William Boyd


COLONEL WILLIAM BOYD ROBERTSON was born June 21, 1821 in Scotland. 

By the mid 1840s William Robertson had married and settled in Salem NJ. Oldest son Robert was born their around 1847. William B. Robertson was in business as a druggist at that time, and was still following that trade when the next census was taken. The 1860 Census for Salem NJ lists William and Caroline Robertson and their six children, Robert, Henry, Agnes, William Jr., Caroline, and George. 

He commanded the 24th Infantry Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers during the Civil War.

During the War Between the States, William B. Roberton answered his country's call. He enlisted as the Colonel  on September 12, 1862, and was commissioned as commanding officer of the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers on September 16, 1862 at Camp Cadwalader in Beverly NJ. The Twenty-fourth Regiment was one of eleven regiments raised in response to President Lincoln's call for 300,000 troops to serve for a nine-month's enlistment. 

The Twenty-fourth arrived in Washington DC on October 1st, 1862. The Twenty-fourth Regiment was placed in the Provisional Brigade of General Carey's division. On December 9th they reached the Rappahannock opposite Fredericksburg, and was transferred to the First Brigade, under Brigadier General Nathan Kimball, part of Major General William H. French's Third Division, Second Army Corps. During the December 13th, 1862 assault on Fredericksburg, the raw troops of the Twenty-fourth Regiment advanced nearer the Confederate defenses than any other command save the Irish Regiments, and paid for that ground grievously, losing 160 killed and wounded. 

George Reeser Prowell wrote of the Twenty-fourth New Jersey's actions at Fredericksburg in the 1880, "They held the ground tenaciously until relieved, but even then were compelled to seek refuge in and about the burning buildings where, prostrate on the earth, they were exposed to the shot and shell."

Company D lost three killed and twelve wounded during this battle. Captain Aaron Ward was shot through the lungs, a wound that for most in the Civil War would have proved fatal. He was fortunate and made a full recovery.

The Twenty-Fourth New Jersey Regiment went into camp for four months after Fredericksburg. On April 2, 1863 copies of the "Peace Resolutions" which had been passed by the New Jersey state legislature, reached camp. Mass meetings were held where the soldiers in Prowell's words, "indignantly denounced" them.

On May 3rd, 1863 the Twenty-Fourth New Jersey Regiment took part in the Battle of Chancellorsville. During that action forty men were either killed, wounded or listed as missing. The Twenty-Fourth New Jersey Regiment mustered out of service on June 29, 1863 at Beverly NJ. 

Upon leaving the Army, William B. Robertson returned to Salem NJ. At the time of the 1870 Census he was running a china store in that city. The Robertson family had moved to Camden NJ by the late 1870s.

Sadly, two of the Robertson's children died prematurely. William Jr. died at the age of 28 on March 26, 1878. Daughter Carrie died October 12 of the following year, and was only 25 at the time of her passing.  

When the census was taken in 1880 the Robertson family resided at 16 Hudson Street in Camden. William B. Robertson was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Son Henry worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a deck hand on one of the ferry boats which the firm operated, while son George also worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, as a watchman. A daughter, Agnes, aged 29, resided at home as well.  

During the 1880s William B. Robertson was a member of the William B. Hatch Post No. 37 of the Grand Army of the Republic.

On October 16, 1884 Caroline Robertson passed away at the age of 61. Colonel Robertson is listed in the Camden City Directories for 1887-1888 and 1888-1889. His residence was 840 Federal Street, which was the Presbyterian Mission and his occupation in both editions was salesman. Also listed in both directories at 840 Federal Street is an Emma L. Robinson, a teacher at the school which operated with the mission.

Colonel Robertson passed away August 10, 1889. He was buried at Old Camden Cemetery on Haddon Avenue. The men who served with and under Colonel Robertson got together and had a large monument erected in his name.

Colonel Robertson's surviving son, George, died Mar 1, 1893 at the age of 35.


(Nine Months)

Twenty-fourth Infantry
Colonel William B. Robertson
Lieutenant Colonel Franklin L. Knight - Major Joel A. Fithian. 

This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at Camp Cadwalader, Beverly, Sept. 16, 1862. Four companies of the regiment, B, F, G and H, were from the county of Cumberland;
three, A, C and K, from Salem; one, E, and parts of D and I, from Gloucester; and the remaining men of the two latter companies were from Camden. Of the members of Company B, about an equal number were enlisted from the city and townships of Millville and Maurice River. Of Company F the city of Bridgeton furnished about 30, the township of Greenwich 15, while the remainder, with the exception of 1 man from Deerfield, were equally divided between Hopewell and Doune. Of Company G, not less than 20 were from Bridgeton, 30 from Deerfield, 10 from Stoe Creek, and the rest hailed from Doune. Company H, officered exclusively by Bridgeton men, comprised about 75 from the city of Bridgeton, while the remainder were from Hopewell, Deerfield and Stoe Creek. In Companies A and C, there were a large number of men from the city of Salem, though the surrounding townships were nearly all represented in them, and also in Company K. Company E comprised men principally from Woodbury, Paulsboro, and the upper townships of Gloucester. Company D had men from Camden, Gloucester City, and Glassboro, and Company I, mainly from Clayton township, Gloucester county, and several of the townships of Camden county. 

On September 28, the regiment was equipped with Belgian rifles and other necessary accouterments for service, and on Tuesday, the 30th, broke camp and departed for Washington, going by steamer to Philadelphia and thence by rail. It was brigaded with the 28th New Jersey and 128th Pennsylvania regiments, under the colonel of the former, acting Brigadier General Abercrombie having command of the division, which occupied the extreme right of the brigade on the Leesburg road. It was afterward permanently brigaded with the 4th and 8th Ohio, 14th Indiana, 7th Virginia, and 28th New Jersey regiments under the charge of Brigadier General Kimball, in French's division, Couch's corps. It participated in the fighting at Fredericksburg, and the loss of the regiment, which behaved admirably throughout, was severe, amounting in all to 160. Sergeant Henry S. Spaulding, Company B, afterward promoted to the Second Lieutenantcy of Company I, received a musket ball in his shoulder; Captain Aaron Ward, Company D, a ball through his left lung; Second Lieutenant George D. Brittain, Company D, and Captain Samuel Harris, Company F, were shocked by explosions of shells; Second Lieutenant William Pepper, Company F, was wounded in leg and head; Sergeant H. R. Pierson, Company G, afterward promoted to Second Lieutenant, Company F, was wounded in the side; Sergeant John Springer, Company B, afterward Second Lieutenant of Company B, was wounded in the hip; 2nd Lieutenant James J. Reeves, Company H, was wounded in the left arm above the elbow; and Captain William C. Shinn, Company I, was wounded in the right eye, the sight of which was lost. 

The regiment also participated in the battle of Chancellorsville, where the loss in killed and wounded in the regiment was comparatively small, not exceeding 40 all told. The withdrawal
of the army having been determined upon, the 24th, with the rest of the brigade, made its way back to the United States ford, where it crossed on the 6th and proceeded to its old camp, where it continued to do picket-duty until ordered to Washington. Proceeding thence in due time to Beverly, the regiment was mustered out and the men as they were paid off returned to their homes. The total strength of the regiment was 994, and it lost during service, by resignation 5, by discharge 108, by promotion 8, by transfer 1, by death 92, by desertion 8, not accounted for 1, mustered out, 771.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 3

Battles Fought

Fought on 13 December 1862 at Fredericksburg, VA.
Fought on 03 May 1863 at Chancellorsville, VA..