William enlisted as a private in Company A of the Phillips Legion's Cavalry Battalion on March 1st, 1862 at Gainesville, Georgia. The compiled service records for the cavalry battalion are incomplete with 1862 and most of 1863's records missing so we know little of William during these years of his service. A muster roll done at the end of 1863 shows him as "present" and notes that he is only being paid for his horse for the months of May, June and July. This could well indicate that he lost his horse during the Gettyburg campaign and had not been able to procure a replacement. A roll for January/February 1864 indicates that he had been detailed to return to Georgia to procure a horse on February 4th, 1864. The April roll shows him as "present" so he was successful in obtaining a horse and had rejoined his command. Federal POW records show that William was captured on May 12th, 1864 at or near Spotsylvania Court House and sent to Belle Plain, Va. to be forwarded on to the Federal prison at Point Lookout. He then is transferred to the Federal prison at Elmira, New York on August 8th, 1864, arriving there on August 12th. William soon contracted pneumonia and died at Elmira November 16th, 1864 at 35 years of age. He is buried there at Woodlawn Cemetery in grave #956.
William's descendant, Mr Mike Couch, visited the grave on August 4th, 1997 with his family. As far as he knows, this marked the first time that any of the family had visited William's grave. They left a framed photo of William at the cemetery in hopes that it will be kept there for any future descendants who may visit the grave. As a tribute, Mike placed a cotton boll and spread Georgia "red clay" over the grave so that William might rest underneath the soil for which he fought and died.
Texans in the Civil War