William Beynon Phillips was born in South Wales in 1841. Phillips left Wales in 1861 and settled in the Lackawanna River Valley of eastern Pennsylvania among other Welshmen. In August 1862, the young man enlisted in Schooley’s Battery, which later became Company M of the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. The 2nd fought as infantry in ther bloody campaigns of 1864-65. A “provisional” unit was broken off from the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery from April-August 1864. William Beynon Phillips was a part of that provisional unit until captured at the Battle of the Crater and sent to a prison camp in South Carolina.
Greg Taylor, the great-great-grandson of William Beynon Phillips, has graciously agreed to allow me to reproduce the two letters Phillips wrote home during the Petersburg Campaign. They are reproduced with written permission and may not be used elsewhere without Greg’s written consent. You can read more of William Beynon Phillips’ letters at Greg’s blog, The Civil War Letters of William Beynon Phillips 1862-1864.
UPDATE: Read about Phillips’ post-war experiences here.
Letters of William Beynon Phillips: