I started wondering - what was in Elmira? Why take him there, instead of one of the other prison camps? So (naturally) I looked it up. I discovered that Camp Elmira (known as Hellmira by the Confederate soldiers) was opened just two days before William arrived there, and housed over 12,000 prisoners. Over the following year (which included a particularly harsh winter) one quarter of those soldiers died from disease, malnutrition, or exposure. On William's North Carolina pension application was noted the fact that his eyesight was failing, and he was in very poor health. No wonder.
But William wasn't the only one in his family who was involved in the Civil War. His brothers Louis J. and Frank D. Kiker also served, in the same unit. Louis, although wounded, survived the war. Frank did not. He died of a fractured leg at White House Landing, Virginia, June 10, 1864, a month before William was taken captive.
Sometimes, instead of the stories driving us to find the records, it's the other way around.