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Civil War Soldiers - Rawlins

Rawlins, John A., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in East Galena, Ill., Feb. 13, 1831. He passed his early years on a farm, attended school during the winter months, and also engaged in burning charcoal. He studied law in Galena, 1854-55, was admitted to the bar and became a partner of his preceptor, Isaac P. Stevens. He was city attorney for Galena in 1857, a Democratic candidate for presidential elector in 1860, and during the campaign of that year held a series of debates with his rival, gaining considerable local reputation as an orator. At a meeting held in Galena after the fall of Fort Sumter he favored the maintenance of the union by force of arms and was appointed aide-de-camp to Gen. Grant. Although the youngest member of his staff, Grant promoted him assistant adjutant-general with the rank of captain, Sept. 15, 1861, his commission dating from Aug. 31, and he served with Grant throughout the remainder of the war, with the exception of Aug. and Sept., 1864, when he was absent on sick leave. His valuable services won his rapid promotion as follows: major, May 14, 1862; lieutenant- colonel, Nov. 1, 1862; brigadier-general of volunteers, Aug. 11, 1863; brigadier-general U. S. A. and chief of staff, March 3, 1865; brevet major-general of volunteers, Feb. 24, 1865, and brevet major-general U. S. A., March 13, 1865. Gen. Rawlins was held in high esteem by Grant, who characterized him in a letter to Henry Wilson, chairman of the senate military committee, urging his confirmation as brigadier- general, as "more nearly indispensable to me than any other officer in the service." Gen. Rawlins became secretary of war in President Grant's cabinet, March 9, 1869, and held the office until his death, which resulted from pulmonary consumption contracted during the war, at Washington, D. C., Sept. 9, 1869.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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