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W.H. Lessig

W.H. Lessig

Federal (USV)


William Henry Lessig

(1831 - 1910)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 96th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

He was a mining engineer before the War. He recruited a company of men as a light artillery battery, but they mustered into service as Company C, 96th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was commissioned their Captain on 23 September 1861.

On the Campaign

Colonel Cake wrote of his actions at Crampton's Gap on 14 September:

Captain Lessing[sic], Company C, deserves especial mention for brave conduct. The prospect of a fight in the wood and among the rocks on the side of the mountain stimulated him to great exertions to gain that point, and he cheered on his fine company most bravely.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Major on 15 September 1862, and Lieutenant Colonel on 23 December 1862. He was appointed Colonel on 13 March 1863, but not mustered at that rank. He mustered out with the Regiment on 21 October 1864.

After the War

He was in the oil business in northwestern Pennsylvania (with Jacob W Haas). He later moved to Colorado where he ran a hotel, was a real estate developer, and served as the Colorado Territory Surveyor General from 1867 to 1874. He died at the Soldier's Home in Montevisa, CO (now the Homelake Veterans' History Museum).

References & notes

Basic information from Bates1. Details from Colonel Cake’s Official Report. His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also of some bio details, and his photo posted by Bill McKern, from the collection of the Massachusetts Commandery of Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).


10/31/1831; Pottsville, PA


07/18/1910; Monte Vista, CO; burial in Charles Baber Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


1   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871, 96th Infantry  [AotW citation 15345]