William T. Kinzer (c.1837-1864)

William T. Kinzer

Birth: 1837; Blacksburg, Virginia

Death: July 15, 1864 (age 29); Point Lookout Prison, Maryland

Military Service: CSA, 1861-64

Unit: Company L, 4th Virginia Infantry

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

William T. Kinzer was born in Blacksburg, Virginia. In January 1856 he entered the Dickinson College Grammar School and studied there for a semester before entering the freshman class. As a student, Kinzer was a member of the Union Philosophical Society, the VP society, and the Good Templars Temperance Society. He also wrote several articles for his hometown newspaper.

Kinzer’s father died early in the summer of 1857, thereby removing his means of financial support. At the end of the spring semester in 1857, Kinzer and a friend took a train to Hagerstown, Maryland and walked home to Blacksburg from there. He remained and began the study of law under Waller Staples, Esq., in nearby Montgomery.

Kinzer moved to St. Stephens in the Nebraska territory in 1859. He did not enjoy a successful practice, and, falling gravely ill, he returned to Blacksburg after only six months. Kinzer resumed the practice of law there, but he enlisted in Company L, 4th Virginia Infantry on July 16, 1861.

His military career was an eventful one. He was appointed a first sergeant on December 27, 1861 but was demoted the following April before being promoted to fourth corporal in August 1862, and fourth sergeant a year later. He was wounded at Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863 and was captured at Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864. Kinzer died on July 15, 1864 at Point Lookout Prison, Maryland.

More information about other Dickinson war casualties can be found through the online project "In Remembrance" (see link for related entries below) and at The Virginia Historical Society which contains a five volume diary of William T. Kinzer from 1856-1862 concerning his life at Dickinson and during his military service. 

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Dickinson College Archives
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