Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ELY, William G., soldier, born about 1835. At the beginning of the civil war he enlisted as a private for the three months' call, went out again as lieutenant colonel of the 6th Connecticut infantry, and was afterward elected colonel of the 18th regiment. On 13 June 1863, in charge of the 2d brigade, he advanced upon the Fort Royal pike, and, while in action, was made a prisoner. He was confined in Libby prison, Richmond, Virginia, till the following February when, with 108 other officers, he escaped through the famous tunnel dug under Twentieth Street. About fifty of the party were recaptured, among them Colonel Ely, in a state of great exhaustion. He was taken by cavalry forty-two miles out, after being absent four days, and returned to the prison. A few weeks later he was paroled, and returned north, his exchange following. On 17 May 1864. he rejoined his regiment, and commanded it at the battle of Piedmont on 4 June 1864. On 18 June in the advance toward Lynchburg, he was wounded in the throat and temporarily disabled. In August he was assigned to the command of a brigade, and in September was brevetted a brigadier general.
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