WILLIAMS, Edward Charles, son of Charles and Rebecca (Adams) Williams, was born February 10, 1820, in the city of Philadelphia. His father was a native of Philadelphia; his mother, of Mount Holly, N. J., of Scotch parentage. The son was educated in the public schools of his native city, then organized under the old Lancasterian system. He learned the trade of a bookbinder with Jacob Snyder, completing it with Robert P. Desilver. He shortly after came to Harrisburg, where he established himself in business, firm of Clyde & Williams, bookbinders and stationers. For several years they did the State binding and also published several important works. In December, 1846, upon the call for volunteers for the war with Mexico, Mr. Williams raised a company called the Cameron Guards, which were accepted and formed a part of the Second Pennsylvania regiment. Previous to going to Mexico he had been connected several years with the old Dauphin Guards, one of the finest military organizations in the State, and was in service during the Philadelphia riots of 1844. Upon Captain Williamsí return from Mexico he was elected as an Independent, in 1850, to the office of sheriff of Dauphin county, serving the full term. When the Rebellion broke out and a demand was made for more troops, Governor Curtin sent for General Williams, who had been commissioned several years prior brigadier general of the Dauphin county militia, and at once directed the organization of Camp Curtin, full particulars of which will be found in "Dauphin County in the War for the Union." General Williams had the honor of being the first volunteer mustered into the service for the defense of the Union. After organizing Camp Curtin, he organized Camp Slifer, at Chambersburg. He commanded a brigade during the three mouths' service, was with Patterson in the Shenandoah and subsequently mustered out at Washington city. He was then appointed by President Lincoln, through Secretary of War Cameron, colonel of the Lochiel cavalry, directed to raise twenty-four companies of that branch of the service, which he accomplished in a very short time. It was difficult to handle three battalions of raw cavalry, but by hard work General Williams got his command into splendid discipline and drill. He went into camp at Jeffersonville, Ind., where he exchanged his Pennsylvania horses for good Kentucky stock. After inspection by General Buford, he was ordered to the front under General Buell. On reaching Green river, and when ready to cross the stream, General Williams was directed to take the advance, but the same evening the news of the capture of Fort Donelson obviating that movement, he was ordered back, and his command cut up and distributed over Kentucky and Tennessee. His own regiment, the Ninth cavalry, became very popular in that section with all classes of people, owing to their good discipline and behavior.
General Williams was at Henderson with his regiment when Buell and Bragg made their march into Kentucky, was ordered to Louisville without delay, and from thence to Crab Orchard, where he prevented Kirby Smith's cavalry from entering Kentucky at that point. His services in that campaign were indeed arduous. Owing, however, to a question of rank, in which not only he but the other officers in the volunteer service were concerned, he pre-emptorily resigned and returned to Pennsylvania. He was twice married; first, Jaimary 16, 1843, to Selina. daughter of John Heltzel, of Harrisburg; second, June 5, 1873, at Chapman, Pa., to Mrs. A. E. Hetzel.
Historical Review of Dauphin County
Transcribed by Becky Tuszynski firstname.lastname@example.org for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project - http://maley.net/transcription.
Date of Transcription: 30 Dec 2000
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