William James Lathan

Click image for larger version
Confederate Army Veteran

William James Lathan was a farmer and served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He was a Sgt. in Company D, 17th South Carolina Infantry. He and his wife Amelia Beam (click text to go to her bio.) had eight children.


William James Lathan enlisted in Co.D, 17th Regiment South Carolina Volunteer Infantry on January 15, 1862. He originally served under Captain James Beaty but apparently had several other company commanders due to casualties among the officer corps. Campaigning during 1862 is not documented in the part of his records held by the National Archives in their collection of capture southern records. He is, however, shown as being paid in June of 1862. Other sources, including The Proceedings of the Southern Historical Society, give details of his regiment and his company involved in several major engagements during this period. Among these were, the Rappahannock Campaign, Malvern Hill and the Second Battle of Manassas where it was part of Evan's Brigade and suffered 66% casualties. His brother, the "Scribbler of the Family", has a graphic description of the battle, "Gleaning" the battlefield and the march to Antietam. Both sources show their Regiment was in the thick of the fighting at Antietam, Sharpsburg, Boonesboro, South Mountain. His brother, Samuel Boston Lathan, was wounded and captured at the Battle of South Mountain. The fighting at South Mountain was a fierce holding action to slow the Union forces as they crossed the mountains on the "Old National Highway".

To see a more detailed description of Sgt. William James Lathan's part of the Battle of South Mountain, the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg, Maryland and the Battle of Second Manassas, including photos, a map and text click on the following text. Lathans and the 17th S.C. Infantry Regiment.

During the period, December 13 & 14, 1862, his company was in the Battle of Kinston, N.C. Even though there is no specific mention in his records, it is safe to assume he was with his company through all of the campaigning described so far due to the location of his outfit as mentioned in the following entry.

In January of 1863, he is listed as being sick with Typhoid Fever and apparently did not return to his company until October of 1863. During this illness he was in the C.S.A. General Military Hospital, No.4, in Wilmington, N.C. During part of this time he was on a list of those "Disabled". It seems logical that he was in the Battle of Kinston, N.C. due to his being put into this particular hospital. Interestingly his brother, Samuel Boston Lathan was listed as being in this same hospital during part of the same period due to his wound at Antietam/South Mountain, Maryland. It is also logical the, Sgt. W. J. Lathan, missed the fighting that his regiment was involved in at Jackson, MS in support of the Confederate troops retreating from Vicksburg, MS. This campaign occurred during the period of May-July of 1863 which was while Sgt. W. J. Lathan was sick.

Beginning, October of 1863, he was again with his company through December of 1864 except for two short illnesses. The first time was for an illness that can not be read from the microfilm record, but lasted only from May 16, 1864 until May 23, 1864. During this period he was again hospitalized in the C.S.A. General Military Hospital, No.4, at Wilmington, N.C. He is shown to have returned to his company at Petersburg, VA. on the 23 of May 1864. During the second of these illnesses he was hospitalized in the Jackson Hospital at Richmond, VA. This second illness was listed as, "Jaundice", and lasted from October 4, 1864 until October 21, 1864. The Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, VA occurred at the end of July 1864. Since this battle was between the two illnesses and his company was assigned to the fort that was blown up, he should have been in the thick of it.

Records at the National Archives due not contain any mention of the period between the "Crater" and the end of the war. The next entry in Sgt. W. J. Lathan's record is his parole on April 10, 1865, the day after Gen. Rob't. E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, VA.
Analysis: It appears that in spite of several major and minor illnesses that Sgt. William James Lathan was in the Battles of Second Manassas; Antietam/Sharpsburg/South Mountain; Kinston, N.C.; Malvern Hill, VA (Richmond, VA.); the Rappahannock Campaign and the siege of Petersburg, VA. including the Battle of the Crater.

