Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - James Williams

James Madison Williams

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • General Frederick West Lander Post #5 Lyon MA
  • Isaac Stevens Post #1 Seattle, King Co. WA

Unit History

  • 4th Vermont Infantry B

See full unit history

James Williams
Full Unit History

Organized: Late August - Early September, 1861
Mustered In: 9/20/1861 Brattleboro, VT
Mustered Out: 7/13/1865 Hall’s Hill (Arlington), VA

Regimental History


The 4th Vermont was a three year infantry regiment. Nine out of its ten companies were recruited on the east side of the state. During the American Civil War (ACW) it served in the eastern combat theater.

One day after Federal muster the 4th left Vermont for Washington City. From there it moved southward into Virginia.

Battle actions of 1862 included: Lee's Mills, VA (4/10/1862), Williamsburg, VA (5/5/1862), Golding's Farm, VA (6/26/1862), Savage's Station, VA (6/29/1862), White Oak Swamp, VA (6/30/1862), Crampton's Gap, MD (9/14/1862), Antietam, MD (9/17/1862) and Fredericksburg, VA (12/13/1862).

During 1863 the 4th took part in the following actions: Marye's Heights, VA (5/3/1863), Salem Church, VA (5/4/1863).Fredericksburg, VA (6/5/1863).Gettysburg. PA (76/3/1863), Funkstown, MD (7/10/1863) and Rappahannock Station, VA (11/7/1863).

The 4th’s 1864 combat actions began in the Wilderness, VA (5/5 - 10/1864). During that battle, alone, seven officers were killed and eleven wounded. One died of his wounds.

Out of less than five hundred fifty enlisted men in that battle, forty one were killed outright. Another two hundred twenty three were wounded - forty three mortally - and four were missing. In all, the unit’s Wilderness death toll was eighty four. That was the largest suffered by any Vermont  regiment in one battle. It was also a loss seldom equaled by any infantry regiment in a single engagement during The War.

Other '64 actions were: Spotsylvania, VA (5/10 - 18/1864), Cold Harbor, VA (6/1 - 6/12/1864), Petersburg, VA (6/18/1864), Weldon Railroad, VA (6/23/1864), Charleston, WVA (8/21/1864), Opequon, VA (9/13/1864), Winchester, VA (9/19/1864). Fisher's Hill, VA (9/21 - 22/1864 and Cedar Creek, VA (10/19/1864).

1865 engagements with the enemy were at Petersburg, VA (5/25, 5/27 and 4/2/1865). Final muster was in July.

Officers Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 12   ; Officers Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 1; Enlisted Men Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 150; Enlisted Men Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 279.

Soldier History

Residence: Lyndon Caledonia County, VT   Age: 20.9 yrs.
Drafted: 8/12/1863   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: Inf. Not Avail. 
Highest Rank:  Cprl.
Rank At Discharge: Cprl.

Family History


NOTE: The birth - to - death biographical profile of James Williams was created in February, 2022 during the Covid-19 medical pandemic. It contains less depth of detail than many other biographies within this website because military service, pension and other veteran-related files housed in Washington, D.C.'s National Archives were not available. At a later time those documents may be obtained and the data contained therein added to the narrative which follows.

James Monroe Williams was born 10/22/1842. His place of birth was Lynden Caledonia County, VT.

Parents of James were Hosea B. Williams (b. 1794 RI - d. 9/4/1877 VT) and Eunice (nee Houghton b. 1796 VT - d. 9/25/1872 VT) Williams. The Williams family was a farm family.

As best as can be determined, based on U.S. Census data, James was the youngest of three children. He had two older sisters: Betsey (b. 1827) and Caroline (b. 1830).

It appears James remained on the family farm until he was drafted into the U.S. Army on 8/12/1863. As a private soldier, James' unit was the 4th Vermont Infantry. Without accessing Private Williams' military service records the most that can be said about his military tenure is that, with the shooting war ended, on 6/19/1865, he was promoted to the rank of corporal. He was mustered back into civilian life less than one month later.

Exactly where James resided after becoming a civilian is not known.  On 1/25/1869, however, employed as a photographer, he was in Lynn, MA. We know that because Lynn was where he married on that January date.

James' bride was the previously wed Mary J. Gove (nee Woodward). Mary had been birthed on either 1 or 11/15/1834 in Lyman Grafton County, NH. How, when and where the two had met are unknowns. She brought a child - Ella C. Gove (b. 1857 MA) - into the marriage.

After being wed James and Mary resided in Massachusetts for a time. One factor this belief is based upon is that James belonged to the Lynn, MA Grand Army Of The Republic post.

During her marriage to James Mary gave birth to one child. That child, Mary E. Williams, was birthed in New Hampshire during 1874.

By 1874 James and Mary had removed from Massachusetts and resettled in Bath Grafton County, NH. There, the 1880 U.S. Census for Bath found farm laborer James, his wife and child, Mary E.  residing in the home of James' older, married sister, Caroline.

It is surmised that around 1889 James and his family quitted New Hampshire and travelled across the continent to Seattle King County, WT/WA. What had prompted the move to the Pacific Northwest's Puget Sound region is not documented. Perhaps, however, it was the fact that both Mary's married daughter (Ella) and Mary and James' married daughter (Mary) resided here.

James M. Williams died at his Seattle homer (220 Aloha St.) on 10/29/1896.  [1] Cause of the  54.0 year old's passing was noted as "dropsy.” Today, dropsy is  known as edema which is the bodily retention of fluids. Burial was in the Seattle Grand Army Of The Republic (G.A.R.) Cemetery located near the north end of Seattle's Capitol Hill.

Former Civil War infantryman James Williams had never applied for a U.S. Government disability pension based on his wartime service. It appears, however, at following James' death wife Mary did apply for service-related widow's pension. The results of this request are not known.

Mary, who was reportedly bedridden at the time of her husband's death, did not live long after James' death. She died in Seattle on 7/22/1897. Documentation of the cause of her death has not been found. She was/is buried in Seattle's Lakeview Cemetery located near the G.A.R. burial ground on the north end of Capitol Hill.[2]

[1]. Prior to his death James had produced a last will and testament. In it, his wife Mary was named as executrix.  Likely because of failing health and a rather untimely death at the age of 62.8 years, she never acted upon the will.  As a result, after her death,  Ella (Davis) and Mary (Dwyer) took the document into probate in order to determine the ownership of James' worldly assets: $25.00 cash, ownership of one Seattle building lot located in "D.T. Denny's 2nd Addition" as well as half ownership of another undeveloped piece of Seattle land located near Lake Union. The outcome of that legal process is not known.

[2] Sometime following James' death a military headstone was obtained for his gravesite. This was likely done by the local G.A.R. post. Then, in 1925, his grave was relocated from the G.A.R. Cemetery to Lakeview  where Mary was/is buried. The two, however, are interred in different areas of the cemetery grounds. Further, James’ military headstone apparently did not make the move with him. Today,  neither James’  nor Mary’s final  resting place is marked.


Buried at Lake View Cemetery Seattle

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