Biography - William Lewis Reese
 

William Lewis Reese
of Navarro County, Texas


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Dresden Cemetery, Dresden, Navarro Co., TX
 

William Lewis Reese

By Tory Braden, PA-C
30 Mar 2000
332 Sandcastle Ln.
St. Simons Island, GA  31522
email indixie123@hotmail.com


William Lewis Reese
Assistant Surgeon
6th North Carolina Infantry, CSA

William Lewis Reese, was born on March 2, 1823, in Perry Co., AL.  He was the son of Abraham Farmer Reese and Sarah Mathis/Mathews Reese.

He was Assistant Surgeon, enlisted (Evans Guards) Co K, 13th Regiment (Troup County, GA) (Arch. Div.); assigned to 6th North Carolina Infantry in Feb. 1863, Army of TN, Nov. 1863 and Jan 1864 (Stout).

He died Feb. 10, 1875, and was buried in the Dresden Cemetery, south of Blooming Grove, Navarro Co., TX.

William Lewis Reese married Mary Jane McGee on Nov. 2, 1853, in LaGrange, Troup Co., GA.  Mary was born on Jan. 28, 1837 in AL or GA.  She died Dec. 14, 1888 in Raleigh, Navarro Co., TX and was buried in the Dresden Cemetery, south of Blooming Grove, Navarro Co., TX.

Their children's names were:  Sara Ann, Mary Emma, James Thaddeus, Lucinda, George Wilson (my great-grandfather), Robert Lewis, Joan Ellenor, Ida Elizabeth, Stella Madora Reese.

Dr. W. L. Reese was, by family history, trained as a physician in New Orleans.  He practiced near LaGrange, GA when he enlisted as a private in the Evans Guards, Co. K, 13th Regiment in June of 1861.

The next he is heard of is when he was assigned to the 6th NC.  His record (N/A 270 roll 165) say from Feb. 1865 in the 6th NC Volunteers, Lewis Brigade (his paternal grandmother was a Lewis and was his middle name, I don't know if this is how he got there for the roster says that he joined the 6th NC in June of 1861.), Early's Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.  A Field and Staff Muster Roll of Jan & Feb 1863 says that he was assigned to the 6th NC Feb 12th by order of Dr. Harrison, Div. Surgeon. and the station was near Port Royal, VA, then March to May he was near Fredericksburg.  A Roll of Honor says he was in the principle battles of VA.  He had no commission.

He was captured July 5th while caring for the wounded of Hoke's Brigade on the Gettysburg battlefield where he was left behind by order of Gen. Lee. Can you possibly imagine what that would have been like?  Not just the sights, but the sounds, and the smells must have been retching.  And how little Dr. Reese had to work with to take care of his men.

The family story has been that he was forced to serve the Yankee wounded in the hospitals of Washington D.C.  This is somewhat proven.  The Rolls of Prisoners of War follow him around Baltimore, Fort Monroe, VA, and Fort Norfolk.  He is listed on July 28th in Ward C  in USA Gen'l. Hosp. West's Buildings, Baltimore.  He was received at Fort McHenry, VA in August.  On Nov. 27, 1863 he was paroled, and by order of the Sect'y of War was sent to the Army of Tenn. in Marietta, GA.

Upon reporting for duty to its amazing Medical Director, Samuel Hollingsworth Stout MD, he was relieved and then on Jan. 20, 1864 he was ordered to report to the Medical Director of the Army of Tennessee.  It does not say, but I think that this was the same man,  Stout.  There is no record after this last one.

However the book, Paid In Kind, by Glendora Major, 1989, about doctors of Troup Co. GA, says that he went to the Battle of West Point, GA to defend the town, its railroad, and a small force of hospital employees, tents and supplies fleeing from Auburn, AL and from Col. LaGrange (not related to the town) of Wilson's Raiders.  This was on April, 16, 1865, seven days after the surrender at Appomattox.

LaGrange, GA has always been a railroad town.  It was deep in the Confederacy and Generals sent their families there thinking they would be protected.  And they were.  But because of the railroad it was also a large hospital town.

I feel certain that my great great grandfather was sent back to his wife and her large McGee family in LaGrange, but that he also continued to serve in the hospitals there.   He made it back to LaGrange at some point in early 1862, because my great grandfather, George Reese, was born there in Nov. 1862.

His family then consisted of his wife a girl and two boys (two girls had died) must have immediately gone to Texas for the next child, Robert Reese was born in Texas in January of 1866.  I do not know the county.  Their next daughter, Joan was born in March of 1868 in Raleigh, TX.  They stayed there for a while, but returned to GA.  Dr. Reese practiced in downtown Carrollton, GA for several years.  His daughter Ida was born in Carrollton in Sept. 1870 and Stella in Aug. 1873.

Then in late 1874 they went back to Navarro, Co. TX.  I have no idea why they went back to TX.  Was Reconstruction that unbearable in west GA even for a doctor?  Was Texas during Reconstruction any better?  Whatever, it was a bad move, because Feb. 10, 1875 Dr. Reese died at only the age of 51.  I do not know his denomination, but he came from a line of Presbyterians and Methodists.  However I know he was a believer in Christ.

The only personal relic I have of Dr. William Lewis Reese is his signature requesting back pay of $220 in 1863.

My great great grandfather William Lewis Reese, MD is buried in Navarro Co.  It is my understanding that his grave does not identify him as a Confederate Soldier, yet he volunteered in the beginning of the war as an assistant surgeon and served until after Appomattox.  His record says he served in all the principle battles of Virginia and was captured at Gettysburg while staying behind to care for the wounded.  I would love for someone to take a picture of his tombstone; it is commonly shared with his wife.  I think that their son, my great grandfather, George Wilson Reese is buried next to them.  I know he is in the same cemetery in Dresden.  I have not been able to prove this Confederate Veteran to the UDC because I cannot connect the father and son.  Any help would be appreciated.  And it would also be much appreciated if Sons of Confederate Veterans of the area could put a CSA marker on Dr. Reese's grave.  He deserves the honor.

 


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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox