Author: Stuart W. Sanders

the community services administrator, the Civil War heritage specialist, and the assistant to the director for the Lincoln Bicentennial at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky

William R. Terrill (1834–1862)

William R. Terrill was a Virginia-born Union general during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Three of his brothers fought for the Confederacy, two of whom died, including James B. Terrill, who was killed in 1864. Disowned by his family, William Terrill distinguished himself in the Western Theater of the war, including at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. A strict disciplinarian, he was “a drunken old tyrant” in the words of one soldier. Others were more sympathetic, with a Union captain arguing that he was “a first rate fighting man.” Terrill was promoted to brigadier general in September 1862 and, in October, commanded a brigade at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, where he struggled with coordinating both infantry and artillery, raw recruits and professional soldiers. He was killed in the fighting.


James B. Terrill (1838–1864)

James B. Terrill was a Confederate general during the American Civil War (1861–1865). As the longtime colonel of the 13th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Terrill fought in nearly every major battle of the Eastern Theater. Confederate general Robert E. Lee called the 13th Virginia “a splendid body of men,” while Confederate general Richard S. Ewell noted that it was “the only regiment in my command that never fails.” Jubal A. Early declared that the unit “was never required to take a position that they did not take it, nor to hold one that they did not hold it.” Noted for his bravery and respected by superiors, Terrill was killed at the Battle of Bethesda Church the day before his appointment to brigadier general was confirmed by the Confederate Senate. Two of Terrill’s brothers also died in the war, one fighting for the Confederacy, the other for the Union.