Major William S. Beebe was born in New York on February 14, 1841 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1863 as a second lieutenant of Ordnance.
On August 23, 1864 he became a brevet major. Major Beebe distinguished himself on several occasions during the Civil War by his courage and daring.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 30, 1897 for gallantry at Cane River Crossing, Louisiana, where on April 23, 1864 he led a successful assault on a highly fortified position.
In 1870, he again distinguished himself at an arsenal laboratory when, after an explosion, he and a few assistants rolled 20 barrels of powder and a number of loaded shells from the building.
Major Beebe resigned his commission in 1874, but became a Major of Volunteers in 1898. Major Beebe died of yellow fever while on active duty in Cuba on October 12, 1898.