Contributed by: Diane Siniard
Brigadier-General William Paul Roberts was born in Gates county, N.C., July 11, 1841. Before he was twenty years old he entered the Confederate service as a non- commissioned officer in the Nineteenth North Carolina regiment, or Second cavalry, Col. S. B. Spuill. He was promoted third lieutenant August 30, 1861; first lieu- tenant September 13, 1862; captain November 19, 1863, and though the junior captain, soon attained the rank of major. He served with distinction during the operations of the regiment in North Carolina, until transferred to Virginia in the fall of 1862. He then served on the Rappahannock line, at Fredericksburg, in the Suffolk campaign, and in the famous battle of Brandy Station, where the gallant Col. Sol Williams was killed. After participating in the fighting of the spring of 1864, in the North Carolina brigade of W. H. F. Lee's division, Roberts was promoted to colonel of the regiment. At Reams' Station, August 25th, with his regiment dismounted he made a gallant charge upon the enemy's rifle-pits, carrying them handsomely and capturing a number of prisoners. February 21, 1865, he was promoted brigadier-general, and General Lee's gauntlets were presented him by the great cheiftan as a mark of personal recognition of the young hero's distinguished gallantry. With his command, mainly composed of North Carolinans, he fought with valor at Five Forks, and during the retreat to Appomattox. After the close of hostilities he addressed himself with the same activity and courage to the reestablishment of the State and the restoration of its prosperity. In 1875 he represented Gates county in the convention, and in 1876-77 served in the legislature. In 1880 and 1884 he was elected auditor of State, an office the duties of which he discharged with notable ability for a period of eight years.