Captured Records of Troop Movements
And Events
Co.D, 17th South Carolina Infantry (Confederate)

Date of Bi-Monthly Return

January 15, 1862

A Muster Roll for this company at Camp Hampton near Columbia, S.C.
Transcriber's note: The history of the 17th South Carolina Infantry Regiment in Proceedings of the Southern Historical Society, published by the Southern Historical Society of Richmond, VA., states that this regiment was engaged in the Second Battle of Manassas in August of 1862. It also states that this regiment was engaged in the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg/South Mountain, MD. They suffered 66% casualties at Manassas and similar heavy casualties at South Mountain, MD. One of the wounded at South Mountain, MD. was Samuel Boston Lathan. The returns for this period were either lost in a fire at the National Archives around 1900 or never recovered when Union forces captured documents when Richmond fell to their control.
November - December, 1862

Company was at Camp Kershaw. This company left camp near Winchester, VA. on 30 Oct., marched to Culpeper, Va. in four days, a distance of 70 miles, got aboard the cars (train) and left Culpeper on 7 Nov., arrived at Weldon, N.C. Nov. 8, remained there two days. Marched seven miles to Halifax, N.C. Went from Halifax to Tarboro to Kinston, N.C. Encamped 5 miles east of Kinston. This company was in the engagement near Kinston on Saturday & Sunday, 13 & 14 Dec. No one was killed or wounded. On 17 Dec. marched from Falling Creek to Goldsboro, remained there four days & then came back to Kinston, N.C. where it is at present encamped. Our man (Corps) Wm. Ritchie has been missing since the fight on Sunday, 14 Dec. & has not been heard from since.
January - February, 1863

This company received orders to leave Kinston, N.C. on 6 Feb., 1863 at which place they got aboard the cars (train) & went to Wilmington, arriving at this place on 7 Feb.1863 where we remained until the evening of the 8th. Marched that evening some three miles from the city & bivouacked for the night, marched in morning of the 9th, again took up train of march & proceeded some ten miles where we encamped being on or near Topsail Sound, N.C. here we remained until 25 Feb.1863 when we again struck tents & took up line of march going about 15 miles & arriving at our destination, pitched tents on Marlboro Road about 4 miles from Wilmington, N.C.
September - October, 1863

At Secessionville. About the last of September the company left Mt. Pleasant where it had camped after its return from Savannah and marched to Camp Nelson near the line of entrenchments, a distance of 5 or 6 miles. On the 10th of Oct. the Reg't. was ordered to Secessionville. Marched to Mount Pleasant embarked on the boat about 4 o'clock A.M., marched 3 or 4 miles in the direction of Secessionville, remained there until Monday evening when it proceeded to Secessionville where it is at present camped.
November - December, 1863

This company was last mustered at Secessionville and was relieved from that post on or about the first day of December, 1863 and was ordered to Sulivans Island to which place we came by boat landing at Mt. Pleasant and marched across the bridge and took position near the center of the island on the right of the Brigade and has since been doing picket duty on the beach and in front of the Batteries & Rifle pits.
January - February, 1864

This company was last mustered Jan. 1st on Sulivans Island where they remained doing picket & guard duty until the 12th day of Feb. when we received orders late in the evening to march at 8 o'clock, were taken by boat and landed at pontoon bridge on James Island. Remained one day and returned the next night to Sulivans Island. On the next night we received orders to take up a line of march, we landed at the depot of the Savannah R.R., taken by train for Green Bend Station, at 7 o'clock A.M. a distance from R.R. about 40 miles. We then encamped one day, then moved to winter quarters, joined by the 5th Reg't. of Ga. (Cav.). This company was then detailed to move the guns of Battery Stock _______(unreadable) which place we arrived on _______(unreadable) the 21st day of Feb., 1864.
March - April, 1864

This company together with Regiment left Green Bend, on 16 April, was being ordered to proceed by R.R. to Wilmington, N.C. arrived at Wilmington, N.C. on 19 April being a distance of 255 miles on ___________nd April. Ordered then to Charlotte, N.C. This company together with Cos.E & G had charge of prisoners which we carried through with out one missing. After delivering the prisoners in (Wilmington, N.C.?) _________(unreadable) the company was ordered to the (camp we had ?) (barely readable.) occupied before spring to Tarboro, N.C., arriving there the morning of the 1st of May, 1864.
July - August, 1864

