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    Indian Content Grouping of Letters to Thomas H. Ruger consisting of six letters spanning the years 1854 through 1855. Thomas Ruger, a recent graduate of West Point, was ordered to report to New Orleans to assist Major Pierre G. T. Beauregard in fortifying Forts Jackson and St. Philip along the Mississippi River. Seeing no advancement in the future, he resigned his commission as lieutenant from the Corps of Engineers in early 1855.

    His brother, Edward Ruger, was also an engineer in the U. S. Army, continued on survey and producing topographical maps for the army, a task he would continue throughout the Civil War. Here, a young Edward writes to his brother, Tom, about a recent survey trip and some recent troubles with the local Indians. Edward Ruger AL. One page, 8" x 12", Janesville [Wisconsin], March 12, 1855. He comments that game was plentiful, but there was an incident with local Indians, in part: "The Indians did not give us any trouble but they killed two white men within a few miles of us while on a drunken spree. they obtained some liquor of a camp of lumbermen and comming [sic] back for more they were told that they could not have it when they immediatley [sic] surrounded the camp and killed two of their number The old Chief has sent word to the Governor that if he will prosecute the men that sold them the whiskey that he will deliver up the murderers...There have been some men sent out from Fort Snelling to take them...We were on disputed teritory [sic] between the Souix [sic] and Chipewas [sic] and as they always fight whenever they meet each other on the disputed tract it is frequently made the scene of their skirmishis [sic]...The Souix [sic]...are well built fine looking fellows generaly [sic] and are peaceable unless drunk or abused."

    The year before, Ruger received three letters from a friend known simply as "Pat." Also a soldier, Pat complains incessantly about his current post at Hudson, Wisconsin. He talks about his arrival on the frontier via a riverboat, but complains to Tom: "Do not come to this damn hole...of all the down places in the world this is the is purely god one here but blue bellied Yankees..." By December, 1854, "Paddy" finds himself at "Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation": "...This place is much pleasanter than Jefferson Barracks [near St. Louis]..."

    In 1855, Ruger receives another letter from Pat. He is still stationed at Fort Gibson [Arkansas]. This time, he has more to report than the status of the womenfolk around the fort: "We - 'That is the 7th,' are expecting orders every day to prepare for a trip on the plains against the Sioux. However, there is nothing certain in it, and in fact the whole thing is conjecture."

    Thomas H. Ruger reenlisted in the volunteer army with the outbreak of the Civil War where he saw action at the Battle of Antietam and led troops at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He remained in the regular army after the war and was brevetted brigadier general for his actions at Gettysburg. He served as the military governor of Georgia and as head of the Department of the South during Reconstruction. He was superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy before being posted on the frontier, participating in the Crow War.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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