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Confederate (CSA)

Lieutenant Colonel

William R. Holmes

(c. 1830 - 1862)

Home State: Georgia

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 2nd Georgia Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

A well-off physician in Waynesboro, Burke County, GA, he requested Governor Gist of South Carolina accept his Georgia militia company - the "Burke Sharpshooters" - for State service on 12 November 1860. His offer was not accepted, but on 19 April 1861 he enrolled with them as Company C of the 2nd Georgia Infantry, and was commissioned their Captain. He was elected Lieutenant Colonel as the Regiment was re-organized on 28 April 1862.

On the Campaign

He was killed in action near the Lower Bridge while in command of the Regiment at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862. Captain Walcott of the 21st Massachusetts Infantry described his death from the other side of the bridge:

... before the colors of the two 51sts [NY & PA] had touched the long disputed bridge, the panic stricken rebels left their cover and fled, all but the devoted leader [Holmes] of their nearest regiment, who ran down to the edge of the bank, and with a cry of defiance shook his sword in the faces of our men for a moment, and then fell pierced by a dozen bullets. The bridge was won at last ...

References & notes

His service from his Compiled Service Records,1 via fold3. The description of his death from Walcott's History.2 Personal information from family genealogists and the US Census of 1860; some family genealogists have his birth in 1821. Burke County, GA is on the South Carolina border. His memorial (a cenotaph) in Waynesboro, GA is on Findagrave; his burial place is unknown, but he may be in the Washington Confederate Cemetery at Rose Hill, Hagerstown, MD.

He married Julia Bowdry, but was divorced and "relieved of all disability on account of having been married" by an act of the Georgia Legislature of 27 February 1856 (Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, 1856).

He was living with his mother Jane Broadbent Blount Taylor Holmes (1799-1899) in Waynesboro, GA in 1860.

More on the Web

See a news piece about a duel Dr. Holmes fought with another Georgia gentleman named Nelms in June 1860, apparently because Nelms hadn't voted to secede from the Union - in a post on behind AotW.


c. 1830


09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD


1   US War Department, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, Record Group No. 109 (War Department Collection of Confederate Records), Washington DC: US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 1903-1927  [AotW citation 26561]

2   Walcott, Charles Folsom, History of the Twenty-first Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, in the War for the Preservation of the Union, 1861-1865, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1882, pg. 201  [AotW citation 26562]