Petersburg, Va. This company has been on the front line for the last two months near the (Boater?) (unreadable) Rd. Has had heavy skirmishing most of the time, had an engagement on the 30th of July, held the enemy in check at the crater from 5 o'clock A.M. till 9 o'clock A.M., 4 hours. Assisted the home division in the charge to retake the works in the engagement, 29 enlisted (men?) & one officer were captured, three privates severely wounded two of whom have since died.
September - October, 1864

Petersburg, Va. Since last muster this company has been in the trenches in front of Petersburg, Va. all the time with the exception of one day only. One man viz. Private Johnston has been wounded during that time.
November - December, 1864

This company at last muster was in reserve on the Jerusalem Plank, Rd. in rear of what is known as the "Crater". While here we worked every other night on Batteries Harris & Dalgan near the Appomattox River. Here was killed private G. S. McElduff when returning from a working party. November 31, we went into the trenches occupying a portion of the line near the Wilcox(?) House. (On) Dec. 8th, we moved to the right, near the Weldon? R.R. relieving a portion of Wilcox's(?) Division. We remained here until the evening of 13 Dec. when Wilcox's(?) Division returned. We came back & occupied nearly the same fortification we did before this move.
January - February, 1865

Since last muster this company has been in the trenches in front of Petersburg near the Wilcox Barn. Had no casualties. Lost four men by desertion.

Transcriber's Notes: The next two months of the war are not covered by captured "returns". These months ended in a mad scramble westward in an effort to escape the Union Army. It failed. For more detail about the last days of this company and the 17th Inf. Reg't. S.C. see the article in Vol.22., pp. 22-25, Southern Historical Society Papers, published by the Southern Historical Society at Richmond, VA. Reading these "Returns" was a very difficult job and without the help of my son's young and able eyes I might never have completed it. Thanks, Brad! William C. Lathan, Jr.

Source: Photocopies of a card file made from captured Confederate documents owned by the National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.

Note: William James Lathan's Inmate Record, an outline of his general health at the time he entered the Confederate Home in Columbia, S.C., where he died, states the following: He had had a stroke, was without support (?), had a skin cancer on one hand, had very high blood pressure and was "Feeble". Furthermore, he stated that he had been wounded. Nowhere in his Service Records does a wound or treatment show up. Research and general knowledge has shown that this was frequently the case. What would today be recorded in a soldier's medical record as a "Minor Flesh Wound", e.g. a "graze" or " low level soft tissue pass through" were treated by the soldier himself due to the lack of availability of medical care or FEAR of the available medical care.

Source: Occupation and locations-U. S. Census records

William James Lathan was a patient (inmate) in the Confederate Soldier's Home in Columbia S.C. at the time of his death. His "Inmate's Record" (they used inmate as we would use patient today) is on file in the South Carolina State Archives in Columbia, S.C. The photocopy that was provide by the state archives was of such poor quality, due to age, that it could not be scanned. A transcript of that record follows.
Confederate Home
Inmate's Record

Name: W. J. Lathan

Where from: Chester Co.

Date of birth: April 18, 1840

Age: 86

Single Married Widowed: Yes (under "Married" check block on form)

Name of father: S. M. Lathan

Birthplace of father: Fairfield Co. SC

Maiden name of mother: Martha Patterson

Birthplace of mother: Fairfield Co.

When did you enter C. S. service? April 9, 1861

Company: "D"

Regiment: 17th S.C.

Brigade: blank

Were you wounded in service? Yes

Names of relatives or friends with whom to communicate in case of illness or death.

Name: T. A. Lathan (Toy Alanzo Lathan - a son who lived in Columbia, S.C. at the time)

Post office (spelling on form): Columbia

Telephone office: Does not know

Telegraph office: ditto marks indicating same answer as previous question

Admitted in Home: August 24, 1926

From: Chester County

Discharged from home: blank

Cause of Discharge: some notes spilled over from next question (see below)

Died in Home: April 4, 1927 at 3:30 P.M.

Cause of death: blank

(another column to the right of this was on the original)
Medical Record to be taken by Physician in charge:

Personal history: Very Good -

Family history: Relatives living are all in good health. No deaths in family from contagious diseases.

