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Federal (USV)


William Charles Rawolle

(1840 - 1895)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Aide de Camp

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: 2nd Division, 9th Corps

Before Antietam

He came to America with his family at a young age. At 21 years old he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Battery L, 2nd New York Heavy Artillery (later called the 34th Independent Battery, Light) on 26 October 1861, and promoted First Lieutenant to date from 4 March 1862. He was appointed Captain and Acting Aide de Camp, US Volunteers on 21 June 1862.

On the Campaign

He was aide to General Sturgis, Second Division, Ninth (IX) Army Corps in Maryland. From the General's after-action Report:

[on 14 September on South Mountain] ... Discovering a battery of the enemy some 1,500 yards to our right, and so posted as to expose our line to a flank fire, I directed my aide-de-camp, Captain Rawolle, to open upon it with Captain Durell's battery. The enemy's battery was silenced in a few moments, and withdrawn from the field. These batteries, under the able direction of Captain Rawolle, rendered material aid afterward, and from the same point, to the troops of General Hooker while hotly pressed on the hills to the right of the Hagerstown road ... [at Antietam] On the morning of the 17th the enemy opened a heavy artillery fire, from which their projectiles fell thick in our camp, and I sent Captain Rawolle forward with Captain Durell's battery ... My aide-de-camp and ordnance officer, Captain W. C. Rawolle, I cannot commend in too high terms. He was invaluable at all times, carrying orders, placing the artillery in favorable positions, bringing up ammunition, and making himself useful in every department. I would commend this officer to special consideration, as I look upon him as one of the most promising young officers in the service.

The rest of the War

He continued on General Sturgis' staff in the Western Theater. On 13 March 1865 he was honored by brevets to Major for "gallant and meritorious service" in the Army of the Potomac (including at 2nd Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Warrenton, Sulphur Springs, and Fredericksburg), and to Lieutenant Colonel for service in the West (including the East Tennessee Cavalry Campaign, expedition in Northern Mississippi, and at Brice's Cross Roads, MS). He resigned his commission on 11 August 1865.

After the War

He was given a commission in the Regular Army as 2nd Lieutenant, 2nd US Cavalry on 6 June 1868. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 26 April 1869. He served as Regimental Quartermaster from 15 July 1870 to 15 September 1874, and Adjutant from 31 March 1878 to 31 August 1880. He commanded the rear guard - Company E of the 2nd Cavalry - at the Battle of Powder River on 14 March 1876, and was wounded in action there. He led Company B on the Little Big Horn Campaign later that year. He was again promoted, to Captain, on 20 December 1880. In 1895, not yet 55 years old, he "died suddenly of heart failure while on a sick leave visit to his Brooklyn home at 263 Hicks Street."

References & notes

Basic information from Heitman1 and Phisterer2. His gravesite is on Findagrave. The quote about his death from a bio sketch on the Green-Wood Cemetery site. His brother Frederick (1842-1903) was a civil and railroad engineer, and had a very successful glycerin business (Marx & Rawolle) in Brooklyn from 1870 to his death.


08/28/1840 in PRUSSIA


06/10/1895; Brooklyn, NY; burial in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, 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, Vol. 1, pg. 817  [AotW citation 14889]

2   Phisterer, Frederick, New York in the War of the Rebellion, 6 volumes, Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1909-12, Vol. 2, pg. 1633  [AotW citation 14890]