History. – Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1838, to July 1, 1842,
when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to
Bvt. Second Lieut., 2d
Artillery, July 1, 1842.
garrison at Ft. Adams, R. I., 1842-43, -- Ft. Hamilton, N. Y., 1843-44, --
and Hancock Barracks, Me., 1844-45; in Military
(Second Lieut., 1st
Artillery, Aug. 31, 1844)
Occupation of Texas, 1845;
in the War with Mexico, 1846-47, 1847-48, being engaged in the Battle of
Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, -- Battle of Resaca-de-la-Palma, May 9, 1846, --
Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9-29,
(First Lieut., 1st
Artillery, Mar. 3, 1847, to Mar. 3, 1855)
1847, -- Battle of Cerro
Gordo, Apr. 17-18, 1847, -- and as Aide-de-Camp
(Bvt. Captain, Apr. 18,
1847, for Gallant and
Meritorious Conduct in the
Battle of Cerro Gordo, Mex.)
Patterson, 1846-48; in garrison at Ft. McHenry, Md., 1848, -- Schuylkill
Arsenal, Pa., 1848-49, -- and Ft. Washington, Md., 1849-50; at the Military
Academy, as Adjutant, Sep. 28, 1850, to Sep. 1, 1853; and as Asst.
Adjutant-General of the Eastern
(Bvt. Capt., Staff – Asst. Adjutant-Gen., Aug.
Division at Troy, N. Y.,
Sep. 19 to Nov. 18, 1853, -- in the Adjutant-General’s Office at Washington,
D. C., Nov. 18, 1853, to July 31, 1854, and from Nov. 1, 1854, to Dec. 1,
1860, -- of the Department of the
(Bvt. Major, Staff – Asst. Adjutant-Gen., May
West, Dec. 18, 1860, to
May 30, 1861, -- and of the Department of the Ohio, June 17, to July 25,
Major, Staff – Asst.
Adjutant-Gen., Aug. 3, 1861.
the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861-66: as Adjutant-General, Aug. 20,
1861, to Nov. 14, 1862, and Inspector-General
(Brig.-General, U. S.
Volunteers, Sep. 23, 1861)
of the Adjutant-General’s
Department, Nov. 14, 1862, to Mar. 10,
(Lieut.-Col., Staff –
Asst. Adjutant-Gen., July 17, 1862)
1864, of the Army of the
Potomac, being present at Headquarters throughout its various Military
Operations, -- at Washington, D. C., Aug. 20, 1861, to mar. 10, 1862, -- in
the Virginia Peninsular Campaign, Mar. to Aug., 1862, -- in the Maryland
Campaign, Sep. to Nov., 1862, -- in the Rappahannock Campaign, Dec., 1862,
to June, 1863, -- in the Pennsylvania Campaign, June-July, 1863, -- and in
Operations in Central Virginia,
(Bvt. Colonel, July 3,
1863, for Gallant and
Meritorious Services at the Battle of
Including the Rapidan
Campaign, July, 1863, to Mar., 1864; as acting Inspector-General, on the
Staff of the General-in-Chief, Mar. 10,
(Bvt. Maj.-General, U. S.
Volunteers, Aug. 1, 1864, for Highly Meritorious and Faithful Services
in the Campaign
Terminating with the Surrender of the Insurgent Army under General Robert E.
(Bvt. Maj.-General, U. S.
Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Gallant and
Meritorious Services in
the Field During the Rebellion)
Richmond Campaign, -- and
as Adjutant-General of the Military Division of the Atlantic, headquarters,
Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 9 to mar. 1, 1866.
Died, Mar. 23, 1866, at
Boston, Mas.: Aged 44.
Major-General Seth Williams was born, Sep. 1821, at Augusta, Me., and was
graduated from the Military Academy and promoted to the Artillery, July 1,
1842. After three years of garrison duty, he accompanied Gen. Taylor in the
Occupation of Texas, and was engaged in the Battles of Palo Alto and
Resaca-de-la-Palma. Transferred to General Scott’s line of operations, he
was at the Siege of Vera Cruz and Battle of Cerro Gordo, where for his
“gallant and meritorious conduct” he was brevetted Captain. Till the end of
the Mexican War he continued Aide-de-Camp to Maj.-General Patterson, and
after the termination of hostilities was two years performing garrison duty,
when he became the efficient and favorite Adjutant of the Military Academy.
Upon his promotion to the staff as Assistant Adjutant-General, he occupied,
with great acceptance and usefulness, positions in the Adjutant-General’s
office at Washington, and at headquarters of the Department of the West and
of the Ohio.
During the War
of the Rebellion, Williams was the distinguished Adjutant-General of the
Army of the Potomac throughout the operations of the various campaigns,
receiving for his “gallant, meritorious, and faithful services” the brevets
of Colonel, Brig.-General, and Major-General, U. S. Army, and Major-General
U. S. Volunteers.
For a short
period succeeding the Rebellion, Williams was the Adjutant-General of the
Division of the Atlantic till he died, Mar. 23, 1866, at Boston, Mas., after
the brief but brilliant career.
was simple in manner, courteous in intercourse, constant in friendship,
honest in his convictions, an tolerant of adverse opinion. His personal
magnetism, inextinguishable cheerfulness, genial nature, and almost feminine
gentleness endeared him to all who came within the sunshine of his
presence. He never forgot the little amenities of life; his politeness was
proverbial, his patience was inexhaustible, and it was his highest
gratification to devote himself to the pleasures of others. Hence it was
that his unselfishness, modesty, sincere sympathy, and steadfast affection
made him the loved companion of young and old of both sexes. Yet, with all
this light-hearted nature and avoidance of the asperities of life, he was a
manly man, a firm patriot, and a brave soldier, who never neglected his
fealty to a friend nor a duty to his country.
Meade, in his official order announcing his death, says: “The public
services of the deceased, in connection with the Army of the Potomac, from
its organization to within a few months of its muster out at the close of
War, are too well known to require recital. There was hardly an engagement
in which he did not take part; there is not a portion of its records or
written history that does not bear witness to his ability and fidelity; and
to its officers and soldiers he was especially endeared by a never-failing
patience and kindliness of heart that made no labor irksome that could
promote their interested and welfare. The General Commanding feels that
this official notice is due, not only to the public career, but to the
private virtues, of this distinguished soldier, and that in him the country
has lost a faithful servant, and the Army a valuable associate and friend.”