18th Indiana Infantry Regiment
William Harrison Ford, the son of Erastus and Polly Ford, was a twin to his brother Irvin. William H. was born about 1839. He died 12 April 1906, in the Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Quincy, Illinois.
William was 5 feet, 11 inches tall with gray eyes and light hair, according to Federal Civil War records. He was named for a hero of the War of 1812, General William Henry Harrison, who was an employer of his grandfather Moore when he lived in Ohio.
William Ford joined Company D, 18th Indiana Regiment Volunteer Infantry, July 15, 1861, for a three-year enlistment. He was 22 years old. He joined with William Ford Davis, his 20 year-old cousin. Davis was born in Switzerland County, Indiana, in 1841, the son of Sarah Ford and William Davis.
Davis was elected a Second Lieutenant of Company D, while William Ford was elected Sergeant. The regiment was mustered into its Federal service August 16, 1861 at Indianapolis, Indiana, with Thomas Pattison as Colonel.
The Regiment was sent August 17, 1861 to St. Louis, Missouri. They marched with their regiment to relieve Colonel Mulligan at Lexington, Missouri in September, but arrived too late to stop the Colonel's surrender to Confederate General Sterling Price. Company audit records show William Ford lost a canteen during August for which he had to pay.
The Regiment saw action at Shawnee Mound on the Blackwater River and captured 1,300 prisoners on December 18, 1861. During January and February 1862, the Regiment pursued CSA General Sterling Price to Cassville, Arkansas.
The two Williams fought in the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas March 6-8, 1862. On the 6th, their company attacked and saved a Union brigade from being captured. The regiment recaptured guns of the Peoria Artillery. On the next day, in the battle near Elkhorn Tavern, the advance of the regiment resulted in turning the Confederate's left flank and compelled the abandonment of the field of battle.
Both Williams with their regiment were at Sulphur Rock until May when they marched to Helena, Arkansas, where the regiment stayed until October. During July, August, and September 1862, William Ford went home to Indiana on recruiting duty.
The Regiment operated in southwest Missouri until March 5, 1863 when it went to Millikens Bend, Louisiana. It was transferred to General Grant's army. They fought in the Battle of Port Gibson Mississippi on May 1, the Battle of Champion's Hill May 16, and Big Black River Bridge May 17, 1863. William Davis was promoted to Captain of Company D.
The regiment participated in the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi. In May 1863, Captain Davis was sick for several days. Grant was planning his attack on Vicksburg. The Regimental doctor issued a written order that Captain Davis was to go to bed, but Davis insisted he must lead his troops. He made assaults on Vicksburg May 19 and 20, but afterwards, his illness got worse. (Today, there are two monuments on the Vicksburg battlefield to commemorate the participation of the 18th Indiana Infantry Regiment.)
Captain William Davis was very sick when he was put on a Mississippi River steamer and sent home to Indiana to recover. He lived only a few days, and is buried in the Davis Cemetery in the Posey Township, Switzerland County, Indiana.
William H. Ford continued with the Regiment. After the fall of Vicksburg, the regiment moved to Jackson, Mississippi and laid siege for seven days, July 10-17 1863. They returned to Vicksburg where William Ford became sick on or about August 10. He returned to duty by October 1863.
The regiment participated in the Western Louisiana Campaign from October 3 to November 6, when it moved to New Orleans and then into Texas, on November 12. Bill Ford participated in the capture of Mustang Island, November 17. This became the regiment's duty station until March 1864.
It is not clear from the records if William Ford participated in any of the fighting from November 1863 to June 1864. He was on recruiting duty at least part of this time. Company records indicate he was on recruiting duty on November 23. He appears on company records as returning from recruiting duty every couple of months. In June 1864, he was absent helping to raise a colored company. The company is not known.
Bill Ford transferred on April 15, 1864, to Co. F, 49th Regiment Indiana Infantry pursuant to Standing Order No. 19 on February 7, 1864. He was returned to his original company pursuant to War Department Circular 24 on May 17, 1864. A request was made May 16, 1864, for a private Harrison Ford Company D., 18th Regiment to be transferred to the 11th Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers. The request was made because of his volunteering to be office clerk. Company records state Sergeant William H. Ford detached on Matagorda Island, Texas for May and June 1864. He was promoted to First Sergeant.
First Sergeant William H. Ford was discharged at Indianapolis, Indiana, August 18, 1864 from the 18th Regiment because his term of service had expired. He then rejoined Company F, 49th Regiment, Indiana Infantry, again as First Sergeant. The Regiment was in Indiana on veteran furlough. The regiment was sent to Lexington, Kentucky, and did garrison duty until shipped to Louisville, Kentucky, September 7, 1865. The 49th Indiana was mustered out of service September 13, 1865. William H. Ford went home to Indiana. He and a brother went to Kansas.
William H. Ford died April 12, 1906 in the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in Quincy, Illinois.