Civil War General Honored In Banner Program

General Reuben Williams, who served in the Civil War, is one of the veterans honored on banners along East Market Street for the Warsaw Salutes You Military Banner Recognition Program.

Williams was born in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1833. His family moved to Warsaw in 1845.

He became an apprentice under Andrew J. Blair, who was the editor of the “Whig organ” of Kosciusko County, according to “Combination Atlas Map of Kosciusko County, Indiana,” found at the Library of Congress.

In 1856, in company with G.W. Fairbrother, he commenced the publication of the Northern Indianian. On May 5, 1857, Williams married Jamima Hubler.

The day Fort Sumter fell during the Civil War, Williams published a call for volunteers. On April 19, 1861, the first company that Kosciusko County sent to the field was organized. Williams was chosen as a second lieutenant and accompanied the company to Indianapolis, where it and other companies were made into the 12th Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers.

The regiment had a service term of one year, but on the expiration of its term of service, Williams took an active part in the reorganization of the regiment. Upon the organization of the regiment in 1861, it was ordered to Evansville, where it remained “for some time,” according to “Combination Atlas.”

On the evening of the defeat of the Union troops in the first battle of Bull Run, Williams’ regiment was ordered to join the command of Gen. N.P. Banks at Harper’s Ferry, Va. After the regiment’s arrival in Virginia, Williams was promoted to captain.

Williams’ regiment remained with Banks until April 1862. In spring 1862, it composed the advance guard of the Union Army when it occupied Winchester, Va.

On Dec. 11, 1861, Williams was captured by a Confederate force under Stonewall Jackson while Williams was making a reconnaissance of the enemy’s position. Williams was taken to Richmond, Va., and was confined in “Libby” Prison, until he was exchanged in March 1862.

Upon reorganization of his regiment, Williams was commissioned its first colonel until the battle of Richmond, Ky., where Williams was promoted colonel after Col. Williams H. Link, commanding officer of Williams’ regiment, was killed.

After the fall of Atlanta, Williams was selected as one of the military personnel to convene over the court martial trial of the Indiana conspirators, or “Knights of the Golden Circle,” a treasonable organization exiting in Indiana and other states, according to “Combination Atlas.” At the conclusion of the court martial, Williams rejoined his regiment at Savannah, where it lead in the grand review.

During Gen. Sherman’s march through South Carolina, Williams and a few hundred mounted infantry accepted a mission to destroy certain railroads and stores of the Confederate Army. For his “masterly execution” of his orders on this occasion, Williams received thanks of Sherman and Gen. Howard in person. Upon arrival of his command at Washington, Williams received an appointment to brevet brigadier general, according to “Combination Atlas.”

Williams was selected to take charge of a large number of Indiana regiments returning home after the close of the war.

After retiring from the military, Williams assumed editorial control of the Northern Indianian again. In 1867, Williams became clerk of the circuit court of Kosciusko County for four years.

Williams died Jan. 15, 1905.

The Warsaw Salutes You Military Banner Recognition Program was started in 2020 by Warsaw Community High School graduate Elizabeth Stone for her Kosciusko Youth Leadership Academy project. It was a way to honor and recognize active and former servicemen from the greater Warsaw area.

According to a May 29, 2021, Times-Union article, Elizabeth said one of her inspirations to start the project was her brother, Nate Stone, who is serving as a lieutenant in the Navy.

Elizabeth managed the first cycles of banners as part of her junior year KYLA project. The project was cancelled because of COVID but Elizabeth chose to bring it to completion her senior year.  However, since leaving for college at St. Mary’s College this fall, the project became difficult to manage long distance. Miechi Petro, Elizabeth’s KYLA mentor, and Elizabeth’s mother, Megan Stone, have been managing the project in cooperation with the mayor’s office and street department.

“We are both military moms and have an invested interest in honoring military members,”?said Megan.

The deadline to submit completed applications to with a photo and payment is May 6 and the spring cycle will go up the week of Memorial Day by the Warsaw Street Department, Megan said.

To qualify for the program, honorees must be a former or current resident of the greater Warsaw area and be serving or have served in the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or National Guard.

“We try to place family members together,” Megan said. “We hope to continue to honor those who have served or are currently serving. Active, reserve, retired or memorial honorees are accepted. As long as there is interest, we will continue creating and displaying banners for the  Warsaw Salutes You Banner Program.”

“We are thrilled with the project! My wife and I have four veteran family members that we honored with a banner. It is a very honorable outward expression of gratitude for living veterans and a very poignant memorial for the deceased. We are grateful to Megan and Miechi for their commitment to keep the project going and the city is honored to provide the public space for the banners,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.