All Biographies

You are here: Home > Brevet Brigadier-General William F. Draper, U.S.V.    

Brevet Brigadier-General William F. Draper, U.S.V.

Brevet Brigadier-General William F. Draper was born in Lowell, Mass., April 9, 1842. His parents were George and Hannah Thwing Draper, both now deceased. George Draper was a remarkable man for strength of character, energy, and intellect, and left a record of usefulness excelled by few of his contemporaries. One of his ancestors, Major Abijah Draper of Dedham, fought in the Revolutionary War.

His eldest son, William, received an education for Harvard University. This was interspersed with periods of labor in machine-shops and cotton-mills.

The war changed his plans, and on the 9th of August, 1861, he enlisted in a local volunteer company that George Draper was instrumental in raising. This company became Company B of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, and William F. Draper was chosen second lieutenant. His war experience extended over nearly four years' campaigning. First, in the Burnside Expedition he became signal-officer on the general's staff, engaging in the battles of Roanoke Island, New-Berne, and Fort Macon when he was promoted first lieutenant and returned to his regiment. In August, 1862, he was commissioned captain in the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts, and joined his regiment just after the battle of South Mountain, Maryland. With the Thirty-sixth he went through the rest of the Antietam campaign and battle of Fredericksburg, and was then sent to Newport News. Then several months were spent pursuing Morgan's cavalry in Kentucky.

In June, 1863, he joined Grant's army at Vicksburg, taking part in the capture, and subsequently in the march to Jackson and the fighting in that locality. His regiment was reduced, from fighting and sickness, from six hundred and fifty in June to one hundred and ninety-eight in September. During this campaign he was promoted major of the regiment.

In August, 1863, he returned to Kentucky, and marched through Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee. Then the siege of Knoxville and battles of Blue Springs, Campbell's Station, and Strawberry Plains were fought, Major Draper commanding the regiment after the 10th of October, in the place of Colonel Goodell, who was wounded.

In the spring of 1864 his corps was moved to Annapolis and partially recruited, then joining the Army of the Potomac. In the battle of the Wilderness, on the 6th of May, he was shot through the body while leading his regiment on the top of a rifle-pit just being captured by his men. After having been left on the field as hopelessly wounded, and being captured by, and recaptured from, the rebels, he was saved and sent to a hospital in Washington. He was commissioned lieutenant-colonel from this state, and served as colonel the rest of his service.

After partially recovering from the wound, he joined his regiment during the siege of Petersburg, and took command of a brigade at the Weldon Railroad engagement. A month later, at Poplar Grove Church and Pegram Farm, his division was severely engaged and cut off from the rest. His regiment was the only one of the brigade that came out as an organization, and they brought back the colors of several others. He was again wounded in the shoulder by a nearly-spent ball.

On the 12th of October his service expired, and he accepted a discharge, as his wounds were troublesome. He was brevetted colonel and brigadier-general for "gallant service during the war." Both regiments he was engaged with were "fighting regiments," the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts losing seventy per cent. of their number, killed or wounded, in one engagement (Cold Harbor), while the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts, in the campaign beginning with the Wilderness, had every field and line-officer, except one, killed or wounded, and three-fourths of the enlisted men.

The war over, he then engaged in the manufacture of cotton-machinery, and is now at the heart of the firm of George Draper & Sons, beside being president or director in more than twenty other manufacturing, railroad, or insurance companies, etc. He is a mechanical expert, and an inventor with a record of fifty patents.

General Draper served for three years on Governor Long's staff, had a hot fight for the gubernatorial nomination in 1888, and is now elected to Congress from the Eleventh Massachusetts District, having defeated his Democratic opponent by two thousand five hundred. He is a well-known writer on economics, and was during the last year president of the Home-Market Club.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

Related Links:



Access Genealogy
One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research!

Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb
The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree
Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree.

Free Genealogy Charts
These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it.

Copyright, 2005-2010 by Webified Development all rights reserved.