Last updated: June 17, 2015
William E Starke
From the Peninsula to Maryland: Starke's role in the summer of 1862
Despite his lack of formal military education when he volunteered his services to the Confederate Army, William Starke was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 53rd Virginia Infantry. During the Peninsula Campaign he served as the Colonel of the 60th Virginia, in which capacity he was wounded in the hand during the Seven Days Battles on June 26, 1862.
For his gallant efforts he was commended twice and then promoted to brigadier general on August 6, 1862 and given command of the Second Louisiana Brigade.
During the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) Starke took command of the entire Stonewall Division when General Taliaferro was wounded.
For unknown reasons, Jackson decided not to leave him in permanent command of the division, appointing staff officer John R. Jones instead.
During the Maryland Campaign Starke's Brigade was part of the force that captured the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry on September 15.
The following day they marched north to Sharpsburg, Maryland where they established a line to meet Hooker's attack on the morning of September 17.
When John R. Jones was stunned by an artillery shell and taken from the field, Starke took command of the Stonewall Division once again.
The continual onslaught of the I Corps' attack began to drive his men back, so Starke rallied the men and led a counterattack, pushing into the advancing Federals. As he did so Starke was shot three times and died within an hour.
Fellow Confederate officer Clement Evans later wrote of Starke: "His name deserves lasting remembrance in association with the Stonewall division."
Starke's body was returned to Richmond where he was buried in Hollywood Cemetery next to his son who had been killed two months earlier.
Starke is one of six generals killed or mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam.