Brigadier-General William Terry, whose worthy record is identified with that of the Stonewall brigade, which he commanded in 1864 and 1865, was born in Amherst county, Va., August 4, 1824. He was educated at the university of Virginia and graduated in i848. The next three years he devoted to teaching and the study of law. After his admission to the bar in 1851, he made his home at Wytheville, and was engaged in the practice during the succeeding decade, also for a time editing the Wytheville Telegraph. He was lieutenant of the Wythe Grays at the time of the John Brown affair at Harper's Ferry, to which point he went with his company in 1859. In April, i86i, he was again at Harper's Ferry, and was assigned to the Fourth Virginia regiment, Jackson's brigade, as first lieutenant of his company. He participated in the brilliant service of his regiment at the first battle of Manassas, and in the spring of 1862 was promoted major, in which rank he served with credit on the fields of Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill. He was with Jackson's corps in the famous campaign against Pope, was wounded in the battle of Second Manassas, July 28th, and was mentioned for gallantry in the report of General Taliaferro. In the same rank he commanded the Fourth regiment in the battle of Fredericksburg, after the wounding of Colonel Gardner; also at Chancellorsville, where his command lost I40 men out of a total of 355; and at Gettysburg and Payne's Farm. Promotion rapidly followed, to colonel of the Fourth regiment to date from September, 1863, and to brigadier-general after the Wilderness and Spottsylvania campaign, in which he participated with credit. On May 2ist he was assigned to the command of a brigade formed from the survivors of the Stonewall brigade and the brigades of J. M. Jones and G. H. Steuart, who had escaped from the disaster of May 12th at the "bloody angle. " In this capacity he took part in the fighting on the Cold Harbor line, and the defense of Petersburg, and commanded his brigade during Early's campaign in the Shenandoah valley, participating in the defeat of the Federals at Shepherdstown August 25th, and fighting gallantly at Winchester, where he was one of the seven distinguished Confederate generals who fell killed or wounded. He returned with his brigade to the Petersburg lines, and on March 25, 1865, was again wounded while leading his command in the sortie of Gordon's corps against Fort Stedman. During the retreat of the army to Appomattox, he was at home disabled by wounds, but when the news of the surrender reached him, he mounted his horse, with indomitable courage, and started out to join the army in North Carolina. He subsequently resumed his law practice at Wytheville, and in i868 was nominated for Congress, but could not make the race on account of political disabilities. Upon the removal of these he was elected to the Forty-second and Forty-fourth Congresses. On September 5, 1888, he was drowned while attempting to ford a creek near his home. By his marriage to Emma, daughter of Beniamin Wigginton, of Bedford county, in 1852, there are four sons and three daughters, who survive.
Confederate Military History, Vol. III, pp. 673-674.
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