Ca. 1861 signature as Brigadier General of Virginia Volunteers, noted for hammering Union forces at “The Hornets Nest” at Shiloh 1862
Description: (1810-1897) USMA 1833, CSA brigadier general, division commander at Shiloh.
Appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant, 5th US Infantry in Wisconsin, spent years in the Midwest with border and recruiting duties. In 1839, 1st Lieutenant Ruggles fought in the Seminole War in Florida, returned in 1840 to the Canada–US border; In 1845 he took part in the occupation of Texas. The 5th Infantry, part of the 2nd Brigade under Col. David Twiggs, saw action at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and he was promoted to captain 1846. Ruggles joined Scott’s army for Vera Cruz, San Antonio, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, Chapultepec and Mexico City; he was breveted major and lieut. colonel. After the war, he was on frontier duty in Texas and surrounding territories. After the 1858-59 Utah Expedition, he was on leave to the start of the Civil War.
Ruggles resigned his US Army commission May 7, 1861 and was appointed Brigadier General of Militia and Colonel in the Provisional Army of Virginia commanding of the Aquia District where he set up shore batteries to block the Chesapeake Bay. His troops resisted a US Navy landing party and prevented a Union beachhead in the Battle of Mathias Point. On August 9, he was promoted to Brigadier General in Braxton Bragg’s Army of Pensacola in Florida, although he was a known abolitionist. Simultaneously commanding the District of Northern Alabama, Ruggle’s brigade moved into Mississippi with Bragg in Feb. 1862. He was given command of a division in Bragg’s Corps in the Army of Mississippi under Albert Sidney Johnston and marched north for the Shiloh Campaign.
At Shiloh, Ruggles, on April 6, saw repeated Confederate charges fail against the Union line known as “The Hornets Nest”. He told his commanders to “Get every gun you can find.” Artillery from every part of the field lined up in a row of 62 cannons, called “Ruggles’s Battery” (biggest concentration of artillery ever assembled in North America to that point), which hammered the Hornets Nest until the last CSA charge forced its surrender 12 hours after the battle began.
He fought under Breckinridge in the failed 1862 campaign to regain control of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ruggles led the Port Hudson position on the Mississippi in Louisiana Aug. 15-29 1862 and supervised the planning and initial construction of fortifications there. On the 29th he was ordered by Breckinridge to move to Mississippi to aid Earl Van Dorn in recapturing Corinth, Mississippi. For the rest of the war he performed administrative duties and headed the prison system in 1865, overseeing the final exchange of Union prisoners of war at the end of the conflict.
After the war, Ruggles was a Virginia real estate agent and farmer, later a member of the West Point Board of Visitors.
1861 war-date signature on light-blue lined slip as “Brig. Genl. Va. Vols/ Commanding Dept.”
Condition: Very good, mount remnant left side verso, tad uneven at lower left edge