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James Fowler Rusling Letter

Identifier: MS-3671

  • Staff Only

The correspondence letter written on November 24 of 1864 by James Fowler Rusling (1834-1918) was sent to Captain Fletcher E. Marsh in the “F” Co. Michigan’s 19th Infantry, detailing the split rebel forces (numbering sixty) under General Hood as they crossed the Harpeth River during the Civil War in Beech Grove (Tennessee). Rusling wrote of mounted rebel men taking Dr. John S. Dixon from his home to help them find their way to the Harpeth River and releasing him afterwards. Captain Rusling described the rebel collection of canoes and skiffs so the men could cross the Harpeth River. Lastly, Rusling requested advice on how to proceed with the rebels from Captain Marsh.


  • 1864 November 24


The material in this collection is in English.

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The collection contains a letter written by Captain James Fowler Rusling (1834-1918) of the 17th U.S.C.T in Beech Grove, Tennessee to Captain Marsh of the "F" Co. MI 19th Infantry. The correspondence discusses rebel troop movements across the Harpeth River under General Hood in 1864.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Fowler Rusling was born on April 14, 1834 in Warren County, New Jersey. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1854 and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1859. He enlisted in the Army in April 1861 and was made a First Lieutenant and Quarter Master for the 5th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. Rusling resigned that commission in June 1862 in order to become a Captain in the Union Army Volunteer Quarter Master Corps under Joseph B. Carr. In May 1863, he became a Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Quarter Master under Major General Daniel E. Sickles. By April 1865, he had become a full Colonel and Inspector of the Quarter Master Department. After Rusling's inspection tour of the South (November 1865 to July 1866), he was promoted by brevet to Brigadier General. He mustered out on September 17, 1867 and resumed his law career in Trenton, New Jersey.

Rusling married Emily Elizabeth Wood (1847-1927) on June 30, 1870, and they had two children, James Wood (1874-1947) and Emily Wells (Rusling) Bates (1884-1982). In 1874, Rusling published a book about a trip he took after the war called The Great West and Pacific Coast. He also published Men and Things I Saw in Civil War Days (1899), which includes much of his personal correspondence, and European Days and Ways (1902). Rusling died on April 1, 1918 in Trenton, New Jersey and is buried in Riverview Cemetery.

Acquisition Note

This collection was purchased in 2012.

Related Materials

Interested researchers may wish to consult MS-1341, Colonel James F. Rusling Papers.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA