascetain in regard to your Son's death I shall feel grateful to you for making me acquainted with, and with deep sympathy and paryers to God on your behalf for consolation in this thine hour of affliction. 

I remain Dear Sir, 
James W. Faulds 
No 2 Mingdon Square Corner Hudson and Bank Street

These letters were transcribed by B. Conrad Bush, 1940 Reading Road, West Falls, NY, 14170; e-mail Bushresear@aol.com; from original letters found at the National Archive, Washington, DC.


These letters were transcribed by B. Conrad Bush, 1940 Reading Road, West Falls, NY, 14170; e-mail Bushresear@aol.com; from original letters found at the National Archive, Washington, DC.  

Note: the following was found in the Official Reports - Richard Williams appears to have been listed on a Roll of Honor by, oddly enough, the Confederate AG's Office


Richmond, Va., October 3, 1863.

Difficulties in procuring the medals and badges of distinction having delayed their presentation by the President, as authorized by the act of Congress approved October 13, 1862, to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the armies of the Confederate States conspicuous for courage and good conduct on the field of battle, to avoid postponing the grateful recognition of their valor until it can be made in the enduring form provided by that act, it is ordered--

I. That the names of all those who have been, or may hereafter be, reported as worthy of this distinction be inscribed on a Roll of Honor, to be preserved in the office of the Adjutant and Inspector General for reference in all future time, for those who have deserved well of their country, as having best displayed their courage and devotion on the field of battle.

II. That the Roll of Honor, so far as now made up, be appended to this order and read at the head of every regiment in the service of the Confederate States at the first dress-parade after its receipt, and be published in at least one newspaper in each State.

III. The attention of the officers in charge is directed to General Orders No. 93, section No. 27, of the series of 1862, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, for the mode of selecting the non-commissioned officers and privates entitled to this distinction, and its execution is enjoined.

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By order:

Adjutant and Inspector General.


Richmond, Va., August 10, 1864.

I. The following Roll of Honor is published in accordance with Paragraph I, General Orders, No. 131, 1863. It will be read to every regiment in the service at the first dress-parade after its receipt.

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Names of Officers killed or who died of wounds, not mentioned in the formal reports. (+)


76th Infantry.--Lieut. Richard Williams, died of wounds received August 29 (1862).

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