: This image is a carte des visite photograph of General Alpheus Starkey Williams (1810-1878), who was a military leader during the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. This card photograph is among the images in the William T. Sherman Photograph Album. Williams served under General Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign and in the March to the Sea.
Alpheus Starkey Williams was born in Deep River, Connecticut. Both parents died by the time he was 17 but left him an estate that allowed him to graduate from Yale College in 1831and then to study law. He moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1836 and was admitted to the bar in 1837. In addition to practicing law, he was a probate judge, publisher of the “Detroit Advertiser,” and a member of the board of education.
He enlisted in the local militia, the Brady Guards, rising from the rank of private in 1838 to becoming major general in the Michigan Militia within 20 years. From 1847 to July 1848, he served as a lieutenant colonel in the First Michigan Infantry during the Mexican-American War. He returned to Detroit and worked as city’s postmaster from 1849 to 1853.
In 1855 the Brady Guard became the Detroit Light Guard and Williams its captain and leader. By 1859 the unit had expanded into a battalion of two companies, and Williams had achieved the rank of major.
In spring 1861 he was commissioned a brigadier general of Michigan Volunteers and of United States Volunteers. He commanded troops that fought in the Shenandoah Valley against Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s men; in the Battle of Antietam, the Battle of Resaca, and on Brenner’s Hill during the Battle of Gettysburg. During the General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, Williams commanded the First Division, XX Corps. In November 1864 Williams became commander of XX Corps, the first troops to enter Savannah, Georgia. In January 1865 he was brevetted the rank of major general.
His fatherly concern for his men earned him the nickname “Pap.”
Williams left the military in January 1866 and launched an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. In fall 1866, President Andrew Johnson appointed him Minister Resident to El Salvador, a post he held until 1869. Williams ran successfully for Congress in 1874 and 1876, and as a U.S. Representative worked hard on behalf of military veterans.
He died December 21, 1878, and was buried in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery.
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: AL04361 Subjects
: Williams, Alpheus S. (Alpheus Starkey), 1810-1878; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Atlanta Campaign, 1864; Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891; Sherman's March to the Sea Places
: General Alpheus Starkey Williams photograph