William Salter was born in County Cork, Ireland circa 1837. In 1846,
his father, Robert Sr. and family came to the United States and settled
on a farm in Washington County, Wisconsin. Robert Salter Sr. served in
the state legislature in 1862 and likely knew the local newspaper editors.
William enlisted in Company G of the Wisconsin 26th Infantry as a Sergeant. He had no prior military experience. Maturity may have been a factor to his instant advancement for he was older than the others in his company. On April 10, 1863, William was promoted to 1st Sergeant. William did not speak German, though may have picked up some of the language. Most solders of company G came from the Washington County area and most of them were not German.
During the battle of Chancellorsville, William was wounded and also taken prisoner. The Confederates transferred him to a hospital and parole camp near Alexandria, Virginia.
William's brother Robert contracted typhoid fever and was sent to Harewood Hospital in Washington D. C. In August of 1863, Robert died. William requested a furlough from his captures to be allowed to take his brother's body home. He was denied.
William was exchanged in September of 1863, but by that time he was very discontented with the war and the misery it brought to him and his family. While in Indianapolis, during his transport to rejoin the regiment in Chattanooga, William deserted and fled to Canada. There he found a wife and started a family. After the war, William returned to the United States as a result of the amnesties offered to deserters. They made their home in Chilton, Wisconsin.
Possible picture of William Salter by Megan
Possible picture of William Salter by Megan Mill