William, the son of Charles Rawolle and Carlotta Rogge, emigrated with them from Prussia to the U.S. as an infant. He enlisted from Flushing, New York as a 2nd Lieutenant into Battery "L", 2nd New York Heavy Artillery on 1 October 1861, and promoted 1st Lt. on 4 March 1862.
William was commissioned Captain and Aide-de-Camp on 21 June 1862, thereafter serving on the staffs of generals Samuel Sturgis and John Wool and participating in numerous battles. He received the brevet rank of Lt.-Colonel for his service. He served in the Army after the Civil War, including acton against Indian forces on the frontier.
He and wife Anna V. "Fannie" Armstrong had five children: Nannie, Carlotta, Bertha, William and Kate Marie.
Born in Prussia – Appointed from New York.
2d Lieutenant, 2d N.Y. Artillery, October 26, 1861; 1st Lieutenant, 2d N.Y. Artillery, March 4, 1862; Captain and Aides De Camp to Generals Sturgis and Wool, June 21, 1862; Brevet Major of Volunteers, March 13, 1865, for gallant & meritorious service in the Army of the Potomac; Brevet Lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers, March 13, 1865, for service in the West and for gallantry, daring and good conduct in the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads, Mississippi; resigned August 11, 1865; appointed 2d Lieutenant, 2d Cavalry, June 6, 1868; 1st Lieutenant, April 26, 1869; Regimental Quarter Master, July 15, 1870 to September 15, 1874; Regimental Adjutant, March 31, 1878 to August 12, 1880; Captain, December 20, 1880; died at Brooklyn, N.Y., June 10, 1895, of heart failure, having served 27 years and 5 days with the 2d Cavalry.