William H. Morse was born in 1833 or 1838 in New York, the son of Benjamin (b. 1810) and Louise or Louisa (b. 1808).
New York natives Benjamin and his wife were married presumably in New York and between 1834 and 1835 settled in Michigan. By 1850 William was living on the family farm in Lowell, Kent County where William helped his father and attended school with his younger siblings. He was living in Lowell, Kent County where he married Lucy Kenyon on November 20, 1858, and they had at least one child, S. L. (b. 1859). By 1860 William was working as a farm laborer living with his wife and child in Bowne, Kent County. (His parents were also still living in Lowell.)
He was 28 years old when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861, along with Benjamin Morse who was also from Lowell (they were possibly cousins), although William was transferred to Company F before the Regiment left Grand Rapids for Washington, DC, on June 13, 1861. He was seriously wounded in the knee by a gunshot on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and by early July was a patient in Buttonwood Street hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of July 26, he was in the Fifth Street hospital in Philadelphia, suffering from a “very severe wound in thigh and knee” and was believed to be “in a critical state.”
Indeed he was. William died of his wounds on August 8, 1862, at Fifth Street hospital and was originally buried on August 8 in Glenwood cemetery: section L, lot 37, grave 3, but then reinterred in Philadelphia National Cemetery: section B, grave no. 111.
In 1862 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 4495). Subsequently a pension application was filed and granted for at least one minor child (no. 76950).