William Gilreath

Date of Birth


Date of Death

May 2, 1864

Letters Authored


Letters Received


William Gilreath was born 184 years ago.
159 years ago, William Gilreath passed away at the age of 25.

Letters Authored in Collection


The letter is a communication to Mr. William H. Goodlett from William W. Gilreath that Mr. Goodlett's son, Marion Goodlett has been killed in battle. Francis Marion Goodlett and William W. Gilreath were privates serving in Co. B of the 2nd South Carolina Infantry. Both men enlisted at Greenville, for State duty, April 13, 1861; mustered into Confederate service, May 23, 1861. William Gilreath was captured at Gettysburg along with his brother Lawrence P. Gilreath who was wounded. Lawrence subsequently died from his wounds; William remained at Gettysburg serving as a nurse and was reported on muster rolls of August 31, and October 31, 1863, as a prisoner in the hands of the enemy. He was reported on muster rolls of December 31, 1863, and February 29, 1864, as at Greenville, furloughed by the Secretary of War until exchanged. It is likely that Marion and William were not only comrades in arms but were probably acquainted, friends, or even distantly related before their service. The text of the letter itself suggests that Private Gilreath and Mr. Goodlett had a mutual familiarity with several individuals mentioned, and at one point William asks Mr. Goodlett to communicate to his sisters that he is well. A decade after Marion's death, Mr. Goodlett, who was then widowed, married a second time to William Gilreath's second cousin, Hannah Caroline Gilreath.

The letter, written from “the rifle pits around Cold Harbor” was actually written as the Battle of Cold Harbor was being waged. William Gilreath describes the hurried burial of Marion Goodlett on the contested field and that as the battle lines had shifted, the grave site was at the moment of his writing between the two armies. The dateline on the letter, May 3, 1864, was undoubtedly written in error by William, and should have been June 3, 1864. Records indicate that the events referred to by William, i.e., Sargent Gerard Dyer's death, James Shumate's and C. W. D'Oyley's injuries all took place on June 2 or 3, 1864. The 2nd South Carolina was in fact, in and around Spotsylvania Courthouse until May 24.

Father: Alfred Gilreath, b. 29 Oct 1801, d. Oct 1863.
Mother: Evadotia Brock, b. 18 Sep 1803, married 5 Jun 1830, d. abt. 1849
Step-Mother: E. Mariah Shockley, b. 29 Jul 1810, d. 16 Mar 1888, married to Alfred abt. 1849

Abimahlech Martial Gilreath, b. 17 Jun 1832
Mary Eveline Gilreath, b. 20 Jul 1833
Nancy Elizabeth Gilreath, b. 23 Apr 1835
Julia Burns Gilreath, b. 8 Sep 1836
Amelia Gilreath, b. 4 Mar 1838
Lawrence Perry Gilreath, b. 25 Sep 1840
Eliza Lascitee Gilreath, b. 11 Dec 1842
Benjamin Jabez Gilreath, b. 11 Oct 1848
Andrew Nolan Gilreath, b. 28 Sep 1852 (Mother E. Mariah Shockley)

William Gilreath, 11, is enumerated in the Census as living in Greenville, South Carolina. In the household is listed: Alfred Gilreath, 49, farmer, Mariah Gilreath , 40, Abemalic Gilreath , 19, Mary Gilreath, 17, Julia Gilreath, 14, Amelia Gilreath, 13, Lawrence Gilreath, 10, Benjamin Gilreath, 2, Caroline Gilreath, 4/12 and Allen Smith, 18, laborer.

William Gilreath, 21, is enumerated in the Census as living in Greenville, South Carolina. In the household is listed: Alfred Gilreath, 58, farmer, Mariah Gilreath , 50, Julia Gilreath, 23, Permelia Gilreath, 22, Lucretia Gilreath, 19, Eliza Gilreath, 17, Benjamin Gilreath, 11, Emma Gilreath, 9, and Andrew N. Gilreath, 7.

Marion Goodlett, 9, is enumerated as living in Greenville, South Carolina. In the household is listed: William Goodlett, 32, Frances Goodlett, 25, Robert Goodlett, 7, Martha goodlett, 5, and Eugenia Goodlett, 3.

F. M. Goodlett, 18, a clerk, is enumerated as living in Greenville, South Carolina in the household of M. B. Earle, a physician. Also enumerated is Theron Earle, 7, and Hannah Earle, 5.

Enumerated in Greenville, South Carolina in the household of William H. Goodlett, 40, are the following: Frances Goodlett, 39, Robert Goodlett, 16, Martha Goodlett, 13, Wugenia Goodlett, 11, Mathew Goodlett, 9, Spartan Goodlett, 7, William Goodlett, 5, and Mildred Goodlett, 1.