This Memorial Day, in keeping with the original spirit of the holiday, we remember Civil War soldier and fallen Delawarean, William Laws Cannon. Cannon was born in Bridgeville, Delaware on April 6, 1839 to William and Margaret Ann Laws Cannon. His father, a local merchant, became Governor of Delaware during the Civil War. William Laws Cannon attended Dickinson College, graduating in 1860 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, after which he began working for the Census Bureau in Washington D.C.
When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted and became a Captain in Company B of the First Delaware Cavalry. Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, he contracted typhoid fever during the occupation of Bel Air, Maryland and died there on August 18, 1863. He was returned to Delaware and buried with full military honors in the family plot at Bridgeville Cemetery in Sussex County. His epitaph reads:
“A man of intense full life.
A son of most affectionate disposition.
A friend whose constancy never wavered.
A soul of noblest impulse.
He gave his heart to God and his life for his country.”