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Civil War Soldiers - Williamson
|Williamson, James A.,
brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in the state of Kentucky, but
in early life removed to Iowa and was residing there at the outbreak
of the Civil war. On Aug. 8, 1861, he was appointed first lieutenant
in the 4th Ia. infantry, afterward being made adjutant, and with that
regiment proceeded to St. Louis, thence to Rolla, Mo., where the
command remained until Jan., 1862, making an expedition to Licking,
Texas county, where it dispersed a body of the enemy and captured a
number of cattle, horses and mules. In January the regiment left Rolla
for the purpose of giving battle to Price, then at Springfield, at
which place a skirmish occurred on the evening of Feb. 12, but the
enemy left during the night without offering battle. At Pea ridge the
regiment won high praise for its valor. On April 4, 1862, Adjt.
Williamson was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, and the following day
led his regiment to Batesville, Ark., thence toward Little Rock, but
was compelled to return on account of the shortage of supplies. In
June he was at Jacksonport with his men in a half- starved condition,
they having lived on such scanty supplies as they could pick up in the
country, and to escape actual starvation they marched 100 miles to
Clarendon only to find the troops and supplies gone, which compelled
them to march to Helena. While at this point, July 21, 1862, Col.
Williamson was commissioned colonel and with his regiment engaged in
several minor expeditions and brought in quantities of cotton, horses
and supplies. In December he proceeded to Vicksburg with Sherman's
army to join Grant's advance on that place, and was in the disastrous
attack on Chickasaw bluffs, where his regiment moved without support
upon an open point, carried the first line of works and held them
under a murderous fire while waiting for help that never came, Col.
Williamson being wounded several times. In Jan., 1863, the regiment
went into camp in the swamp below Vicksburg and spent two whole months
there, then moved to Greenville, the enemy being met and driven
several times and large quantities of supplies were picked up. Col.
Williamson then returned with his command to Milliken's bend, took
part in the movement on Jackson, his being one of the first regiments
to enter that place, and he then returned to Vicksburg and was engaged
at Haynes' bluff. In the siege of Vicksburg he was almost constantly
under fire, and he took part in the siege of Jackson and accompanied
the pursuit of Johnston as far as Brandon. With his regiment he then
went into camp near the Big Black river, where he remained until the
middle of September, when he embarked for Memphis, moved thence to
Corinth and marched to Iuka, from which point he was ordered to
Cherokee Station, Ala., where he was in repeated engagements with the
enemy until October. He then joined Sherman's army at Eastport and
proceeded to Chattanooga, where he arrived on Nov. 23 and took
position with Hooker at Lookout mountain. On the morning of the 25th
he moved to Rossville with his own and two other regiments, turned the
enemy's left and took a strategic position, from which he took part in
the battle that followed. He was engaged at Ringgold, where he held an
important position against heavy odds and saved two railroad bridges.
He then moved to Bridgeport, Ala., and from there to Woodville, where
his regiment went into camp. In May, 1864, he joined in the Atlanta
campaign and was in nearly every battle and skirmish of that movement.
At Atlanta on July 22, the brigade to which he was attached made a
gallant charge with other regiments, retaking De Gress' famous battery
of 20-pounder Parrott guns, the skirmishers of his regiment being the
first to reach it. On Jan. 13, 1865, Col. Williams was commissioned
brigadier-general of volunteers, having been given that rank by brevet
on Dec. 19, 1864, for gallantry and good conduct in the campaigns
against Vicksburg, Chattanooga and Atlanta, and he was brevetted
major-general of volunteers on March 13, 1865, for gallant conduct
during the war. On Aug. 24, 1865, he was honorably mustered out of the
service, and on Jan. 17, 1895, he was awarded a medal of honor for
having led his regiment at Chickasaw bluffs against a superior force
strongly intrenched and holding his ground when all support had been
withdrawn. Gen. Williamson died Sept. 7, 1902.
Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal
States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908