William joined the Union Army, Co. G; 5th Tennessee, at age 29. His brothers-in-law Jackson Hines, William Lyon, John, Isaac and Jeremiah Stover also enlisted in Co. G. He was taken prisoner on September 15, 1864, at Marietta, Georgia, with several other men of the 5th. They were sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia. In the last weeks of the War the men of Andersonville were paroled to Mississippi for prisoner exchange. The paroled prisoners were placed aboard the Steamship Sultana to return home.