Thomas Howard Ruger

Thomas Howard Ruger, the son of an Episcopal minister, was born April 2, 1833, in Lima, New York, but the family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin, when he was thirteen. In 1850 he was appointed to the Military Academy and was graduated in 1854, ranking third in his class. A year later he resigned his commission to become a lawyer in Janesville. Ruger reentered the service as lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Wisconsin on June 29, 1861, and became colonel on September 1. After "preventing the assemblage of a Rebel Legislature at Frederick, Maryland" in the same month, he had the misfortune to be associated with N. P. Banks in the Shenandoah Valley and again at Cedar Mountain, where Stonewall Jackson drove the Union forces helter-skelter. During the Maryland campaign Ruger's regiment was a part of the XII Corps; he was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers to rank from November 29, 1862. In the meantime he was wounded during the fight at Sharpsburg while in brigade command. In the campaign of Chancellorsville he commanded a brigade of Alpheus Williams' division; and at Gettysburg he directed the division while Williams was temporarily in command of the XII Corps, and Henry W. Slocum of the right wing of the army. When the XI and XII Corps were sent to the western theater and consolidated as the XX Corps, Ruger again commanded a brigade in Williams' division. After the fall of Atlanta he accompanied General G. H. Thomas' detachment back to Tennessee, and was in command of a division of the XXIII Corps at the savage battle of Franklin, where his heroism later earned him the brevet of major general of volunteers. In the Carolina campaign which terminated with the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston's army at Durham Station, North Carolina, Ruger's 1st Division, along with the balance of John M. Schofield's corps, joined W. T. Sherman in time to participate in the closing scenes of the war in the East. Following the war he commanded the Department of North Carolina for a year and then was made colonel of the 33rd Infantry, one of the newly authorized regular regiments. General Ruger served as superintendent of West Point in the seventies, was advanced to brigadier general in 1886 and major general in 1895. His postbellum career embraced the command of various military departments as well as active duty in the field. Retired at the statutory age of sixty-four, he spent his last years in Stamford, Connecticut, where he died on June 3, 1907. He was buried at West Point.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.