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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

CIVIL WAR - William Jackson & Gen. Rufus R. Dawes

Submitted by

Scott A. Britton
Gen. Benjamin D. Fearing Camp #2
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Washington County, Ohio

.......with permission to post


[I have two items for you this time. First, as you may/may not know, I've been compiling a list of all of the Civil War soldiers with ties to Washington County, Ohio into a database for years now & have occasionally stopped by some of your websites for additional info. Would you like me to forward you what I've come up with on all of the colored troops in my database? You might already have most of it through Henry, but I've discovered some more details on some of them that Henry & Jerry had not previously found (to my knowledge anyway). In particular, one that stands out to me that I just discovered a few weeks ago is William Jackson, a personal servant to Gen. Rufus R. Dawes throughout much of his service with the 6th Wisconsin Infantry & the Iron Brigade. I found his obit in the local newspaper which listed him as only 15 yrs old when he met up with Rufus at Fredericksburg, VA. The highlights of his obit is as follows: Although he never formally enlisted in a unit (he didn't join a colored regiment, but stayed with the 6th Wisconsin throughout the war), he served as Rufus R. Dawes' personal assistant/servant. Gen. Dawes stated William was under fire & often much exposed in the battles of Gainesville, 2nd Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor & Petersburg. William never married. After the war, he paid the expenses to send his brother Moses back to Fredericksburg to free his mother & sister. He cared for & supported both ladies for the rest of his/their lives. His obituary states his mother was "whipped so severely her speech was almost destroyed" & his sister was "rendered an idiot by brutal blows on the head." His obituary, written by Gen. Dawes himself, stated he (Dawes) knew him as a devoted friend & brave and true man. This is high praise from one of America's true heroes!! William was a grocer & salon keeper after the war in Harmar.
Although he was never formally enlisted in a unit, if Gen. Dawes said he was under fire at all of those battles with him...and you probably know the remarkable story of his service...his vouching for him alone merits inclusion in my database. I would be happy to send you that info, as well as the other things regarding the other colored troops (including local white officers in command of them). Speaking of white officers in command of black troops...have you heard that some local folks have very recently published a book on Lt. Reuben Simms Mason (55th USCI-aka 1st AL African Descent, Co. G). Although I haven't yet gotten a copy, I've read excerpts of his letters/personal writings in the past and know they are very interesting. If memory serves, he was captured in command of the colored troops, sent to Andersonville, but survived his captivity.]

NOTE: The William Jackson obituary and additional information on the Lt. Reuben Simms Mason book will be posted as soon as it becomes available.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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