William Joseph Elder
Contributed by James Harris, grandson of William Joseph Elder.
William Joseph Elder was born on July 18, 1844 in Clarke County (now Oconee County), Georgia. He joined Company L, Clarke County Rifles, of the Georgia 3rd Regiment, Georgia Infantry, as a private on August 20, 1961, when he was seventeen years old. His name appears on the Muster Roll of the Georgia 3rd on September 30, 1861, in Portsmouth, Virginia. He was in the battles of Seven Pines and Malvern Hill during the Seven Days Campaign and the battles of Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was a Third Sergeant and was in Wright's advance at the close of the second day when he was seriously wounded by a minie ball that passed through his left lung, collapsing it, before exiting by his fifth vertebrate. He was captured that night and attended by Union doctors, first in a field hospital and then in General Hospital, Chester, PA. On October 4, 1863, he was transferred to Hammond Hospital, Point Lookout, MD, where he remained until January 15, 1864, when he was transferred to the prison of war camp at Pt. Lookout. He was exchanged in March, 1864. Although partially disabled, Joe Elder rejoined his regiment and the Army of Northern Virginia and was at the siege of Petersburg and the battles around Appomattox. His name appears on the list of paroles of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865. Joe Elder returned to Georgia where he became a prominent citizen of Oconee County until his death in 1920.
See also A True Daughter of the Confederacy for more on William Joseph Elder.