Rufus R. Dawes' Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers
Dawes, Rufus R. (Rufus Robinson), 1838-1899
Rufus Dawes (1838-1899) was a 20-year-old recent college graduate when the war broke out. He quickly formed a company of lumberjacks and farmers from the vicinity of Mauston, in Juneau Co., and they were mustered in as Co. K of the 6th Infantry in the summer of 1861. Over the next three years, Dawes rose to be colonel of that regiment and a leader of the Iron Brigade. He wrote this memoir in 1890 using his original letters and journals from 1861-1865. He describes in vivid detail life in camp and on the march, encounters with famous generals, and the fighting at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse and Petersburg. His book pulls no punches, and reveals what it was like for a young man to be thrust into authority amid great challenges and horrors. After the war, Dawes became a prosperous merchant in Marietta, Ohio, and served a term in Congress before dying in 1899.