Remembering our colored compatriots – Henson Williams
Altogether too often, people insist that blacks in the Confederate army were nothing more than cooks and ditch diggers. Not so. And more than one paper (as well as military record) confirm it. This is another example (not yet fully confirmed). Mr. Henson Williams, veteran, and his son William who did not fight, ambushed and killed after the war.
This newspaper clipping comes from the St. Louis Republic, June 15, 1900, and was replicated in the New York Times issue dated the same. Murder of Negro Confederate Veteran and his son. Note that the white Confederates vowed vengeance.
The New York Times article, matched pretty closely, but opened with “Two negroes” rather than stating their race after their names:
Dallas, Tex. – June 14. Two negroes, Henson Williams and his son William, were shot dead from ambush in Brazos County, while they were plowing in a field. Officers are searching for a white man who is believed to have shot them. The elder Williams fought through the Civil War as a Confederate soldier and made such a good record that he was made a full member of the Confederate Veteran’s camp at Milliken. The old white Confederate soldiers are enraged at the assassination and threaten vengeance on the assassin when captured.
From them we learn that Henson and William Williams were residents of Brazos County, Texas. His camp, Millican, is located in Brazos County, which indicates that he lived near to the city of Millican. Millican was a vital city to the Confederacy during the war of Northern aggression. It was Texas’ northernmost railroad terminus when the war began in 1861. It became a vital Confederate shipping point from the area extending to the Red River on the North. Supplies and provisions moved from Galveston and Houston to Millican on the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. Many Confederate troops came by rail to nearby Camp Speight and marched overland from here for duty in Louisiana and Arkansas.
I was able to locate a John Henson Williams, a Charles Henson Williams, a Thomas Henson Williams, a Henson Charles Williams, but am unsure if any of them align to this individual. I’ve emailed Texas Division Chief of Staff and Camp Commander William Boyd of Sul Ross Camp #1457 in nearby Bryan, TX to try and locate information on his service.