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Submitted by Nancy Pittman; Vetted and edited by Cheri Todd Molter

Born on November 13, 1837, Levi Branson Williams was the son of Ezekiel Randolph and Agnes Williams of Guilford County. At an early age, he was orphaned and left in the care of his grandfather, Nathan Williams. Levi became a member of the Methodist Protestant Church at about eighteen years of age. On September 4, 1860, he married Mary A. Lindley, daughter of Owen and Temperance J. Lindley of Chatham County. (Barrow, Mary A. “Preface,” in Poems and Memoirs of Lieut. Levi Branson Williams, Ed. Francis M. Harrison. Sentinel Print: LaGrange, NC, 1900.)

Although he did not volunteer to serve in the Confederate army at the beginning of the war, once men were being conscripted in 1862, twenty-four-year-old Levi enlisted at Chatham County, NC. He served in Company E of the 5th N.C. Cavalry and attained the rank of Third Lieutenant. On March 8, 1863, Lt. Williams was captured at Piney Greene in Onslow County, NC. A couple of days later, he was confined at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Three months later, he was transferred to Fort Delaware. On July 20, 1863, he was transferred again and imprisoned at Johnson’s Island in Ohio. While imprisoned, Lt. Williams wrote to pass the time: He composed poetry and documented his thoughts and wishes in pieces that were later compiled into a small book that was published. Unfortunately, however, he did not survive his confinement: Lt. Williams died on Sept. 30, 1863, and was buried in gravesite #26 at the Confederate Cemetery at Johnson’s Island. (“Levi Branson Williams,” North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster)

Lt. Williams’ writings were compiled by Francis M. Harrison and, in 1900, published in a small volume entitled Poems and Memoirs of Lieut. Levi Branson Williams. It is available online at archive.org.

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