My Union Ancestor
WILLIAM J. PURVIS
Co. I, 118th Indiana Infantry
2 x great-granduncle of Tad D. Campbell, PCinC
William J. Purvis was one of thirteen children of Luther and Nancy (Jones) Purvis. He was born about 1842-43, probably in Decatur or Bartholomew County, Indiana.
On June 6, 1863, William J. Purvis enlisted in Co. I, 118th Indiana Infantry (Six Month Regiment) at Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. He was mustered in at Camp Wabash, Indiana on August 9, 1863.
The 118th Infantry was organized during July and August, 1863, principally at Wabash, but moved to Indianapolis on August 31, where its organization was completed. This six month regiment was mustered in on September 16, 1862. Leaving the state the same day, it went to Nicholasville, Kentucky and thence to East Tennessee.
From Cumberland Gap they proceeded via Morristown to Greenville, and in November they accompanied the command to Clinch River, participating in the battle of Walker's Ford. They were sent to the relief of the 5th Indiana Cavalry, which had been engaged with a heavy force of the enemy two miles south of the river and was in desperate straits because of the exhaustion of its ammunition.
The 118th waded the river, formed in line of battle on both sides of the road, and advanced, thus enabling the cavalry to fall back and cross the river. The regiment fell back slowly under the assaults of a brigade, repelling a charge on its right and recrossing the river.
It was engaged during the winter in the arduous duties of that campaign and suffered greatly. Private Purvis was left sick at Tazewell, Claiborne County, Tennessee in December 1863, and died there due to the effects of starvation on January 12, 1864. The regiment was mustered out at Indianapolis about the middle of February.
William J. Purvis' brother, Luther Franklin Purvis, served in the same company.
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