Doddridge County Roots

A West Virginia Genealogy

William WILLIS

William WILLIS

Male 1841 - 1864  (~ 23 years)

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  • Name William WILLIS 
    Born CA 1841  Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Military Corpl, Co A, 14th W.Va. Infantry, Civil War (POW, died of disease)  [3, 4, 5
    • According to military records, William Willis enlisted as a Private in Co A, 14th W.Va. Infantry, at West Union on 4 August 1862, and he mustered for duty at Wheeling on 23 August 1862. Corporal William Willis of Co A, 14th W.Va. Infantry, was captured by the Confederates on January 2, 1864 at New Creek in Mineral County, where his unit was encamped. He was taken to Richmond, Va., where he died of disease (bronchitis) on March 14, 1864. A Company muster card says that he "Died while in the hands of the Rebels." He?s most likely buried at the Richmond National Cemetery.

      There is some discrepancy regarding the date of the skirmish in which William Willis was captured. A Doddridge County teacher and minister, Flavius Josephus Ashburn, maintained a detailed diary for several years, including the years of the Civil War. His brother Amaziah Ashburn was a soldier in Company A, 14th W.Va. Infantry, the same unit as William Willis. Regarding that skirmish, a diary entry in January 1864 stated as follows: "I received a letter from Amaziah on the 9th stating that on the 4th they, with others, were guarding a wagon train between New Creek and Petersburg and they were attacked by rebels and the train taken, but the guards escaped after fighting about thirty minutes."

      A more detailed account of the skirmish was contained in a newspaper article in "The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer," January 8, 1864:

      "THE TRAIN captured by the rebels the other day between New Creek and Petersburg was guarded by one hundred and fifty men?seventy-five from the 2d Maryland, fifty detailed from the 23d Illinois and 1st and 14th West Virginia, and about twenty-five from Captain Jarboe?s company, 10th West Virginia. The rebels rushed down from the hillside woods like an avalanche, and the escort fell back to an elevation and contested the possession of mules with what energy they could, but were finally compelled to yield to superior force, and a large proportion of them were doubtless captured. and are now on their way to Richmond. The 2d Marylanders were detained from each company of the regiment, and were under command of Lieutenants Pelton and Bickford. A part of them escaped and found their way through the mountains into camp. Lieut. Bickford came in safely. Lieut. Pelton is supposed to be amongst the captured.?One man of company H was killed.

      "After capturing the train the rebels marched upon the post at Williamsport, garrisoned by one company of the 23d Illinois; but the boys were awake, and retiring before the overwhelming numbers, sought the mountains, leaving many an empty saddle in the bottom. They flanked all the outposts of the enemy and arrived at New Creek a little the worse for a trip of thirty miles over the hills and through a blinding storm of wind and rain, but in good spirits.

      "The result of the rebel attack was the capture of a splendid transportation train and seventy-five men."
    Census 1850  Harrison Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Census 1860  Doddridge Co, (W)VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 14 Mar 1864  Richmond, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Cause: bronchitis 
    Person ID I98524  Doddridge County Roots
    Last Modified 7 May 2022 

    Father William WILLIS,   d. Bef Aug 1850 
    Mother Elizabeth BUMGARDNER,   b. 28 Jun 1819,   d. 14 Mar 1905  (Age 85 years) 
    Family ID F8427  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: bronchitis - 14 Mar 1864 - Richmond, VA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S242] 1850 Census, Harrison County, (W)VA.

    2. [S1890] 1860 Census, Doddridge County, (W)VA.

    3. [S37] Historical Military Records, (

    4. [S2605] U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database online], (National Park Service ,

    5. [S2619] U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles [database on-line], (