Cdv and 1872 letter signed of William English, mortally wounded by Nez Perce Indians at the Battle of Big Hole Valley, Montana, August 9-10, 1877. English was shot through the back, seriously, and the scalp, slight; and he died August 19, 1877.
The letter is dated May 17th, 1872 and written from Fort Buford, D.T. The image is signed on the back and has a Jacksonville, IL b/m. Included is a binder full of research on the battle and English himself.
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English was commissioned a 2d Lt. in the 101st. Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, on May 1, 1863. He was promoted to 1st. Lt., in 1864, and mustered out of service in 1865. He was appointed 2cd. Lt, in the US Regular Army in 1867, and was listed as Lt. in 7th infantry at Ft. Buford, Dakota Territory in 1871.
William was a member of Harmony Lodge No. 3, at Jacksonville, and became a Charter Member of Yellowstone Lodge N0. 88, at Ft. Buford when it was formed in 1871.
He was Charter Member No.6, and is recorded as the 6th Mason of a chartered Lodge in what is now the state of North Dakota.
English was promoted to the rank of 1st.Lt., on Oct. 24, 1874, and stationed at Ft. Shaw,Montana. He was the Command Officer of Co. I, 7th Infantry, when he recorded the scene of the Custer Battlefield in his personal diary two days after this historic event.
On this same date his unit under the command of Col. John Gibbon met with Gen. Crook's forces which included Buffalo Bill Cody as one of its scouts.
Listed as a Diarist with the 7th Infantry, English made record of all the campaign events, weather, etc., which concerned his unit during their travels across the western territories. His original 1876 diary is now at the University of Utah Marriott Library. William's personal diary is at Yale.
He was with still with the Command of Gen. Gibbon and Capt. Richard Comba when he was mortally wounded along with Lt. William Logan and others in his unit at the Big Hole Battlefield on Aug 9, 1877. This noted conflict was with the Nez Perce tribe and their famed warriors, Chief Looking Glass and Chief Joseph.
William married Kate W. Marry, on April 5, 1877. They had a son, (also named William L. English), born in 1878, shortly after his untimely death at Big Hole battlefield.
Wounded and near death, he was brought to Deer Lodge, MT, where he died on August 20, 1877. William was originally buried at Deer Lodge, MT, but the Masons of Harmony Lodge No. 3, contacted the Masons at Deer Lodge and requested that his body be disinterred and transported back to Jacksonville. The Masonic records show that the Masons at Deer Lodge made the arrangements for English's body to be removed from the local cemetery and transported home. The records also show that the members of Harmony Masonic Lodge No. 3, received the body of their fallen comrade. He was buried at Jacksonville with Masonic Rites and Military Honors in August of 1879.