The Civil War

William Henry Wingfield

William Henry Wingfield, born in 1826, lived in Campbell Co. most of his life. He was married to Letitia Bennett. Both were raised in Franklin Co. They had 9 children, including 2 sons. William Preston was the fifth child and second son.

Family memories and references in the press written after his death indicate that William Henry was a captain in the Civil War. Records supporting this have not survived. He was an ambitious young man from a modest tobacco farming background. He worked as a farm laborer on his future father-in-law's farm in his early 20's. Once married he moved to Campbell Co. with his young family. There he acted as an overseer until the war. He served the Confederacy in the infantry, in a unit raised in Campbell County. After the war he purchased an estate, and became an influential local farmer, involved in local government and development.

Service Record:
Enlisted in Company C, 11th Infantry Regiment Virginia on 18 March 1862.
Private (Most likely) (sic)
Wounded on 30 August 1862 at 2nd Manassas, VA (In hand)
On rolls on 15 November 1862
Detailed on 15 September 1863
Paroled on 29 May 1865 at Campbell Court House, VA
American Civil War Soldiers

Co. C, 11th Va Infantry, the Clifton Greys "Previously Co. E1, 28th VA Inf." was raised in Campbell Co.

How did he come to be known as Capt.?

Alan, 3 Aug, 2009
While I am thinking about it, I have a theory about William Henry Wingfield's Civil War detailing. In 1862 the Confederate Congress exempted one man per plantation with 20 or more slaves from military service. In May 1863 this was amended, specifically dealing with the ability of overseers to claim benefit of law, with one ground being plantation owned by a woman. Your research indicates Wingfield was an overseer and associated with a substantial female landowner and slave holder. Viola. William Henry Wingfield left active service to go back and be an overseer of slaves, and detailed to the 117th Va. Infantry (where he was a “captain”). One job of the militia, of course, was to be ready for any slave uprisings. This probably was not particularly dishonorable by the lights of the times, given his age, substantial service (probably including Gettysburg), and the supposed fact that the 20 slave law may have not been particularly unpopular in his area. I would assume that the details of his service were well known at the time, and proved no bar to being a substantial man who may have claimed the title captain. However, the fairly diplomatic wording describing his confederate service in the newspaper article may reflect a bit of family tenderness about the details of his service. He did have substantial active field service, but he also spent a significant period of time "serving" by overseeing slaves, which to modern ears might have been hard to state publicly. That's just a theory, of course.
© 2009 Footie Lund