Eulogy read by Ruth Russell
The Veteran we will honor today is Pvt. Harrison Williams. An African American, Williams served with Company A, in the 5th Regiment, of the US Colored Calvary from August 27, 1864 to August 29th, 1865. His unit
- Was at the Battles of Chaffin’s Farm and Fair Oaks in 1864
- Was With William Tecumseh Sherman’s long and arduous Carolinas Campaign which resulted in the Surrender of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.
- And, throughout the War, Colored troops were used extensively in “Fatigue Duty” – distasteful jobs such as retrieving and burying the dead.
We don’t know why or when Harrison Williams was admitted to the Asylum. Certainly the horrible experiences which colored troops suffered in the Civil War were more than enough to inflict Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on many. But that was not the cause for Williams’s hospitalization. There is no record of him being dysfunctional in the decades immediately following the war. As late as 1880, he was employed, married, and the father of three little girls. Other major disorders such as Schizophrenia and bipolar – which usually strike in early adulthood – can probably also be excluded.
Though his disorder remains a mystery, we do know that Private Williams was a good human being who served his country well. Thank you, Harrison Williams.