William H. Lee was born in 1839 in Michigan.
By 1860 William was working as a shoemaker for Riordan & Kaiser, and living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward.
William was 22 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was promoted to Corporal on May 8, 1862, and in May and June of 1862 he was reported as sick in his quarters. In July and august he was listed as absent and serving as Acting Regimental commissary Sergeant with the supply train. He was promoted to Sergeant on August 12, 1862. On February 25, 1862 William was promoted to First sergeant, replacing Milton Leonard who was promoted to Second Lieutenant. William was listed as absent sick at Alexandria, Virginia, from June 12, 1863, and was reduced to Sergeant on or about July 1. He was still absent sick at the convalescent Camp in Alexandria, in September and October of.
On October 2, 1863, Charles Wright of Company A, wrote home to his sister that Lee had helped him and another man acquire boots from Grand Rapids. “I received three pair of boots from your city this week,” wrote Wright. “Three of us sent to Reardon's for boots; William Lee, sergeant of my Regiment is here, is a brother-in-law to Reardon, and proposed sending for three pairs, one pair for himself and one for Sergt. Long and one pair for myself. They were sent by express and came through safe. They cost us eight dollars per pair here. They are heavy calf and was exactly what I wanted. There were square toes and look so odd. The boys here all laugh at us and one fellow the other day asked me how long since I came from the Old Country, and pointed at my square toes. At any rate I am told that they are all the go at the north now. That is to say they are fashionable, . . .”
William remained absent sick, probably at Alexandria, until he was transferred as a Sergeant to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on April 28, 1864, at Washington, DC.
It is not known if William survived the war or if he did survive whether or not he returned to Michigan. No pension seems to be available.
In 1868-69 there was a William H. Lee who was working as a sawyer for Nelson, Comstock & Co. in Grand Rapids, and in 1894 there a civil war veteran named William H. Lee residing in Harbor Springs, Emmet County.