Edward Robinson Willis Sr.


Basic Information

Edward Robinson Willis Sr.
30 December 1816
Chester Co. Pennsylvania
18 September 1865
Media, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania
Time In Service
From: Aug. 12, 1861
To: July 13, 1865


United States of America
Branch of Service
Not Specified
Current Status
Not Specified

Service Record

American Civil War

Honors & Awards

Not Specified

Edward Robinson Willis, Sr.- his story

Edward Robinson Willis born Dec 30, 1816, was a farmer in the late 1840s and early 1850s, in Haverford Twp., Delaware Co., PA renting the farm from his aunt, Mary (Willis) Pierce Flounders. He married Elizabeth Owens in 1843, who was 9 years younger than he. The 1850's were a bad time for Edward- in 1851 both his mother, Phebe died as did his brother, Thomas at the age of 36. His Aunt Mary died in 1856 and her farm was sold in 1856. His wife died at the age of 32 in April of 1857 leaving him 4 children under the age of 11 with the youngest, Eliza has just turned 2. In October of the same year, daughter Sarah died never reaching her 6th birthday. In 1860 his father dies as does his sister-in-law Eliza, Joel's wife. He was working as a day laborer or seasonal laborer on several farms in Haverford Twp. His three children were cared for by others: Mary at 14 by David Bond family; Edward at 12 by George Dickinson, and Eliza at 6 by Priscilla Davis.


Edward R Willis, a...   [ Read more » ]

jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015

Edward R Willis, Sr Enlistment Aug 12,1861

Edward's enlistment at 44 years, 7 months, 13 days of age in the Union Army on Aug. 12, 1861 in Company A, "Wetherill Blues", 31st Regiment Penna. Volunteers, Col. D. H. Williams commanding. The regiment went to Washington DC. to protect the city and for training. Early in the war, it was re-designated the 82nd Pennsylvania Volunteers.
jaywillis71 added this on 9 Sep 2011

Edward R Willis

Enlisted Union Army on Aug. 12, 1861 in Company A, "Wetherill Blues", 31st Regiment Penna. Volunteers, Col. D. H. Williams commanding. The regiment went to Washington DC. to protect the city and for training. Early in the war, it was re-designated the 82nd Pennsylvania Volunteers.
jaywillis71 added this on 6 Oct 2010

Edward R Willis, Sr

82nd Pennsylvania Volunteers-private
jaywillis71 added this on 6 May 2013

Edward Robinson Willis, Sr. Discharge Papers Union Army

Edward was discharged with his Regiment on July 13, 1865 at Hall's Hill, Va. Edward returned from the War suffering from chronic diarrhea from which he never recovered and subsequently died on Sept.18, 1865 in Media PA. He was not quite 49 years old.
jaywillis71 added this on 6 Oct 2010

150th Anniversary-2nd Battle of Fredericksburg

Early on the morning of Sunday May 3, 1863, Newton’s third division of the VI Corps, Shaler’s Brigade moved toward and into the streets of Fredericksburg. Edward describes how they had crept along the bluffs until they could see the town, they dropped their packs and haversacks charged with bayonets, other sources refer to it as slowly moving thru the darkened and deserted streets taking sporadic fire from the rear guard of the Rebels. By 5 AM they had occupied the town and prepared to assault the heights. Edward Willis relays how they formed in squads in the side streets and made coffee. As the early morning fog lifted they saw the same fortifications that they had in a non-participatory role watched their fellows soldiers die by the thousands just 5 months ago. Although now defended by a significantly reduced force – the anxiety must have been tremendous. The attack plan called for several “columns” to move across the “no man’s land” up the heights. The 82nd was part of the plan fu...
jaywillis71 added this on 21 Feb 2014

