William G Kendrick

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Photos from the Past

William G. Kendrick

Prepared for Sion S. Bass Post G. A. R.
Fort Wayne Ind. Feb. 26 1897
In Memory
William G. Kendrick
Late Captain of Company "A" 29th Regt.
Pennsylvania Infantry

Comrade Kendrick was a typical American, in his death the country lost a loyal citizen; the community a good neighbor; the ranks of the survivors of the war one of their brightest lights; and his family a living and devoted husband and father. He was the noblest work of God - an honest man.

To his friends and widow and children we can only extend the sympathy of comrades and commend them to Him who hath declared He will never leave nor forsake those who put their trust in Him. They need not mourn as in Him hope for truly he whom they so loved and we honored has fallen asleep and is gathered unto his fathers.

William G. Kendrick was born Aug. 26 - 1815, near Elkton - Cecil Co. Maryland: being descended from some of the earliest settlers in Delaware and Maryland. When he was but three years old, his father removed to what was then the West, settling near Dayton Ohio. His father, after remaining there about a year returned to the East with his family and died shortly after at Watertown Va. The early years of his life were spent in the neighborhood of Havre De Grace Maryland, and Wilmington, Del. After serving a seven years apprentice to a building trade, at the age of twenty-one, he made a ??non-readable line?? The Mississippi and Ohio rivers and stage route over the mountains. In 1837 at almost the age of 22, he shipped as a sailor before the mast in a four years whaling voyage to the Pacific, from the port of Wilmington, Del. He afterwards sailed from New London, New Bedford, and other ports made famous by the whaling industry.

He followed this occupation for ten years, having many varied and exciting experiences and by his own exertions he rose through successive promotions to the command of a vessel. During this period he sailed around the world three times, doubling(?) Cape Horn seven times. He visited many of the islands of the Pacific and all the continents adjoining.

On one trip he went among the cannibals on the Fiji Islands, for the purpose of seeing a feast, and an attempt being made to kill him, he came near being a victim instead of a spectator.

At another time with his boat's crew, they were adrift for several hours, clinging to the bottom of the broken boat off the coast of Kamchatka (the water was cold and none of the sailors could swim except Capt. Kendrick). This was the only time (he was heard to say) that his courage failed him and he "gave up", but fortunately for all, the last minute they were seen from the ship & rescued. After the return from his last voyage (When on shore after his last voyage) he met in Wilmington, Del. Miss Louisa (Louise) Stoddart of Philadelphia(,who was visiting her uncle the, Rev. Jos. Castle D.D. of the M.E. Church). This meeting led to their marriage on the 28th of Feb. 1849. He then moved to Lancaster, Pa., ( Immediately after his marriage he moved to Lancaster Pa, and engaged in the business of building contractor) and resided there (in that city) until the breaking out of the war (War of Rebellion) in 1861 - having filled many important positions - being a member of the School Board, President of the City Council, President of the Empire Hook & Ladder Co. and H.P. of the Royal Arch Masons.

His seven children were all born during his residence at Lancaster, five boys and two girls, all of whom are living at the present time, 1897.

He was a personal friend of James Buchanan and Thaddeus Stevens, and related many interesting reminiscences of their lives. At the breaking out of the war he (gave up his business) offered his services to the Government (He first applied to Hon. Gideon Wells, Sec. Of the Navy, and was recommended by him to Capt. Du Pont who had command of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, but owning to there being more officers than there were sips to assign them to, he did not receive an appointment.

He then proceeded to recruit a company for the service and (his first attempt was in the way of a battery of Artillery. Finding a disinclination among the recruits to join the Artillery he turned his attention to the Infantry and) was instrumental in raising what (was known as) became Company A of the 79th Regt. Pennsylvania Volunteers (Inft., Col. H. A. Hambright commanding). He was assigned to (given) the command of Company A and was mustered into service Aug 19, 1861 (his commission being signed by A.G. Curtain, Gov. of Penn.).

He left Lancaster with his and one other company Oct. 5 (,going as far as Harrisburg, where in a few days they joined by the remaining companies of the regiment). They were (then) ordered to Pittsburg where with the 77th and 78th (Penna. Vol. Inft.) Regiments, they were organized into a Brigade, known as "Negley's Brigade", under the command of Brig. Gen Jas. S. Negley. After a few days at Pittsburg the entire command was (placed on steamboats and conveyed down the Ohio River to) sent to Louisville Ky. Where it became a part of the army, under command of Maj. Gen. Buell.

Capt. Kendrick was almost continuously engaged on detail duty of various kinds until in February 1862, when he was granted a leave of absence for the benefit of his health for a short period. Recovering from his sickness he returned to the Army, then lying near Mumfordsville, Green River.

He was frequently detailed for special duty, having many brushes with the guerrilla John Morgan and his band. Having him detailed to run telegraph lines between Gen. Buell's army at Green River and Gen. Mitchell's army at Huntsville, Ala he was, during the temporary absence of the Cavalry escort, with fifteen of his command, captured by Morgan near Pulaski Tenn. on the 1st of May, 1862. Being paroled by Morgan he returned to the East and was ordered by the War Dept. to report at Baltimore, Md, to Gen. Wool in command of the Dept., he was (first assigned to Camp Parole, but shortly afterwards) made Military Instructor at Camp Belger to the 137th New York Vol. (Inft., Col.Rome commanding. At the expiration of their term of service) He was transferred to Ft. Federal Hill as Military Instructor of the 129th N.Y. Vol. (Inft. Col. P.A. Porter commanding) He also, at the same time became instructor of the 114th N.Y. Vol. Inft.