Previous history: Negative

Present history: Shows after effects of a stroke of Paralysis. Cancer on left Hand-

Special examination of urin (spelling on form): Negative

Special examination of lungs: Lungs - normal, Heart - enlarged, General Condition - Feeble

Subsequent history: Blood Pressure - S. 180, D. 110

Discharged from home: blank

Death in home: blank

Cause: blank

(signed) Geo. K Nelson, M. D.

William James Lathan died in testate. His probate and administration were filed in 1926. The month and date of the administration were not filled in and a piece of "pleading paper" was pasted over one section where heirs are listed so that a large correction could be made.
Petition for Letters of Administration

State of South Carolina, County of Fairfield IN THE PROBATE COURT.
Ex Parte: John W. Lyles, as clerk of Court of Common Pleas

Re: Estate of: W. J. Latham (an error) Deceased

To W. L. Holley Probate Judge for said county.

The Petition of the undersigned, respectfully represents:

1. That W. J. Latham (an error), who last dwelt in said County of Fairfield, State aforesaid, died intestate on the _____(blank) day of ______(blank) in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and 26, possessed of goods and estate remaining to be administer, leaving as his only heirs at law and next of kin, the persons whose names, residence, age and relationship to the deceased are are (repeated on printed form (an error) follows. viz: (Show by subdivision into family groups the names of persons taking through any predeceased heir at law. Bracket off each group and show opposite each bracket the name of the predeceased heir through whom they take.) (no brackets were added, no ages, whom they take through in the case of deceased heirs was done in writing not by brackets)

Mrs. W. J. Lathan Columbia, S.C. - Widow
Rev. M. L. Lathan Legrange, Texas - Son
W.W. Lathan Blackstock, S.C. - Son
Mrs. Maggie Cooper Columbia, S.C. - Daughter
R. S. Lathan Macon, Ga. - Son
Sarah Foster Roanoke, Va. - Daughter
Toy A. Lathan Columbia, S.C. - Son
Carrie Wade Roanoke, Va. - (blank) (She was his daughter.)

Eugene Robinson Corsicana, Tex - Grandson
Cora Emma Johnston Eldorado, Ark - Granddaughter
John Paul Robinson Corsicana, Tex - Grandson
Byron Robinson Eldorado, Ark - Grandson
Ervin Robinson Corsicana, Texas - (blank)
Children of Mattie P. Robinson - a predeceased daughter of intestate.


Milburn Lathan - Grandson
Chester Lathan - Grandson
Carl Lathan - Grandson
Amelia Lathan - Granddaughter

Children of S. J. Lathan, a predeceased son of the in testate.


(i) Mules, horses, cattle, hogs, she, etc. none $_______________
(j) Automobiles, auto trucks, motorcycles, etc. none $_______________
(k) Jewelry, silver plate, watches and other personal effects none $_______________
(l) Live or other insurance made payable to the estate none $_______________
(m) Value of all other personal property not listed above none $_______________
3. That the intestate died seized and possessed of real estate of about the value of none___
__________________ ($____________) Dollars, as follows:

(Enter each tract and lot on a separate line.)

No. of Acres or Value of No. of Value of Total value of Exact Location
lots Land buildings. building. each lot and (Show County, Township and School
tract including District)


Final Return on W. J. Lathan Estate

W. J. LATHAN, deceased.

Cash on deposit Bank of Blackstock at death of intestate
and Interest on deposit.

Total Cash on deposit
Interest on deposit

W. L. Holley, Judge
  Total Disbursements
Probate Costs
$ 10.00
J. W. Lyles, Comms. on receipts
News & Herald Publication Citation
The Kennedy Co. Account
News & Herald (Publication notice to creditors)
Douglas & Douglas, attorney's fee
W. L. Holley, Judge Probate (costs including final discharge)
R. E. Arnette, Comms. on disbursements

Balance for distribution
Share Mrs. Amelia Lathan 1/3
" Rev. M. L. Lathan
" W. W. Lathan
" Maggie Cooper
" R. S. Lathan
" Sarah Foster
" Toy Lathan
" Carrie Wade
" Eugene Robinson
" Cora Emma Johnston
" John Paul Robinson
" William Byron Robinson
" Luther Irvin Robinson
" Annie Louise Robinson
" Milburn E. Lathan
" Chester J. Lathan
" Carlie A. Lathan
" Amelia E. Lathan


Costs as itemized above
Total Disbursed
* Arithmetic Error in final total.

