Unit Served: 9th Battalion Louisiana Infantry
Cemetery and Address: Magnolia Cemetery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
William Crawford Annis was born 12 July 1840 in Iberville Parish, Louisiana to John Annis and Sarah Brister. He began working in the newspaper business in 1852, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, probably as an apprentice printer. In 1860, he was listed on the census as being a clerk living in the household of his mother. He worked for the Baton Rouge Daily Gazette & Comet newspaper at that time. He was a member of the Sugar Bowl Debating Society and was one of the participants in a debate in which the question for debate was, “Does a State possess the right to secede from the Union?” The newspaper article announcing the debate didn’t state which side he took. [Daily Gazette & Comet, Baton Rouge, La., Dec. 11, 1860, p. 3, c. 1] but the newspaper he worked for was against secession.
William was married 9 April 1861 to Miss Rebecca Ann Williams in Baton Rouge. Their first child, John C. Annis, was born 29 Jan. 1862. William enlisted in the Confederate Army July 5, 1862 in Company B, 9th Battalion Louisiana Infantry. Just one month later, he participated in the Battle of Baton Rouge, 5 August 1862 in Colonel Henry Watkins Allen’s Brigade. Annis then fought throughout the Siege of Port Hudson May-July 1863. According to family oral history, being a native of the area, he served as a courier for General Franklin Gardner, carrying messages in and out, and having to swim the Mississippi River to do so. He was probably bringing back information from Confederate spies in Baton Rouge. His unit was often called upon to reinforce other parts of the line during attacks. Annis was surrendered with the garrison on 9 July 1862. He was paroled and returned to his home in Baton Rouge until exchanged in 1864. The remnants of his battalion became Company D of Gober’s Mounted Infantry Regiment and fought in various skirmishes with the Federals in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Shortly before the end of the war his regiment was reorganized as the 9th Louisiana Cavalry Regiment. He was paroled on 12 May 1865 at Gainesville, Alabama.
After, he returned the newspaper business and became the editor of a newspaper in St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, La. Followed by newspapers in Baton Rouge. Annis and his first wife had three more children before she died in 1868. He then remarried 14 Feb. 1871 to Almedia E.L. E.L. Reeks, and they had three children before she died in 1877. Annis married this third wife, the SCV member’s great-grandmother, Annie Wright on 16 July 1876. They had seven children, (my grandmother being the last) before she died in 1895. The fourth wife and the last was Isabel Gregory of England, who raised my grandmother. William C. Annis was active in civic affairs and served on the Democratic Central Committee, was elected to the Baton Rouge City Council, belonged to the Masonic fraternity, was a member of the Episcopal Church, and the United Confederate Veterans. He was a member of a committee that raised funds for the Confederate Monument in Baton Rouge. When he died on 21 October 1903 in Baton Rouge and was said to have been buried with his Confederate Cross of Honor presented to him by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.