|Death: ||Jul. 15, 1863|
BILLY BOY was William Laird a "slow" boy from Berwick,York,Maine. Though illiterate and not able to read or write or understand what he was doing,he enlisted in the Army during the Civil War along with a group of other boys from his town. His father tried to stop him but somehow he was able to enlist. As long as he was with his home town friends,things went alright for Billy as they were all used to looking out for him, However,when Billy was sent
to a new unit away from his hometown friends,the men were merciless to him and took advantage of his simplicity. One night Billy decided to leave and began the long walk home from Maryland. Billy followed the North Star as his father had always tried to teach him. That star would bring Billy home... Billy did make it back to Maine and was arrested for desertion. He was tried in a military court in Augusta,Maine in June and found GUILTY of DESERTION and sentenced to be executed by a firing squad. It has been told that once President Lincoln was informed of Billy's story,he pardoned him but the pardon arrived too late. The irresponsibility of allowing a mentally challenged boy to enlist and the injustice of the military court system is mind boggling. Billy's parents went to Augusta with a wagon and brought Billy back home to the farm he loved. HIS BURIAL INSCRIPTION READS (EXECUTED AS A DESERTER,BUT IRRESPONSIBLE.) You can read about Billy in a book that was written as a historical fiction called,"BILLY BOY,SUNDAY SOLDIER of the 17th MAINE" Billy's grave is only a few miles from where I live...
Specifically: Buried on family farm
Created by: Keeper of the Stars
Record added: Sep 27, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 97876618