William McRee Gudger was born
10 October 1841, in the Swannanoa Valley of Buncombe County, NC. He was
the fourth child (and one of fourteen!) of James McRee Gudger and Sarah
Ann Murray Gudger. William married Mary Jane Shope on 22 April 1866, and
they had nine children. William was a farmer and he and his family
continued to live in the Swannanoa Valley after the War.
At the start of the War, William and the area Buncombe County men enlisted in Company F, 14th Regiment, NC Volunteers, known as the "Rough and Ready Guards" of Buncombe County. He was nineteen years old at the time of his enlistment. The date of the Company F organization is given as May 3rd, 1861, in Asheville, NC. The "Roughs" were initially commanded by Zebulon Baird Vance, who led the Company on the trek to Morganton, where they embarked on a train to Raleigh, and then on to the training camp in Garysburg, Northhampton County, NC. William is listed as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Muster Roll of Captain Philetus W. Roberts (who succeeded Zebulon B. Vance) for the period beginning December 31, 1861, and ending February 28, 1862. The copy of the Muster Roll that I have is only that portion which appeared in a newspaper article, and the actual ending date on the document is cut off. However, the newspaper article states the ending date as Feb 28, 1862. (The "NC Troops" compilation conflicts with this date of William's election to 2nd Lieut.; see next paragraph). The article also states that the Muster Roll was prepared at Fort Bee, VA, on February 28, 1862, after P.W. Roberts succeeded Zebulon B. Vance as Captain. The article states that the 14th Regiment moved to Fort Bee in Isle of Wight County on the James River, west of Norfolk, in autumn of 1861.
The original Muster Roll is in the John Evans Brown Papers in the State Dept of Archives and History in Raleigh, NC. [Source: "Buncombe 'Roughs' In Last Charge At Appomattox', by George W. McCoy, in the Asheville Citizen-Times, December 24, 1961. ] According to the compilation in "NC Troops", William was mustered in as a Private at age 19, promoted to Corporal on April 25, 1862, promoted to Sergeant on December 10, 1863, and was elected 2nd Lieutenant on October 5, 1864. [Source: North Carolina Troops, 1861 - 1865, Volume V, p 445; Roster compiled by Louis H. Manarin, Raleigh, NC, State Dept. of Archives and History.]
William had other family members with him in Company F. His brother, Charles C. Gudger, was a Private who died in the hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia, 9 July 1862, of "typhoid fever". Their cousins, James M. Gudger and Dr. David M. Gudger, were also in the Company. James was elected 2nd Lieutenant on or about 4 May 1861, promoted to Captain on or about 27 April 1862. James was wounded at or near Seven Pines, Virginia, 23 June 1862. He rejoined the Company in March-April 1863, and was present or accounted until he was wounded again at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, 12 May 1864. James was then reported absent wounded through 25 February 1865. According to a statement in Clark's "Regiments", James "was fearfully wounded and entitled to a discharge on account of the disability, but held on to his boys until the war was fought out. There was no man in the army of the South of his rank who was more reliable as an officer and soldier." Dr. David M. Gudger was a Private, he was wounded at Malvern Hill, VA, 01 July 1862, and survived the War. [Source: North Carolina Troops, 1861 - 1865, Volume V, p 445; Roster compiled by Louis H. Manarin, Raleigh, NC, State Dept. of Archives and History.]
William was present at Appomattox and was paroled there 9 April, 1865. He survived the war, and went home to Buncombe County. William is buried next to his wife Mary Jane at the Berea Baptist Church on Lower Grassy Creek Road near Swannanoa, NC.
Information provided by: Kate Brady, whose great-great-grandfather is William McRee