In the general exchange of prisoners in Jan. 1863 he was exchanged and returned to his Regiment in the Army of the Cumberland, reporting for duty Jan. 28th 1863. On Feb. 4th he was detached by order of Maj. Gen. Rosecrans, and placed upon the staff of Maj. Gen. Negley. Here he filled the positions of Act. Aide de Camp and Act. Asst. Adj. Gen. and Chief of Staff.

At the time the Army commenced its march from Murfreesborough to Tullahoma Tenn. he was made Inspector 2nd Brig. 2nd Div. 14th A. C. commanded by Col. T. R. Stanley. This Brigade was composed of the 18th and 69th Ohio, 19th Ills. and 11th Mich. Regts. He retained this office until after the battle of Chickamauga, participating in many fights and skirmishes during the march from Tullahoma over the mountains into Chattanooga. During the movements of the army in this campaign he (Capt. Kendrick) was frequently placed in command of important expeditions. One being the leading of the 18th Ohio Inft. to the top of Lookout Mt., where he arrived at daylight, surprising a regiment of Confederate Cavalry at breakfast, and dispersing them. Coming down the mountain on the opposite side, arriving at the base at sundown, he met (Maj.) General Thomas, who inquired where he had been, if he had seen the enemy, and whether he had lost any men. Receiving satisfactory answers, he gave him the (very) encouraging information that there was a five mile march before them, before they would go into camp for the night.

Capt. Kendrick participated with these troops in all the fierce fighting of the battle of Chickamauga. He was with the troops that gathered around Gen. Thomas on the brow of the hill when the most terrific charging was done. In one of the counter charges, he rallied the 19th Ill. and attempted to capture a Battery from which the gunners had fled. As his men attempted to seize the guns a second reserve line of Confederates that had been lying down, rose up, and with a terrific volley almost swept his command out of existence, leaving him standing alone.

In the charge in which the Confederate Gen. Adams (and his staff) was killed, as Gen. Adams fell Capt. Guthrie of the 19th Ill. reached out and caught him in his arms. Gen. Adams sword fell from his hands. A soldier picked it up and handed it to Capt. Kendrick, but he, not wishing to be encumbered, after glancing at the inscription on the blade, handed it back (other matters claiming his attention just at that time). He was then on foot, his horse having been shot from under him during an earlier charge.

He was one of the small group of officers standing by Gen. Thomas side when Gen. Steadman's Brigade was sighted in the distance. (Considerable anxiety was experienced until it was known who they were. The troops to which he was attached were the last to leave the field,) When the army fell back in Rossville, he received orders from Gen. Brannon to gather up the men as the army was going to retire. One of his duties on the field, as the sun was going down, was to go among the dead and wounded, gathering up cartridges and distributing them among the men in line, giving to each one cartridge with strict injunction not to fire until the last moment and then use the bayonet. It did not come to this as the expected charge never came, and the army withdrew in silence, unmolested.

After the reorganization of the Army of the Cumberland, Capt. Kendrick was, on Oct. 13, 1863, assigned to the command of the 79th Pa. Vol. (Inft.), his old Regiment. On Oct. 30th he resigned his commission, having received an injury to his knee, by the shooting of his horse at the battle of Chickamauga, which turned out more serious than he at that time anticipated. As soon as the siege of Chattanooga was raised, and his resignation accepted, he returned to his home in Lancaster Pa. After his return home he made application for a position in Gen. Hancock's Veteran Reserve Corps, at that time forming, but as Pennsylvania was not organizing any regiment for that corps, he failed to secure the appointment.

When making this application he received many letters from his former comrades in the army, highly commending him for his ability and courage. Among these was one from Maj. Gen. Geo. H. Thomas.

He was then (Having been) appointed Inspector in the Commissary Dept., at Baltimore, Md, he removed there with his family (remaining but a short time, when he again removed, but this time to Wilmington Del. where he became engaged in the contracting business. About 1872 he removed to his old home in Lancaster Pa. He remained there until after the financial panic in 1874, when hihs eldest son, having married and gone West, he followed in 1875, going to Springfield Ohio). In 1875 he removed to Springfield, Ohio. (He remained there practicing as an Architect, until July 1884… ) In July 1884 he removed to Ft. Wayne, where he resided until his death, which took place on Wed. Feb. 10, 1897.

While in Springfield, Ohio, he became a member of Mitchell Post, G.A.R. Shortly after he removed to Ft. Wayne, he became a member of Sion S. Bass Post G.A.R., but through declining health he ceased being an active member and discontinued his attendance.

His connection with the army has always been a source of great pride to him, and the meeting with those who had seen service or reading of their deeds (while there) afforded him great pleasure. His family were all present at his death, and while grieving (loath) to part with him, they have the pleasing satisfaction of knowing that he left behind him a record for unsullied honor and undaunted courage.

His age at death was 81 years (4 months 5 days).

"His long life's march is ended,
His battles fought and won."


Photograph and information submitted by William G. Kendrick's great grandson, Dr. David W. Bash.


William G. Kendrick