State of South Carolina
Fairfield County.

Personally appears R. E. Arnette, who being duly sworn says that the foregoing constitutes a just and
true final return as administrator of the estate of W. J. Lathan, deceased.

Sworn to and subscribed (signed R. E. Arnette, C. C. P.
before me this 13th day and as admins.)
August, A. S. 1928
Ella. E. Beaty (?name hard to read?) (L. S.)
Notary Public for South Carolina.


There appears to have been some controversy over the settlement. W.W. Lathan filed papers
in what appears to be an attempt to get a larger share of the settlement due W. J. Lathan and
Amelia Lathan living with him for a few months. A petition for deposing Amelia Lathan and
that deposition are below. W.W. Lathan's claim was denied the payout above does not include
the $700 claim of W.W. Lathan

The petition to file an objection to W. W. Lathan's claim.

R. K. Wise
Attorney At Law
1227 Washington Street
Columbia, S.C.

May 18, 1928

Honorable W. L. Holley,
Probate Judge for
Fairfield County,
Winnsboro, south Carolina.

My dear Judge:

RE: Estate of W. L. (a mistake on original) Lathan.

I am handing you herewith formal objection in the claim of W.W. Lathan,
in the sum of $700.00, filed with Honorable John W. Lyles, administrator. I am also
enclosing herewith petition to take a deposition of Mrs. Amelia Lathan, ordering that U. L.
Rast, Notary Public, take a deposition of Mrs. Amelia Lathan at the Old Soldiers Home. This
order provides for giving ten days notice, as required by law, upon Honorable john W. Lyles,
Administrator and Mr. w. W. Lathan. After filing said objection and petition I will appreciate
you signing original order and return to me in the enclosed and stamped envelope in order
that I might proceed with deposition in this case. I am enclosing herewith copy of order for
your file, as original order will be made part of said deposition, which will be mailed you as
soon as same has been taken.

With kind personal regards, I am
Yours very truly,

(signed R. K. Wise)
R. K. Wise.



Deposition of Amelia Lathan

14. Did you or your husband convey any other land to any ofyour other children in
1918 or any other time"
Ans: Not that I rmember - Objected to by McDonald & McDonald

Cross Examination by Mr. Mc Donald

I am 76 years old at present time.

Mr. Lathan was 87 when he died.

He was paralyzed 18 of Feb. 1926.

Never walked any more after being paralyzed.

Dr. Lews (sp.? hard to read) of Blackstock treated him first and Dr. Brawley next.

Mr. Lathan was in real good health before being paralyzed. No children
were living with them at the time he was paralyzed. Mr. Toy Lathan was in
Columbia at that time.

Mrs. Foster and Mrs. Waid both lived in Virginia. Had son W. S. Lathan living in
Macon. Luther Lathan lived in Texas. Mrs. Cooper, a daughter, living in
Columbia. Walter lived about 1/2 mile from us a place I gave him. Walter
was farming at that time. At time Mr. Lathan was paralyzed we were living alone.

Mr. Lathan required service to lift him after being paralyzed.

(line lost in copy process by State Archives)

He did not work very much before he was paralyzed. He was at Walter's
for a month or two after he was paralyzed. I was there too. Mr. Lathan
furnished everything while at Walter's that Mr. Lathan and I ate.

Question by R. N. Wise:

Did Walter Lathan ever do anything for Mr. Lathan without charge?
Answer: No. He got pay for everthing he did.

(Signed Mrs. W. J. Lathan- in her shaky handwritting)
subscribed and sworn to )
before me this 1st day )
of August, 1928. )

(signed U. L. Rast) (L.S.)

This is to certify that the foregoing is the deposition and
testimony of Armelia (sp mistake in original) Lathan, testifying as a witness
in the above entitled cause, taken by me and reduced to writing by me a
Notary Public in and for the State of South Carolina, at 4:30 o'clock, on the
1st day of August, 1928, at The Old Soldier's Home, in Columbia, South
Carolina, in pursuant of the notice hereto annexed and made a part of this
certificate to be used as evidence in a certain cause pending in the Probate
Court of Fairfield County.