A recently encountered photograph, taken January 1, 1908, depicts a gathering of Confederate veterans at Hahira, GA. Among them was William Joseph Lamb, who long resided in Georgia Militia District 1144, the Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City) District, Berrien County, GA.
William J Lamb joined General Levi J. Knight’s “Berrien County Minutemen,” Company C , Georgia 29th Infantry Regiment in Nashville, GA on August 1, 1861. On the 16th of May, 1862 he was appointed 3rd Sergeant of Company E, Georgia 54th Infantry Regiment. In September 1864 he was shot in the leg. He was sent to a hospital, then furloughed home. Later, Dr. H. M. Talley and Dr. M.Y. Allen, who examined William for his confederate veterans pension application, described the injury, “a gunshot wound just below the right knee, the leg was fractured and gangrene set in.” While William was recuperating at home the war ended.
Before the Civil War, William J. Lamb was one of the wealthiest men in Berrien County, with a total estate of $17,880 in the Census of 1860. In 2009 dollars that would have been about $58 million. But by 1870, the relative worth of his estate had declined by 97 percent. By 1872, the Berrien County tax digest shows that William J. Lamb owned no land. He had $20 cash on hand and other personal property valued at $304 dollars. He employed one hand, a freedman named Morris Wilkins. By 1900, completely penniless and unable to support himself, William J. Lamb applied for and eventually received an Indigent Confederate Veteran’s Pension from the State of Georgia.
William J. Lamb passed away on June 13, 1908 just six months after the group photo above was taken. He was buried in Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. (see Obituary of William J. Lamb ~ died June 13, 1908)
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