Private William O’Neil was a resident of Manatee, Florida in 1860.
He married Mary Nicholas on July 4th, 1861.
He was mustered into Confederate service on April 25th, 1862 when he was enlisted as a Private in Captain Smith’s Company (Key West Avengers), 7th Regiment Florida Infantry by Major R. B. Thomas at Tampa, Florida for a period of 3 years or the war.
He was promoted from the ranks to 4th Sergeant on August 8th, 1862 ( likely as a result of the vacancies resulting from the numerous non-commissioned officer transfers to the C.S. Navy on August 5th).
He was present on all rolls until November 3rd, 1862 when he was reported sick at Knoxville Tennessee. He was appointed 3rd Sergeant in February, 1863.
He was transferred to the C.S. Navy while at Dalton, Georgia February 25th, 1864. He was assigned to CSS Savannah on March 3rd, 1864. He was mentioned in Robert Watson's diary entry for October 4th, 1864 - “In afternoon Wm. O'Neil came on board. He had been home in Manatee, Fla. on furlough and is 16 days behind his time. He brought his wife and child with him.”
He served in CSS Savannah until December 21st, 1864, when the vessel was fired and scuttled to avoid capture by General Sherman’s forces at Savannah.
He was sent as a quarter gunner to Battery Buchanan at Fort Fisher outside Wilmington, North Carolina on December 30, 1864. He was discharged at Newport News, Virginia.
He died December 2nd, 1897 at Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. Mary applied for and was granted a Confederate Widow's Pension for her husband's service.