William Franklin Pratt was born in 1841 or in 1845 in Ingham County, or in Deerfield, Michigan, possibly the son of Isaac (b. 1815) and Mary (b. 1819).
New York natives Isaac and Mary were married sometime before 1837 by which time they had settled in Michigan. By 1850 William was living with his family in Onondaga, Ingham County, where his father worked as a carpenter.
William stood 5’3” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was a 19-year-old sailor and farmer possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was reported missing in action on June 30 or July 1, 1862 near Richmond, Virginia (probably White Oak Swamp), and eventually returned to the Regiment on August 8. He was reported as having “straggled behind regiment without leave.”
He was absent sick in the hospital from October through November of 1862, but recovered and was returned to duty. He reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, and was subsequently on veteran’s furlough through January of 1864.
William failed to return to the Regiment, however, and on February 29 was reported a deserter as of February 7, 1864; he was also reported as having deserted from the general rendezvous in Michigan on March 16, 1864. He was arrested on March 21 at Grand Haven, Ottawa County and was under arrest in April in Detroit, but had apparently returned to the Regiment by the time he was taken prisoner on May 9, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was initially confined at Richmond, Virginia, and on or about June 8 was sent to Andersonville, Georgia. He was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. William was admitted to the prison hospital in Andersonville on October 11 , 1864, reportedly suffering from scorbutus. He was paroled at Jacksonville, Florida, on April 28, 1865.
William was discharged from the service per General Order no. 77 (War Department), dated April 28, 1865, although he is otherwise listed as being mustered out at Camp Chase, Ohio on June 19, 1865.
William eventually returned to Michigan after the war.
He married Michigan native Sarah Lucinda Brown (b. 1855) on July 23, 1872, in Grayling, Crawford County or Mitchell’s Camp, Grant, Iosco County, and they had at least two children: a daughter Azuba Ann (b. 1874) and Martha M. (b. 1877).
By 1874 they still living in Grayling, but by 1880 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife (Laura?) and two daughters in Ingersoll, Midland County. By 1890 he was living in Bentley, Bay County.
In 1891 he was living in Michigan when he applied for a pension (no. 1034050) but apparently died before the pension was granted.
William died of scurvy and the effects of sunstroke on March 29, 1892, in Bentley and was presumably buried there.
In May of 1892 his widow, who was unable to read or write, was living in Birch Run, Saginaw County, Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 393566). She remarried in 1899.