William C. Ball

William C. Ball

      Sex: M

Individual Information
          Birth: April 6, 1841 New York, NY
          Death: January 23, 1918 possibly, Stamford, Connecticut
 Cause of Death: 
          AFN #: 

Spouses and Children
1. *Emily Frances Jessup
       Marriage: January 24, 1867 Stamford, Conn.
                1. George Ball
                2. Harriett L. Ball
                3. Minnie M. Ball
                4. Emma M. Ball
                5. Eleanor F. Ball
                6. Edwin J. Ball
                7. George Elbrey Ball

William Ball was born in New York City to a large family. He was bound out to
a family in New Canaan, Connecticut because his parents could not afford to
keep him. On July 23, 1862, he joined up to fight the Civil War. The towns
of Connecticut promised to each provide a company for the war, but the smaller
towns, unable to do so on their own, joined together to make up a company.
This was Company H of the 17th Connecticut Volunteers. William Ball went from

New Canaan to Wilton to join up. The 17th Connecticut was in the following
battles: Chancellorsville (May 2, 1863); Gettysburg (July 1-4, 1863);
Morris Island & Fort Wagner (August 1863)--William Ball would have still been
in Confederate prisoner camp; Walaka & Sanders, Florida (February 5,
1865)--See "Connecticut Men in the Rebellion: 1861-1865" at the Whitney
Library in New Haven.
At Gettysburg his company was at the right flank of the Union's first day's
position, a hill now known as Barlow's Knoll. As part of the 11th Corps, 2nd
Brigade, 1st Division, they were together with the 75th and 107th Ohio
Regiments as well as Co. 6 of the 4th United States Artillery all under the
charge of General Francis Barlow. William Ball would have been within a
hundred yards of the four big "Nepolean" cannons when they opened up on the
enemy as rapidly as they could load. The Confederate cannons returned fire in
an all out attempt to knock out the Northern guns. The men of the 17th were
uneasy as the four inch shells exploded around them when Lt. Col. Fowler, in a
moment of nervous joking, cried out, "Dodge the big ones, boys!"
Four companies of the 17th had moved forward to secure a farm on the other
side of Rock Creek but advancing Georgia Troops under General John Gordon soon
advanced upon them. Company H and five other companies of the 17th were still
holding their own on the knoll. They were concentrating fire on General
George Dole's troops on the left as Gordon's men approached from the right.
As the "Nutmeggers" turned to the right a full brigade of Rebels waded across
Rock Creek and rushed the knoll and the 17th Connecticut. Three Union
regiments under Col. VonGilsa had been lined up at the creek but were pushed
back. The Rebels received heavy resistance from the top of Barlow's Knoll but
the Northern troops were handicapped by the fact that VonGilsa's men were
mixed in with the advancing enemy creating much confusion. Barlow's men, now
only four regiments, fought to hold the ground under increasingly difficult
Colonel Fowler rode to the front of the line, and swinging his sword called,
"Now Seventeenth, do your duty! Forward, double quick! Charge bayonets!"
And with a yell they charged. A hand-to-hand struggle broke out with the
opposing colors only paces apart. Colonel Fowler, on his conspicuous white
horse, took a musket ball in the head. Many other officers were killed or
wounded in the onslaught. The Northerners fought fiercely but the Georgians
kept coming. Barlow was forced to withdraw through the town. The following
morning, at roll call, only 241 of the original 386 men answered. 17 had been
killed; 73 were wounded; and 55, including William Ball, were missing or
captured. (Connecticut Yankees at Gettysburg by Charles P. Hamblen)
From Gettysburg, the Rebels marched William Ball to a prison camp in Richmond,
Virginia were he contracted malaria. He was paroled at City Point, Virginia
on August 25, 1863 probably because of the Confederate inability or
disinterest in treating his ailment. He eventually made his way back to
Connecticut and reported to Bridgeport where, unaware of his situation, they
arrested him as a deserter. The records regarding his suspected desertion
were not corrected until March 9, 1883.
He did not return to his unit until at least November or possibly as late as
February. He served with the 17th until the end of the war though he was
often confined at the Post Hospital whenever the malaria recurred. When the
unit was mustered out in Hilton Head, South Carolina and traveled by steamer
north, William was again under care for Malaria. Samuel Barnum commented in a
statement he swore out in 1885 for William's application for Disability
Pension, "I remember that he was so sick that I gave him my bunk in the
hospital or rather the Doctor's tent and took up with a bed on the floor of
the tent myself..." Another comrade, Samuel Morrison, became a druggist upon
returning from the war. In a similar statement he swore out in 1883 he
declared, "I have been accustomed to furnish said Ball with medicines
applicable to the cure and alienation of malarial complaints...as often as
once a month during every year down to date." It is believed that he was
never fully cured of the disease. (From records in US National Archives)
I have not personally verified most of this information. Almost everything here has been supplied by relatives and I don't know how reliable it is. For this reason, please do not cite this web site as a source for your research. Abide by the Genealocial Proof Standard and use this information only as clues.

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