William N. Reed was born in 1838 in Portage County, Ohio, the son of Asa (b. 1811) and Rebecca (Fuller, b. 1813) and stepson of Sarah (b. 1823).
New York native Asa married Ohioan Sarah and settled in Ohio where they resided for many years. By 1850 Asa was living in Nelson, Portage County. Sometime between 1850 and 1856, however, Asa moved his family to Michigan, and by 1860 settled in Mill Point, Spring Lake Township, Ottawa County, where William worked as a carpenter along with his father and his younger brother Asa.
William stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 23-year-old carpenter probably living in Mill Point when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. William Drake also of Company A mentioned him in a letter on July 26, 1861. Drake wrote to one M.L. Hopkins in Mill Point that William Reed had been detailed as part of Birschschneider’s Sharpshooters during the federal retreat from Bull Run on July 21, 1861. William was discharged on September 16, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia, on account of aphonia (loss of voice) and tuberculosis.
He returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company F, Sixth Michigan cavalry on February 11, 1865, at Grand Rapids for 1 year, and was mustered on February 14 at Jackson, Jackson County, crediting Spring Lake, Ottawa County. He joined the Regiment on March 19, and quite possibly participated with the regiment in Lee’s surrender in April. it is also likely that he was on duty when the regiment participated in the Grand Review in Washington on May 23.
The Sixth was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on June 1 where the veterans and recruits were consolidated into the First Michigan cavalry later that month. The First Michigan cavalry served was on duty in the District of Utah from November of 1865 until March of 1866. William was transferred to Company K, First Michigan cavalry on November 17, 1865, probably at Forth Leavenworth and was mustered out on March 25, 1866, at Fort Bridger, Utah Territory.
After the war William returned to Michigan, probably to Mill Point.
He married Michigan native Ellen or Nellie (b. 1842) and they had at least two children: Albert (b. 1864) and Willie (b. 1867).
By 1870 William was working as a carpenter (he owned $1200 worth of real estate and living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County. (His father was also living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County in 1870.)
In 1861 he applied for and received a pension (no. 322503).
William probably died in late 1907 or early 1908.
In early 1908 his widow, then living in Kansas, applied for and received a pension (no. 643895).