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

As of July 1st , Shaler’s Brigade, third division of the VI Corps is in Manchester, MD and in a grueling continuous march from about 9 PM on July 1, arriving on the field at Gettysburg in the late afternoon of July 2, 1863 via the Baltimore Pike Rd and upon arrival was ordered into a reserve position on the northeast slope of Little Round Top, near the Taneytown Rd. Early morning July 3, Shaler’s brigade is ordered to the far right of the union line at Culp’s Hill to support Gen Geary’s Division of the XII Corps, which had been severely engaged since early dawn. Upon arrival, at approximately 8AM, Shaler’s Brigade took a sheltered position slightly to the rear of the action, this is a ravine referred to as the transfer point. It was here exposed to a severe artillery fire. It is a hot (87*) humid day. During the defense on Culp’s Hill, as regiments from the XII Corp would run low on ammunition and tire, other fresh, fully provisioned regiments (Shaler’s as well as some others who ...
jaywillis71 added this on 21 Feb 2014

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam

Pvt. Edward R Willis of Cochran’s brigade, Couch’s Division was put into the line about noon on the 18th. This is in the Union center across the to the Smoketown Rd, north of the Mumma Farm, facing the Dunker Church which is about ½ mile to the southwest. On the actual day of the battle his Division was at Harper’s Ferry. This photo is of his 3 2nd great grandsons, Jay, Keith and Glenn Willis and his 3rd great grandson Adam Willis at the location where his unit when into the line on the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.
jaywillis71 added this on 21 Feb 2014

150 Anniversary -Battle of the Wilderness- Gen. Shaler's Capture

Gen Alexander Shaler’s Brigade (only three regiments-65th NY, 67 th NY, 122nd NY),to which Edward Willis continues on assigned to the Headquarters Staff as an orderly caring for the horses. Assigned to guard the ammunition train, the brigade left Brandy Station at 4:00 AM May 4 1864, halted for breakfast at about 7 AM, crossed at Germanna Ford on the Rapidan River in the late afternoon after a long, hot and tiring day and encamped at Spotswood Plantation off the Germanna Rd. The night was more like an August night that one in May. They remained there the entire day of May 5, 1864 which was fortunate missing the entire first day battle and at midnight on the 5th, moved forward and reported to the Division Commander, General Horatio Wright. Wright’s Division had moved down the wagon road, Spotswood Rd which was really almost cow path toward the Orange Turnpike. At 2 PM, May 6, 1864 Shaler’s Brigade was moved up into the extreme right of the VI Corps and placed under the command of Gen T...
jaywillis71 added this on 3 Jun 2015

150th Anniversary of Battle of Cedar Creek

Early divided his forces, crossed Cedar Creek and in a dense fog routed the VIII Corps from their camps, pushed the XIX Corps back, all before 9 AM, .October 19, 1864. The VI Corps was encamped the furthest from the creek; they formed advanced and also fell back but in a more organized fashion. A new line about 1 ½ miles north of Middletown was formed and other units reorganized and joined the VI Corps. Early had stopped his advance for an unexplained reason and at this point Gen John Gordon is supposed to have responded to Early’s comment that the remaining Federals on the field would “go directly”, “that is the Sixth Corps, General. It will not go unless driven from the field”. All this occurred prior to 10:30 AM. Meanwhile Sheridan had returned from Washington and stayed over the preceding night at the Logan house- which was Col. Edwards’ Winchester headquarters. Early in the morning the noise from Cedar Creek could be heard and Sheridan on his 17 hand, black horse, Rienzi starte...
jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015

150th Anniverisary- Battle Fisher’s Hill

On September 22, 1865 Sheridan attacked Early's the well fortified position at Fisher’s Hill. While the VI and XIX Corps attacked the fortifications as a diversion, the VIII corps flanked the confederate line causing it to collapse and Early to again retreat up the Valley Turnpike. Sheridan again was everywhere on the field accompanied by one guidon (flag) bearer, encouraging and energizing the troops. He was even being cheered by the VI Corps which hadn’t really cheered any commander since McClellan. Feeling like “victors”, the now confident and aggressive Army of the Shenandoah followed Early on the Valley Turnpike. On the road was a double file of wagons, ambulances and artillery while the infantry formed six parallel columns along either side of the road. Sheridan finally gave the infantry a rest at Mt. Crawford. The cavalry however continued to Staunton and Waynesboro. There was quite a bit of foraging on this trip up the Valley but not the destruction that would come on the return trip.
jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015

