• Brig. Gen. Ruger Led Troops At Gettysburg, Antietam, Offers Opinion On Meeting Lincoln And The War

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    Thomas H. Ruger was a West Point graduate who had retired from the army to become a lawyer in 1850s Wisconsin and achieved the rank of brigadier general in the Civil War. He saw action at the Battle of Antietam and led troops at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He was brevetted a brigadier general for his actions at Gettysburg and, after the war, served as the Provisional Governor of Georgia from January 13 through July 4, 1868, and the District of Alabama until February 1, 1869.

    Offering a superb 11 pp on three bifolium sheets, 5 x 8, Camp near Maryland Heights, MD, October 3, 1862. Written to his wife Helen, Ruger signs the letter “Howard.”  The original cover has been addressed in his hand.  In this lengthy letter, Ruger discusses missing his wife, the need to fill the old regiment rather than raise new ones, meeting President Lincoln and hearing his stories and offering his critical opinion of Lincoln.  “Old Abe is a good man but darling, not a great man...”


    In part, "...If we are on active duty during the winter there will necessarily be much suffering however successful we may be. I am willing to undergo the privations of a campaign if at last I return safely to my darling little wifey. I expect to do my duty, wifey, but it would be very pleasant to pass this fine fall weather with you and little Paty…I see no way of ending this war but to fight it out, and for me but to do my duty hoping to be brought safely through it to enjoy the society of my wifey all the more for the long separation. All is quiet now, but how long the quiet will continue I cannot even conjecture. The speculation of the papers are of no account. There are but two or three probably courses for us to take but which of them will be chosen I can't tell. Of course I have my views on the subject of what is or appears to be the best plan…I see that there seems little prospect of the draft being made in Wisconsin to fill up the old regiments. It seems as if we never will learn wisdom. It is of much greater importance to fill up the old regiments than to raise so many new ones…The new regiments are composed of good material but the officers are for the most part deficient in military knowledge…

    “...How do matters go on at home about as usual I suppose. For yourself attending to the usual daily duties and cares, visiting some returning calls, going down to the store, talking over matters with your mother and Hattie, talking a great deal to Paty and watching her girlish pranks, thinking a great deal about Howard, reading the papers for war news, watching for a letter from me and hoping that all this may end and you will soon be in your own house with your husband. The picture makes you a very loving wife and is somewhat flattering to myself but it is true is it not wifey, you little sweet, just imagine a good kissing…

    “...I almost forgot to tell you that the President was here yesterday. I had the honor of being introduced and hearing him tell several stories, you have heard of the Presidential inclination for stories. Old Abe is a good man but darling, not a great man, for these times which latter remark may be somewhat objectionable as implying that what is great under some circumstances may not be under others. Perhaps President Lincoln has done as well all things considered as anyone would. The fact is Helen we cannot judge as truly as people will who are not actors in and witnesses of the present scenes. Exact justice of opinion will be more surely found among thinking candid men after the present condition of things has passed away and the results are seen…"

    The letter is accompanied by the original envelope, hand-addressed by Ruger and including his signature in the address to his wife, "Mrs. T. H. Ruger." Folds and light soiling. Boldly signed. Expected wear to the envelope. A fine example of Civil War history from an accomplished soldier.

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