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R. King
R. King

Federal (USV)

Brigadier General

Rufus King

(1814 - 1876)
Home State: New York
Command Billet: Commanding Division
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 1st Division, I Corps


Before the Antietam Campaign:
From a famous family, he attended Columbia College (his father Charles, longtime editor and publisher, was President there 1849-63), then West Point, graduating in 1833. He was assigned to the Engineers, but resigned in 1836. He was then editor for several New York papers and also adjutant general of New York while William Seward was Governor.

He moved to Milwaukee in the Wisconsin Territory in 1845. He was active in politics and was a newspaper editor. He was a member of the 1848 constitutional convention, superintendent of schools, and a regent of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1861 he was appointed by President Lincoln as Minister to the Papal States.

On 17 May 1861 he was appointed Brigadier General and organzed a brigade of the 5th and 6th Wisconsin and the 19th Indiana - the start of what was later known as the "Iron Brigade". In early 1862 he was assigned Division command under McDowell, and fought through the battle of Second Bull Run, then went to garrison duty at Washington.

In the Antietam Campaign:
From Washington, King's division proceeded to South Mountain, where he was relieved of his command, and his active miliatry career ended. He was replaced by BGen John P. Hatch. He was probably removed because of his involvement in the command confusion in McDowell 's Headquarters on 28 August, immediately after Gainesville - which may have resulted from his relinquishing command because of an epileptic event.

The remainder of the War:
He later performed garrison duty at Fortress Monroe, sat on Fitz John Porter's Court-Martial, and served as governor at Norfolk, Virginia. He resigned on October 20, 1863 and resumed the post as Minister at Rome.

References, Sources, and other notes:
Service summary from Heitman1, family and professional life from Appleton's2. Photo from Uriguen.3

Birth Date: 01/26/1814    Place of Birth: New York City, NY    
College: US Military Academy, West Point, NY    Graduating Year: 1833    Class Rank: 4
Death Date: 10/13/1876    Death Place: NY    


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, pg. 600  [AotW citation 390]

2   Fiske, John, and James Grant Wilson, editors, Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, 6 vols., New York City: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889  [AotW citation 391]

3   Uriguen, Mikel, Photo Gallery (Generals and Brevet Generals), Generals of the Civil War, Published c. 1998, first accessed 01 January 1998, <http://www.generalsandbrevets.com/>, Source page: /ngk/kingr.htm  [AotW citation 392]

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