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Rufus King
[[Image:150px|center|200px|border]]Rufus King
Personal Information
Born: January 26, 1814
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Died: October 13, 1876 (aged 61–62)
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Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
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Branch: Union Army
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Battles: American Civil War
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Rufus King (January 26 or July 26, 1814[1] – October 13, 1876) was a newspaper editor, educator, U.S. diplomat, and a Union brigadier general in the American Civil War.

Early life[]

King was born in New York City, New York, the grandson of Rufus King, delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. After graduation from Columbia College, where his father, Charles King, served as president, King enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point. King graduated near the top of his class, and was appointed to the engineer corps in 1833. He resigned his commission in 1836.

After a short time with the New York and Erie Railroad, King served as the associate editor for two newspapers, the Albany Evening Journal and the Albany Advertiser (1841–45). At this point, he left New York and moved to the Wisconsin Territory, accomplishing a mixture of politics (member of the 1848 Wisconsin constitutional convention), journalism (part owner of the Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette), and education (superintendent of schools in Milwaukee and a regent of the University of Wisconsin–Madison). King also organized and played in the first three baseball games played in the state of Wisconsin. The matches were played at the old State Fairgrounds (what is now the Marquette University campus) during the winter of 1859.

Civil War[]

King was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as Minister to the Papal States in 1861. On his way to Rome when the Civil War broke out, he took a leave of absence to come to the defense of his country. He was appointed a brigadier general of the Wisconsin militia on April 15, 1861, and of U.S. volunteers on May 17, and was given authorization to raise a Wisconsin regiment. King succeeded in organizing the beginning of what came to be known as the famous Iron Brigade; he rose to division command before the brigade acquired its name or saw combat. In December 1862, King served on the court-martial that convicted Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter of disobedience and cowardice for his actions at the Second Battle of Bull Run, a battle that King himself had missed—although his division had been involved in the opening action—due to a bout of epilepsy. As these bouts became more frequent, King resigned his commission in October 1863 and resumed his Ministerial post.

Postbellum career[]

Returning to New York from Rome in 1867, King served for two years as deputy comptroller of customs for the Port of New York, but then retired from public life on account of failing health until he died in 1876. He is buried in Grace Churchyard, Jamaica, New York.

King was the father of Rufus King, Jr., of the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade in the Civil War, and General Charles King of the Philippine-American War.

See also[]

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32x28px American Civil War portal



  1. Eicher, p. 333, cites the July date; Warner, p. 269, January.

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