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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy


William Orme

Born in the District of Columbia on 17 Feb 1832, William Ward Orme, graduated from Mount St. Mary's College in Maryland. He moved to Chicago, and then to Bloomington, Illinois, where he was admitted to the bar and became a law partner of Leonard Swet, gaining the respect of future president Abraham Lincoln.

He attended the 1861 Illinois constitutional convention, then answered the call to fight.

On August 20, 1862, he joined the 94th Illinois Infantry as its colonel. He commanded a brigade four months later in the costly battle at Prairie Grove, Arkansas. There he took part in Brigadier General Francis J. Herron's exhaustive race against the troops of Major General Thomas C. Hindman and was victorious in the thickest of the fighting. For his performance in this battle he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1863 he joined Herron again in Major General Ulysses S. Grant's Siege of Vicksburg on June 11th.

He contracted tuberculosis and was forced to retire from the battlefield, becoming a Union prison inspector in the Northern states. By the end of the year he was in Chicago as the supervisor of the Camp Douglas prison. His health forced him to resign from the army completely in April 1864.

He was then appointed by his old friend Lincoln to the United States Treasury Department as a supervising special agent. Again due to his health, he resigned his post in November 1865 to live out his last days at his home in Bloomington.

Brigadier General William Ward Orme passed away on 13 Sep 1866 at the age of 34 and is interred at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington.


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