Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. Born in Barre, Massachusetts to a respectable family, he had an early interest in the military, and graduated from West Point at the age of twenty-three. He was first assigned to the Fifth Infantry in the northwest until the Florida War of 1840, then was stationed in Wisconsin and Michigan until 1845 when he took part in the military occupation of Texas. With the onset of the Mexican-American War, he proved his worth as a leader in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and was promoted to captain. In 1847 he was at the battles of Vera Cruz, San Antonio and Molino del Rey, earning a promotion to brevet major, then at the Battles of Contrears, Cahpultepec and Churubusco, where he earned his brevet lieutenant-colonel rank. From the end of the Mexican War until 1858 he remained stationed in Texas. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he immediately resigned from the United States Army and was commissioned a brigadier general of the Virginia Volunteers for the Confederacy, his area of command being the Fredericksburg area of northern Virginia. He led his troops in the Battles of Aquia Creek and Mathias Point before he was ordered south to Pensacola, Florida, then to New Orleans, Louisiana. Early in 1862, he was personally requested by General Bragg to organize a brigade headed for Shiloh. Ruggles commanded the First Division of Bragg's Corps, where he was specifically noted for his bravery on the field and camaraderie with his men. At one point Union troops rallied against the Confederates and would have succeeded if Ruggles had not made a spur-of-the-moment decision to concentrate the artillery to the right flank of the opposing army, driving back any hope of reinforcement. The second day of the battle, he led the charge of the Seventeenth Louisiana Regiment, carrying the flag himself. On May 9th he served in the Battle of Farmington and by June had been ordered to the Gulf Coast. Fighting with distinction in the Battle of Baton Rouge, he was given command of the First Military District of Mississippi. Moving his headquarters to Columbus in April 1864, he led his men one last time at the Battle of Vicksburg before being ordered to the rear due to his advancing age. Determined to serve any way he could, he accepted a post as commissary-general and at the end of the War in 1864, oversaw the exchange and release of POWs. With the Civil War ended, the old general moved to Fredericksburg, still working with the military as a member of the visitors board for the United States Military Academy from 1884 until his death at the age of eighty-seven.
Bio by: Lysa