William Laws Cannon (1839-1863)

William Laws Cannon, 1860

Birth: April 6, 1839; Bridgeville, Delaware

Death: August 18, 1863 (age 24); Bel Air, Maryland

Military Service: USA, 1861-62

Unit: 1st Delaware Calvary 

Alma Mater: Dickinson College, B.A. (Class of 1860)

Cannon was born on April 6, 1839 at Bridgeville, Delaware. His father, William Cannon, was a successful merchant who later became governor of Delaware during the war. At Dickinson, Cannon was a member of the Union Philosophical Society as well as Phi Kappa Sigma. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1860. After graduation he obtained a position at the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Cannon became a captain of the 1st Delaware cavalry in the Army of the Potomac and was placed in command of Company B of that unit. He contracted typhoid fever during the occupation of Bel Air, Maryland, dying there on August 18, 1863.

On news of his death, the towns two publishers, the 'Southern Aegis" a southern sympathizing publication and the "Bel Air American," the unionist post joined together to publish a tribute to him.  It read,

"... and from the gentlemanly deportment endeared himself to many of our citizens who deeply and sincerely mourn his loss, and sympthazie with his afflicted family, several members of which were with him when he died. His men were deeply troubled at their loss, many of them being affected to tears when the sad announcement was made to them."

Cannon was buried with military honors at Bridgeville Methodist Cemetery in the Cannon Family Plot. 

His epitaph reads:

"A man of intense full life

A son of mot affectionate disposition

A friend who constancty never wavered

A soul of noblest impulse

He gave his heart to God and his life to his country."


More information about other Dickinson war casualties can be found through the online project "In Remembrance" (see link for related entries below).

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Dickinson College Archives
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