Conflict Period:
Civil War (Confederate) 1
Confederate Army 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
William H. Lawrence 1

Civil War (Confederate) 1

Confederate Army 1
Military Unit:
Eighth (Hatch's) Cavalry AND Eighth (Livingston's) Cavalry 1
Alabama 1

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  1. Civil War Soldiers - Confederate - AL [See image]


Death of Capt. William H. Lawrence.

A native of Clinton County, Pennsylvania, Lutheran minister, Thomas F. Dornblazer, of Lee County, Illinois, writing within his work, Sabre Strokes of the Pennsylvania Dragoons in the War of 1861-1865, published in Philadelphia in 1884, recalled a remarkable personal incident he experienced during the 'War Between the States.'  Dornblazer was serving at the time as a Sergeant, in Company 'E,' 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Minty's Brigade. 

One of the opposing 'Rebel' or Confederate forces at Rome, Georgia that fateful day, was the 8th Alabama Cavalry, part of Charles G. Armistead's Brigade. Perhaps it is best to let Sgt. Dornblazer recall his own memories of what transpired (though I have italicized certain words in his reminiscence): 

After firing a few shots, I saw a Rebel officer leaping the fence twenty yards to my right, and starting to run across the open field to join his comrades. In his right hand he held a navy revolver, and in his left an officer's sword. I leveled my "Spencer" and ordered him, sharply, to halt and throw down his arms, which he did. But seeing that I was altogether alone, he seized his weapons again, sprang to the stump of a broken tree...fired two shots from his revolver, and said in a defiant tone, "I'll fight you!"... 
I took my horse by the rein, and made a left about wheel, two paces to the rear...My antagonist in the meantime fired two more shots, wounding my horse in the hip; and mistaking my maneuvers for a retreat, he rushed forward and preemptorily demanded my surrender. He came to the fence...{and} was in the act of stepping across when I ordered him a second time to halt. My gun was leveled; he raised his revolver with a threat: I fired! His arm dropped without discharging his revolver. His tall form sank to the ground as he exclaimed, "I'm a dead man." 
At once I dropped my carbine, and offered him my hand; he gave it a friendly grasp and said, "You have killed a good man."  "I'm sorry for it," said I,  "and why did you take up your arms again?" Said he, "I made a vow that I would never surrender to one man. You were the only man I saw, and I determined to fight you, and get possession of your horse--then I could have made my escape. You did your duty, but you might have surrendered to me." 
After making him as comfortable as I could with overcoat and blanket, I inquired his name and rank. He said his name was William H. Lawrence, Captain and acting Colonel of the Eighth Alabama Cavalry. He said he had a wife and two dear children living at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His wife and daughter were devoted Christians, and he lamented that he had not lived a better life in the army. He did not feel prepared to die. He knew that he must die.
The ball struck the corner of his belt-plate and passed through his body, inflicting a mortal wound. His mind was perfectly clear, anf for one-half hour we were alone, undisturbed, and we wept and prayed together, invoking the Infinite Mercy of God to forgive us both.Seeing the bugler of our regiment at a distance, I called to him to bring up a stretcher to carry back a wounded officer. 
We carried him three-quarters of a mile to the field hospital, and had his wounds dressed.  Before I left him he gave me his diary, and requested me to send it to his wife, and tell her that he died happy. After his death next day, the surgeon found on his person a ten-dollar gold piece, and a signet-ring with his wife's photograph set in it, in minature.

Captain William H. Lawrence, was interred at Myrtle Hill Cemetery, in Rome, Georgia, in the Confederate Soldier's Section.



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