ERW Civil War Accoutrements

Edward Robinson Willis' two Civil War canteens, orginals would have been covered in felt or canvas with canvas shoulder stap, cork would abe been on chain at top of large canteen. Uses large for water and small for hot beverage if available like coffee or broth. These wer goverment issue. Folding spoon and fork were purchased at sutler's. Wooden handle is missing on one side.
jaywillis71 added this on 24 Sep 2011

150th Anniversary 3rd Battle of Winchester

At 2 AM on Monday, September 19, the union Cavalry splashed across one of the fords over the Opequon Creek about 6 miles east of Winchester, starting the third Battle of Winchester (also called Battle of Opequon). After dawn, the VI Corps crossed and moved down the Berryville Rd., which passed through a 2 mile steep sided ravine. At the end of this stretch of road the army was to deploy and engage Early’s Army, which had been dispersed in several locations. The plan was to catch them before they could concentrate. Controversy exists to this day on why Wright’s VI Corps’ wagon train immediately followed the Corps rather than wait until the XIX and VII passed thru narrow section of the Berryville Rd. This caused a huge bottle neck preventing the other two Corps coming up. Needless to say Early was able to concentrate. At about noon the VI Corps divisions of Getty and Ricketts with Russell (Edward’s) in reserve attacked up the Berryville Rd. About an hour later, one Division of the XIX...
jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015

150th Anniversary of Appomattox Court House Surrender

Edward Willis was about 4 miles distant when Gen R E Lee surrender to U S Grant on April 9, 1965 at Appomattox Court House.
jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015

150th Anniversary of Battle of Little Sailor's Creek

Lee withdrew from Petersburg and Gen Edwards (3rd Brigade of the 1st Division) was the first into the city on April 3, 1965 and received the surrender. At dawn of the 4th, started the pursuit of Lee, who hoped to link up with Joseph Johnston's army in North Carolina. At a rapid rate the VI Corps moved to the Danville Railroad, to Jettersville, to Amelia Court House, and finally came up with the enemy at Little Sailor's Creek. The entire route was littered with wagons, other vehicles and all manner of accoutrements ie the debris of war, as well as groups of exhausted rebels men awaiting capture. Gen. Ewell deployed facing northeast on high ground between Little Sailor's Creek and Marshall's Crossroads. Wright's corps formed opposite after a thirty-minute cannonade, one of Wheaton’s and Seymour’s divisions waded into the swollen waters of Little Sailor's Creek. Because of spring rains, the creek was out of its banks and ran from 2 to 4 feet deep. The men crossed the stream with great ...
jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015

150th Anniverisary of the Petersburg Breakthrough

On April 2, 1865 Grant launched an offensive around Petersburg, which Sheridan flanked the city, Wright’s VI Corps attached the rebel fortifications and had the major breakthru. The VI Corps quickly overran the enemy pickets, but for 10 or 15 minutes they endured a brutal fire of small arms and artillery in the open ground at the cost of 2,200 Northern casualties. The survivors ripped apart multiple lines of abatis, continued forward and scaled breastworks and engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, but in the end, union superior numbers held sway. Most of the defenders surrendered, although hundreds fled. The VI Corps breakthrough proved to be the decisive battle of the Petersburg Campaign. Edward tells us that his horse was killed by a shell during this action. That is the third horse he has lost – Gettysburg July 3, 1863; Wilderness May 6, 1864 and Petersburg April 2, 1865, amazingly in all three occasion he was unhurt. Keith, Glenn and I were recently at the Pamplin Historical Park which preserves the breastworks at the point that the VI Corps, specifically the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division (the 82nd PAs brigade) broke thru. Photo of us is facing the breastworks that were overrun.
jaywillis71 added this on 7 Jun 2015