(1842 - 1862)
Home State: Ohio
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 8th Ohio Infantry
Known by Harper, he enlisted in Company K, 8th Ohio Infantry at age 20 on 25 June 1861. He was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major, then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, Company K on 26 April 1862.
On the Campaign
He was killed in action on 17 September 1862 at Antietam. Colonel Sawyer wrote Harper's father after the battle:
Lieutenant Horace H. Bill was in command of company K, of the 8th regiment, it’s captain being absent, sick, and most gallantly led his company upon the enemy, and fell early in the engagement, pierced with three balls—one in the head, one in the body, passing through his sword belt, and one in the leg. He was not conscious after this, but life was not entirely extinct until near night. I made every effort to have the body sent to the rear, and to procure a coffin for it, but this was impossible. Capt. James E. Gregg superintended his burial, on the field, and marked his grave, and has his memorandum book, and perhaps other things. He had no sword of his own yet, but wore Capt. Pierce’s (his Captain).
I can not refrain from mentioning to you the general esteem for Harper by all. With me he had always been a favorite. As Sergeant-Major, he was one of our field staff family for over a year, and his uniform good conduct, kind heart, cheerful spirits, and constant attention to his duties, won the affections of all. Since his promotion to the Lieutenancy he has been the only officer with his Company, the Captain being absent, sick, and there being no other lieutenant. During this period we have been in active service constantly; and, although he was assigned to a command in which he was comparatively a stranger yet he had won the good will of all his men. During this march it was the turn for his company to go on picket in face of the enemy’s pickets. He took his company forward, and when I visited them, found he had selected excellent positions and made the best possible use of his men.
References & notes
Basic information from State of Ohio1. Details from family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His photo from one posted by the Sandusky Library Archive on Sandusky History, source also of the letter from Colonel Sawyer to Harper's father after Antietam quoted above. His father Earl Bill, Jr. was Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Clerk of the Common Pleas Court, County Treasurer, and served in the Ohio State Senate (from Oakland Cemetery).
09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Oakland Cemetery, Sandusky, OH