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William Stedman

November 26, 1815 – July 6, 1869

William Stedman was a commander of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment who also served in the Ohio House of representatives and the Ohio Senate.

William Stedman was born in Granville, Ohio, on November 26, 1815. He was the son of William Stedman and Samantha Rose, both of whom were from Massachusetts. Young Stedman grew up on the family farm. When Stedman was twelve years old, his father died.

When Stedman was about eighteen years old he enrolled in the preparatory department at Hudson College (Western Reserve College). He later attended Ohio University, but dropped out due to ill health.

Stedman moved to Randolph, Ohio, in Portage County, where he married Elizabeth Elmore, in May 1837. Their marriage produced five children between 1839 and 1850. Primarily a farmer, Stedman also participated in some mercantile and manufacturing establishments.

While living in Portage County, Stedman became active in the temperance and abolitionist movements. His home was reportedly a stop on the Underground Railroad. He was an early member of the Republican Party in Northeast Ohio. In 1858, voters elected him to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served one term that was interrupted by the Civil War.

When war erupted, Stedman volunteered for three-months and served in the 7th Ohio Infantry. When his term expired, Stedman reenlisted and helped raise troopers for the 6th Ohio Cavalry Regiment. He was mustered into the volunteer army as a second lieutenant on August 18, 1861. Three days later (October 21) he was promoted to captain, (some sources say he was promoted to major on October 21) and six days later (October 27) he was promoted to major.

As a member of the 6th Ohio Cavalry, Stedman served in the Eastern Theater. In 1862, Stedman saw action with General John C. Fremont's army in the Shenandoah Valley in the Battle of Woodstock (June 2), the Battle of New Market (June 5), and the Battle of Cross Keys (June 8).

In June 1862, Stedman and the 6th Ohio Cavalry were attached to Major General John Pope's Army of Virginia. From August 28 – 30, they participated in the Battle of Bull Run II. Also in August, Stedman was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

When Union forces in the East were reorganized in September 1862 after the Confederate victory at Bull Run II, Stedman's regiment was transferred to the Army of the Potomac. On March 26, Stedman was promoted to colonel and placed in command of the regiment. During the Gettysburg Campaign in the summer of 1863, they participated the Battle of Brandy Station (June 9), the largest cavalry engagement of the Civil War. They also saw extensive action throughout the remainder of the campaign at the Battle of Aldie (June 17), the Battle of Middleburg (June 11 – June 19), the Battle of Upperville (June 21), the Battle of Williamsport (July 6 – 16), and the Battle of Boonsboro (July 8). During the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 – 3), the regiment was on guard duty at Westminster.

During the Wilderness Campaign of 1864, Stedman commanded the 6th Ohio Cavalry at the Battle of Yellow Tavern (May 11), the Battle of North Anna (May 23–26), the Battle of Haw's Shop (May 28), the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek (May 29 – 30), the Battle of Cold Harbor (May 31 – June 12), the Battle of Trevilian Station (June 11– June 12), and various other cavalry skirmishes.

Stedman mustered out of the volunteer army on October 6, 1864. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted to the rank of brigadier general. After leaving the army, Stedman returned to his home state where he was elected to a second term in the Ohio House of Representatives in 1864. In 1868, members of the House elected Stedman to a term in the Ohio Senate.

In April 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Stedman to a consular position in Cuba. While serving there he contracted yellow fever and died in Santiago de Cuba on July 6, 1869. He was buried at Center-Disciple Cemetery in Randolph, Ohio.

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