Colonel James A. Williamson

Series: Characters in the story Chronicles of War.

One of the officers Job Trites encountered was the leader of 4th Iowa Infantry, Colonel James Alexander Williamson. 

Born in Kentucky, Williamson moved to Iowa at the age of 15.  Eventually he enrolled as a law student and was admitted to the bar.  Just prior to the Civil War he was active in local politics.  When the war broke out, he enlisted in Iowa’s 4th Infantry and served as a First Lieutenant.  He was wounded at Pea Ridge and promoted to the rank of Colonel. 

Williamson and the 4th Infantry spent the fall of 1862 on garrison duty at Helena, Arkansas.  It was there that Job Trites first encountered the man, writing home of him to his wife Harriet, “a different breed of brass.”  In the last days of December 1862, Colonel Williamson led his men into battle at Chickasaw Bayou–against “a superior force, strongly entrenched, and he held his ground even after all support had withdrawn.”  Williamson was wounded again.  For his bravery and service at Chickasaw, Williamson would eventually be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Williamson continued in service to the Union, leading men at Vicksburg and then in battles at Chatanooga, Lookout Mountain and Atlanta.  He retired a Brigadier General.

Williamson was observed to be a quiet man.  He never spoke much of his home or family although men around him knew that they were very important to him.  He was observed to be a man of quiet faith–able to quote a verse of scripture and recall a bible story with the best of them–yet never preachy.  You can find much on this great leader by simply Googling his name.

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