Thomas Jefferson “T.J.” Williams, Company D, 120th Indiana Infantry

My wife’s 2 GG grand father was Pvt. T.J. Williams of the 120th Indiana Infantry, Company D. He was from Gibson County, Indiana. He had two brothers that served in the war, and over 40 first cousins.

His records show that he enlisted on 1/8/64 from Francisco, Indiana. He mustered out 1/8/66.

It is not believed he was wounded at Franklin. He did survive the war, returning to Owensville, Indiana where he lived until 1935.  He was born in 1845 and married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dodd.

He is buried in Forsythe Cemetery in Gibson County.

We are very fortunate that he wrote about his Civil War service.  Here it is:

Civil War Record of T.J. Williams

War record of Thomas Jefferson Williams who enlisted in Company D, 120th Indiana Volunteer Infantry on the 10th day of November 1863 to serve 3 years or during the war. We was located at Vincennes, Indiana in Old Camp Knox where our Regiment was organized. We for three months was engaged in drilling and recruiting and preparing for the front. And during this time occured the coldest New Year’s day and Eve. So I was at home on a furlough first day of January 1864 and walked home to Princeton, Indiana.

Returning to my Regiment, it was so cold quite a lot of chickens, hogs and sheep froze to death. Also one man froze at Camp Knox. The first week of January 1864 we got our war equipments and our guns ans started for the South. Went to Louisville, Ky was there only for a short time, then we marched to Nashville, TN.  Was there only a short time and we marched from there to the front and went into the fight in good earnest on what is known as the Atlanta and Georgia campaign and for 60 days we was in a fight all the way from Nashville to the fall of Atlanta.

[page 2]

We was in a fight all summer at Big Shanty, Marietta and nearly all the stations along the Southern road to Atlanta. Some of the hardest fight was Columbia and Kingston, when Columbus Benson was shot and killed and Eliant [Eli] Briant was wounded. Lost several men at the Battle of Franklin.

120thIN_Franklin_map copy by you.

So after Lee surrendered to Grant we moved into Raleigh, North Carolina, and thought we would soon be discharged and sent home. But lo and behold orders came we had to stay until everything was settled up and we stayed there till 8th day of June 1866. I was placed on guard at Gov. Zebulon Baird Vance’s residence, and in a short time we received word that President Lincoln was assassinated, and one of the most exciting times I ever saw, had to guard the town of Raleigh to keep soldiers from firing and burning it to ashes.

A few things I never forget while in the service, at one time not engaged in battle, quite a number of the Boys was playing cards, having what they term a good time. All of a sudden we heard firing off to the right and the boom of cannon off to the left and officers riding back and forth, and we was soon in line and marching to the firing line where we hear we would have to face death. So the Boys began to throw away their cards. No one wanted to be killed with a deck of cards in his pocket. But I never saw a Testament thrown away during a battle.

A few outstanding events I ____services in the Civil [War], “One was the surrender of Gen Lee to Gen Grant on the march to Atlanta, Georgia. We stopped on Old Farm to eat dinner, had all eat and was sitting around waiting orders. Saw the Orderly riding his horse to Headquarters then Division Headquarters, hence to Brigade Headquarters, and Regimental Headquarters with orders that Lee had surrendered to Sam Grant, and of all the ______ that took place on that old farm.

[page 4]

The Boys shouted and yelled themselves hoarse,a nd some one set fire to a Turpentine Distillery and the blaze almost went to the sky. Then from there we moved in to Raleigh North Carolina. Took charge of all the government surplus. While there I was called to go to Richmond, Virginia. Was a guard for Gen Terry. I had a very pleasant trip. Went all over Richmond, also through Old Libby Prison where they kept our prisoners during the war. It was a shame a rough looking place. So we passed the summer of 1865 at Raleigh N.C., dispensing of government property, and finally on the 8th day of January 1866 we was discharged and sent home. One of the dearest places on earth. So ended my service in the Civil War and it was only through the goodness of God that I got through and got home.
TJ Williams

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The 120th’s Colonel at Franklin was Col. Richard F. Barter.  Here’s an image of him post-war.

The 120th, Stiles’ brigade, was placed on the far left Union flank, buttressed up against the railroad and the Harpeth River. This shot of what was then called the Decatur-Nashville RR shows a bend in the distance. The 120th was placed right there, to the left in the picture.

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Submitted by Kraig McNutt (on behalf of Lori Schlarb McNutt)

tellinghistory[at]yahoo.com

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This entry was posted in 120th Indiana Infantry, Photo exists of soldier, Private, Stiles' Brigade, Survived Franklin, Survived the war, Union. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thomas Jefferson “T.J.” Williams, Company D, 120th Indiana Infantry

  1. Don Masturzo says:

    Kraig and Lori,

    Thanks for posting this information. I especially appreciate the photos you have shared. One small correction. After the Civil War, Thomas J. Williams did not live continuously in Indiana until his death. If you check census records, you will find that the 1910 and 1920 censuses have him living in Kingman, KS, where his son, Charles C. Williams, resided. In the 1930 census, he is back in Indiana. Thanks again.

  2. Rose says:

    T. J. Williams in one of the photographs you have, he is next to a woman.Do you know who she is? She looks like one of my relatives I have a picture of. Your T. J. Williams was he ever in the Cass County,Indiana area? My great uncle was called T. J. Williams I found in newspaper articles & he lived in the Cass county,Indiana area but he was born in 1862.You say your was born 1845? Thank you for your time. Rose

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