William was born about 1828 in Maryland.
During the Civil War, he trained as a Private in the Company F of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the second regiment in the United States made up entirely of enlisted men of color. He was about 35 years old, single and working as a laborer when he enlisted on 8 April 1863 from Elmira, New York. He died 29 May 1863 at the hospital in Readville, Massachusetts where the 54th training camp was located.
Note: There is also a William A. Davis in Company F.
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Assuming for now the 1860 census is indeed a match. It's often hard to know with common names like William Davis, but the birth year is a decent match, he's single and he is indeed black.
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On 14 Jun 2018 at 20:01 GMT K Raymoure wrote:
Year: 1840; Census Place: Elmira, Chemung, New York; Page: 257
William Davis, 4 free colored persons residing.