William Steele, a native of Albany, New York, was born May 1, 1819. His father was a New Englander and his mother from Florida. He was graduated from West Point in the class of 1840, and received the brevet of captain for gallantry in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco. Much of Steele's service had been in Texas, and he married into a family from that state in 1850. He resigned on May 30, 1861, and was appointed colonel of the 7th Texas Cavalry. During Sibley's New Mexico expedition he commanded in the Mesilla area and was promoted brigadier general to rank from September 12, 1862. He was in command of Indian Territory in 1863, and had charge of the Galveston defenses the following year. He then fought under General Richard Taylor in the Red River campaign and was complimented for his conduct at Pleasant Hill. After the death of General Thomas Green at Blair's Landing, he commanded Green's cavalry division for a time, as senior brigadier, until superseded by Major General John A. Wharton. After the war General Steele settled in San Antonio as a commission merchant. He moved to Austin in 1873 and was appointed adjutant general of the state, serving in that post for six years during the administrations of Governors Coke and Hubbard. He died at San Antonio on January 12, 1885, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin.
Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.