William Rufus King “WRK” Stanford, born 14th of January, 1849, in Girard, Alabama, worked at the Columbus, GA Naval Iron Works
Officially enlisted on the 11th of March, 1862, in Captain McGhee’s Company C of the Naval Works Battalion, CSN, commanded by Maj. Samuel Whiteside.
His brother, John Henry Stanford, was working at the Naval Iron Works at $5 a day as a boilermaker. Their father, Thomas, was the number 1 blacksmith and received $10 a day. Crews from the Naval Iron Works were sent to install or repair Navy ships’ machinery at various bases all over the lower South. John Henry was part of these repair/installation parties. In 1864 John Henry Stanford became ill at the Mobile, Alabama Naval Yard while repairing a boiler. He was brought home, where he soon died of consumption (tuberculosis) at the age of nineteen.
By 1864 Billy had become an experienced young man of 15 years, with two years service in the Confederate Navy. The South had experienced tremendous setbacks, and yet the worst was about to come. For in the summer of 1864 General William T. Sherman of the Union Army invaded Georgia. All of the militia, including the Naval Works Battalion, were called up to defend against the Yankee invaders. Billy and the Naval Battalion manned the defense line as Union General Rosseau’s troops came within 30 miles of Columbus. The battalion was also called out to assist against the Union siege of Savannah in late 1864. Savannah was subsequently captured but the battalion was able to return to Columbus.
They lived through the years in New Orleans, Birmingham, Dallas and Mobile. Billy followed in his father’s profession and became an accomplished boilermaker.