Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - William Downing

William E. Downing

Representing: Union
G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA

Unit History

  • 40th Indiana Infantry H

See full unit history

William Downing
Full Unit History

Mustered In: 12/30/61 Lafayette, IN.
Mustered Out: 12/25/65

Regimental History


The 40th Indiana, a three year unit, left the state for Kentucky almost immediately following muster and quickly moved in pursuit of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s invading forces. Major engagements during the months ahead included Stones River, Gal, Chickamauga, GA., and Missionary Ridge, TN.

During the 1864 Atlanta campaign it was conspicuously engaged at Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, The Chattahoochee River and Peachtree Creek. After the fall of Atlanta the 40th was ordered to Tennessee where it took part in the battle of Nashville.

It then pursued Confederate Gen. Hood’s forces as far as Huntsville, AL. In 1865, after stops in Louisiana and Texas it was mustered out of existence. During its history a total of 1755 officers and enlisted men passed through the regiment.

Soldier History

Residence: Tippecanoe, IN.   Age: 15 yrs.
Enlisted on: 12/28/61 Lafayette, IN.
Mustered In: 1/22/61 Lebanon, KY   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 6/20/65 Nashville, TN.
Highest Rank: Private

Family History

Family History:

William E. Downing, one of six sons and four daughters, was born to John and Sarah Downing in Tippecanoe, IN. on Christmas Day, 1846. The 5/9” farmhand remained in the town of his birth until entering the military in 1862. Once there his first “fight” was with a case of the measles which hospitalized him for a month and a half.

In “The battle Above the Clouds” (Missionary Ridge, TN.) a shell exploded near William stunning him to such a degree that his tongue was paralyzed and “he was unable to talk above a whisper for several years.” At the battle of Chattanooga, TN. he received a slight leg wound, but was more seriously disabled and hospitalized by exposure and a ruptured scrotum suffered while constructing fortifications.

William’s military service was apparently not without other tribulations as pension records contain reference to his forfeiting pay/allowances for four months and serving 10 days in March/April ’63. No additional details are available. Leaving the military, Private Downing retuned to his hometown of Tippecanoe

In 1870 he followed his sister and her husband (Snohomish pioneer D.F. Sexton) to Kansas where he resided for several years before traveling to California. Later, he returned to Indiana to work his father’s farm before following the Sexton’s to the Puget Sound area in 1890. Here, with the exception of short intervals, he continued to make his home until his death on 5/21/1930 at the age of 83 years. As William was “a single man and always had been” he left no direct descendents.


Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
Row: 7
Site: 3

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