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Confederate (CSV)


William H. Briggs

(c. 1832 - ?)

Home State: Virginia

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 15th Virginia Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

Age 29, from Richmond, he enlisted as Private, Company B, 15th Virginia Infantry on 14 May 1861. He was promoted to Corporal on 1 November and Sergeant Major of the regiment on 21 July 1862.

On the Campaign

He was wounded by gunshot to the left leg and right hand and captured in action at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862. Captain Morrison, commanding the 15th Virginia, was hit while on the firing line and later wrote

... for a minute or so surely I must have lost consciousness, else I would not have allowed the ambulance corps to attempt to take me off the hotly contested field, which we still held. They started with me, in but a moment, it seems to me, four of us [with stretcher bearers] were on the ground in a pile almost. As I lay on the stretcher, I saw the ball strike poor Charlie Watkins in the head, scattering his brains. He fell with a thud and never breathed again. " Billie " Briggs (William H. Briggs) had his thigh broken and second and third finger cut off, and another man, name unknown, wounded. I tell you, it was a hot place ...
Briggs' left femur was shattered and his right middle finger shot off.

The rest of the War

His leg was amputated at the lower third of his thigh by a Federal surgeon at a US Army field hospital near Sharpsburg on 17 September, and his surgeon reported he was "doing well" and likely to survive on 1 October 1862. He was received at City Point, VA for exchange on 15 December 1862. He was assigned to the Veteran Reserve Corps on 27 December 1864.

References & notes

His service from his Compiled Service Records via the Historical Data Systems database. Wound and medical details from Fisher.1 The quote above from Morrison's recollections of Sharpsburg in the SHSP.2


c. 1832


1   Fisher, Geoge Jackson, MD, Report of Fifty-seven Cases of Amputations ... after the Battle of Antietam, The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 1863-01-01, Table 1  [AotW citation 21398]

2   Southern Historical Society, and Rev. John William Jones, Robert Alonzo Brock, James Power Smith, editors, Southern Historical Society Papers, 52 Vols., Richmond: Southern Historical Society, 1876-1959, Vol. XXXIII, pg. 106  [AotW citation 21399]