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R.D. Pettit

R.D. Pettit

Federal (USV)


Rufus Dudley Pettit

(1824 - 1891)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Battery Commander

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: 1st New York Light Artillery, Battery B


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

Orphaned as a small child, he was raised on a farm at Cold Springs, New York. He apprenticed to an architect at age 18, but, at 22, volunteered for Mexican War service. He saw combat -- notably at Veracruz, Cerro Gordo and Mexico City -- with Company A, of the 1st New York Volunteers. He returned to farming in New York until the outbreak of the Civil War.

In 1861, building on his prior service, he recruited a company of men which became Company (Battery) B, 1st New York Light Artillery. He mustered into service as Captain of the battery at Baldwinsville, NY, on 29 August 1861, and was in action first on the Peninsula Campaign in the summer of 1862.

On the Campaign

He was in command of the Battery on the Maryland Campaign.

The rest of the War

He saw action at Fredericksburg (December 1862) and Chancellorsville (May 1863), but soon after resigned his commission for health reasons. He returned to service, appointed Captain of the 12th Veteran Reserve Corps--a unit for those not medically fit for front-line duty-- on 6 February 1864. He was made superintendent and inspector of prisons at Alexandria, Virginia in July of that year. In November 1865 he was courtmartialled for abusing prisoners, convicted, and dismissed from the service on 13 December 1865.

After the War

He returned to Baldwinsville, left farming, and practiced law.

References & notes

Most of the information and the photograph above are from Lowry1. Additional dates from roster data presented by Wooster2, and unit service found in the OR3.

A collection of Pettit's papers (index, pdf) from 1864-65 are in the Alexandria (Va) Public Library.


1824 in NY


10/24/1891; burial in Riverside Cemetery, Baldwinsville, NY


1   Lowry, Thomas P., Ruthless Rufus, Civil War Times Illustrated, 2000-10-01, pp. 52-  [AotW citation 580]

2   Wooster, Kenneth Jennings, 1st Regiment, Light Artillery, N. Y. S. Volunteers - Battery B (Pettit's Battery), Published 1998, first accessed 01 January 2005, <>  [AotW citation 581]

3   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, various  [AotW citation 582]