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W.R. Steele

W.R. Steele

Federal (USV)


William Randolph Steele

(1842 - 1901)

Home State: Massachusetts

Command Billet: Divisional Ordnance Officer

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 2nd Division, II Corps

Before Antietam

He had 3-months service in Company A, 3rd Battalion Massachusetts Rifles April - June 1861. He stated he was a merchant living in Worcester when he enlisted as Quartermaster Sergeant of the 15th Infantry on 24 July 1861. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant (Company B) on August 1861. Sometime prior to Antietam he was detached to General Sedgwick's staff as Ordnance Officer.

On the Campaign

Of his service at Antietam, General Howard noted "Lieutenant Steele, division ordnance officer, stood by the general [Sedgwick, wounded] also, and, after the general left the field, was sent for the ammunition, which he brought up for distribution".

The rest of the War

He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 28 October 1862. He mustered out of the 15th Regiment as 1st Lieutenant of Company E on 28 July 1864. He was honored by brevet to Major US Volunteers in March 1865.

After the War

By 1870 he was in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, a practicing lawyer. In 1878 he was delegate to the 44th US Congress from the Territory of Wyoming. By 1890 he was living in Deadwood, South Dakota, being the Mayor in 1894. He died there in 1901.

References & notes

Basic information from Commonwealth of Massachusetts1. His photograph from a CDV sold in 2004 by Cowan's Auctions. Further personal details from Susan Harnwell's 15th Massachusetts genealogy.


07/24/1842; New York City, NY


11/30/1901; Deadwood, SD; burial in Mount Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood, SD


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 133  [AotW citation 5915]