William H BettsHome State: Alabama
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 13th Alabama Infantry
Before the Antietam Campaign:
A farmer from Macon County, he was Captain of the "Southern Stars", later Company B, 13th Alabama as of 19 July 1861. He was promoted to Major of the regiment 10 January 10, 1862, and Lieutenant Colonel on 11 June.
In the Antietam Campaign:
Early in the day on 17 September his regiment was posted in the Sunken Road in the center of the Confederate line. Later in the day he led a fragment of the command in the thin defense on Piper's Farm. His brigade commander said of that: "Subsequent to the action of the forenoon, portions of my brigade encountered the enemy in two desultory engagements, in which they stood before superior numbers and gave a check to their advance. In one of these a small party was placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel [W. H.] Betts, and directed to deploy as skirmishers along the crest of a hill upon which the enemy was advancing. They did so with good effect, keeping back a large force by their annoying fire and the apprehension, excited by their boldness, that they were supported by a line in rear."
(from Col Colquitt's report)
His Division commander, DH Hill described it this way: "About 30 men, under Lieutenant-Colonel [W. H.] Betts, Thirteenth Alabama, of my division, remained as supports to my division batteries, under Jones, [R. A.] Hardaway, and Bondurant. The Yankee columns were allowed to come within easy range, when a sudden storm of grape and canister drove them back in confusion. Betts' men must have given them a very hot fire, as Burnside reported that he had met three heavy columns on the hill. It is difficult to imagine how 30 men could so multiply themselves as to appear to the frightened Yankees to be three heavy columns."
(from Gen DH Hill's report)
By the end of the day, he had replaced the wounded Colonel Fry in command of the Regiment, and was himself wounded in action at Sharpsburg.
The remainder of the War:
He resigned his commission, due to disability, 14 January 1863.
References, Sources, and other notes:
Source: Summary service data from stevent, part of the Archer's Brigade website [site gone 2/2006].
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