William Price Sanders

William Price Sanders was born August 12, 1833, in Kentucky, probably in Frankfort or nearby Forks of Elkhorn. When he was about seven years old, his father, a well-known lawyer, moved with his family to Natchez, Mississippi. Young Sanders profited from his father's political connections: Aaron G. Brown, postmaster general under James Buchanan, secured William's appointment to West Point in 1852, and Jefferson Davis interceded in his behalf when he was about to be dismissed the following year for deficiency in languages. After his graduation in 1856, he served on the frontier as an officer of dragoons and in the Utah expedition. During the first winter of the war Sanders was on duty in the Washington defenses as a captain of the 6th Cavalry, a regiment which served on the Peninsula the following summer and in the Maryland campaign in September, 1862. Sanders was on sick leave until February, 1863, when he was made colonel of the 5th Kentucky (Union) Cavalry to rank from March 4. He took part in the pursuit of John Hunt Morgan and his raiders through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio in July; served as chief of cavalry, Department of the Ohio, in September and October; and in the Knoxville campaign commanded a brigade of the XXIII Corps and subsequently the 1st Division of the cavalry corps under James M. Shackelford. On November 18, 1863, Sanders was engaged in checking James Longstreet's advance as Ambrose E. Burnside's army got in position in the rear; he was fighting dismounted on Kingston Road, a mile in advance of the defenses of Knoxville, when he was mortally wounded. Sanders died the next day in the bridal suite of the Lamar Hotel in Knoxville. He had been promoted to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers exactly a month before he received his fatal wound, and his loss was "keenly felt" by his associates, men and officers alike. General Sanders was probably first buried in the yard of the Episcopal Church in Knoxville. Sometime subsequently, on a date unknown to Knoxville historians as well as the Quartermaster's Department, he was reinterred in a most obscure manner in the National Cemetery at Chattanooga. The overlooked grave is identifiable only by a simple government headstone bearing his name and volunteer rank, singular enough when it is considered that two of his sisters were the wives of James Ben Ali Haggin and Lloyd Tevis, the California Croesuses.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.