William Terry was born in Amherst County, Virginia, August 14, 1824. He attended a neighborhood "old field-school," and was graduated from the University of Virginia in 1848. He then taught school and studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Wytheville, Virginia. At times he edited the local Telegraph. A militia lieutenant at Harpers Ferry at the time of John Brown's raid in 1859, he entered the Confederate Army at the same grade in the 4th Virginia Infantry. After serving at First Manassas he was promoted major in 1862 and fought during the Seven Days battles and in the campaign of Second Manassas. He was wounded in the latter battle. Promoted colonel in September 1863, and brigadier general to rank from May 19, 1864, Terry took a most gallant part in the subsequent battles and engagements of the Army of Northern Virginia from Fredericksburg to the attack on Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865. Here he was severely wounded for the third time during the war. Upon the cessation of hostilities he again took up his law practice at Wytheville, and was twice elected to Congress in later years, serving from 1871 to 1873 and from 1875 to 1877. He was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1880. General Terry was drowned on September 5, 1888, while attempting to ford Reed Creek near his home during a freshet. He is buried in Wytheville.
Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.
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