William Rufus Terrill

This marker is Gen. W.R. Terrill's wife's marker, with the inscription "widow of........" W.R. Terrill. There is no individual marker for the general.   Added by: Joe Ferrell 11/06/2003

William Rufus Terrill was born April 21, 1834, in Covington, Virginia, but he grew up in Warm Springs, Virginia, where his father was a prominent lawyer and member of the Virginia legislature both before and during the Civil War. His brother James Barbour Terrill was a Confederate brigadier who was killed in action near Cold Harbor in 1864. William Rufus was appointed to West Point in 1849, was graduated in 1853, and was subsequently posted to the artillery. He served in garrison, against the Seminoles in Florida, on recruiting duty, at the Academy as a mathematics instructor, in the Kansas border disturbances, and on coastal surveys. According to family tradition, when civil war threatened he went to his father's home to discuss what course he should take and ultimately determined to adhere to the Union so long as he did not have to serve in Virginia. On May 14, 1861, he was commissioned a captain of the newly authorized 5th Regular Artillery and was employed in recruiting and organizing his battery at Washington. He then was sent to Kentucky as commandant of the camp of instruction near Louisville. During the first six months of 1862, Terrill was chief of artillery of the 2nd Division (McCook's) of D. C. Buell's Army of the Ohio. At Shiloh, "Terrill's Battery was a host in itself. Its fire was terrific. It was handled superbly. Wherever [he] turned his guns, silence prevailed. . . ."  He took part in the siege of Corinth which followed and then was attached to General William Nelson's forces, whose mission was to oppose Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky. After the debacle at Richmond, Kentucky, Terrill was made a brigadier general of volunteers to rank from September 9, 1862, upon the recommendation of General H. G. Wright, who was commanding the Department of the Ohio. At the battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862, Terrill was in command of one of the two brigades of James S. Jackson's division of Alex. McD. McCook's corps. Both brigade commanders as well as Jackson lost their lives, Terrill "while in the act of rallying his broken troops." About 4:00 P.M. he was struck in the side by a shell fragment and he died at 11:00 P.M. in a field hospital. General Terrill is now 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.