William Gilham, born in 1818 in Indiana, graduated 5th in his class at West Point in 1840, and served his country in both the Seminole War and the war with Mexico. In 1846, he was appointed a professor at VMI. Interestingly, Gilham was not only comandant of cadets, but instructor of Infantry tactics, while his colleague, Thomas Jackson, was instructor of Artillery Tactics.
After John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, Governor Wise, of Virginia, ordered Major Gilham to write a manual to train volunteers and militia. Finished in the fall of 1860, it was entitled Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States. This volume is presented here.
As the war began, in 1861, Gilham was commissioned a Colonel in the Confederate Army, and commanded Camp Lee, a camp of instruction for Virginia volunteers. Colonol Gilham organized and commanded the 21st Viginia Infantry, but was quickly promoted to brigade command, though retaining the rank of Colonel.
In 1862, Gilham realized that his true calling was as a teacher, and left the army for his beloved VMI. After the war, Virgina’s economy in tatters, he took a business position, and was quite successful. His health failing, he left Virgina for Vermont, there passing to his reward in 1872.