Tucker Family Genealogy
Rufus Blodgett Tucker, A Civil War Soldier
Rufus Blodgett Tucker was born in the early 1820s in Tunbridge, Orange County, Vermont. While no record of his birth has been found, there are a number of other records that give information on this man and his family. From his Civil War pension file, we know his mother's name was Mehitable. His father remains a mystery.
The first census record we find listing Rufus is in 1860 in Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont. His age is given as 35 and his birthplace is given as New Hampshire. Perhaps someone other than Rufus or Betsy answered the census takers questions. His occupation was given as pauper. Rufus and Betsy (age 30) were in the poor house with their children. The marriage of Rufus B. Tucker and Betsy Bates on August 21, 1853 is recorded in Book C, page 33, of the town records of Tunbridge, Vermont. It includes only the notation that they were both of Tunbridge. On Oct 13, 1857, the birth of their son, Ephraim H. Tucker, is recorded in Chicopee, Hampden County, Massachusetts. Rufus and Betsy were residing in Chicopee but their birthplaces were given as Tunbridge. He was listed as being a farmer.
What little we know of Rufus comes from his Military Service record and Civil War pension file (#79.845.) Copies of both can be obtained from the National Archives. Rufus B. Tucker of Bridgewater enlisted on June 24, 1862, for three years Company D, 9 th Regiment of Vermont Volunteers. He was mustered in as a private on July 9, 1862, in Brattleboro, Vermont. He was 5 ft 7 1/2 inches tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion. He was forty years old and his birthplace was given as Tunbridge. [No record of his birth was found in the Tunbridge town records.] He was a laborer. One of the declarations in his pension file describes Rufus as ".... a stout, healthy man that he worked among the farmers by days works for the support of his family."
"The situation was critical, and in six days after the regiment was mustered, July 15, it started for Washington under telegraphic orders, being the first regiment organized under the President's summons for help to protect the National Capital. The short time required to recruit and organize the regiment, with the superior order of men in its ranks, attracted great attention on the route from the Green Mountains to Philadelphia, and admiring crowds gathered around it and line the streets and housetops on its march from Madison Square to the Battery in New York City. The officers were dined at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and the men were well fed, and left the city amidst salutes, and cheers, and ovations, and as they halted before going upon the ferry boat to cross North river, Mr. Horace Greeley addressed them in a patriotic speech from the wheel house of the boat. This trip from Jersey City to Baltimore was uneventful, but at the latter city treason was rampant, and the streets were filled with a rough, scowling mass of men, who, by look and speech, indicated their resentment and desire for mischief. The regiment, under orders from its gallant Colonel, loaded its muskets and marched through the city, willing to take its first baptism of fire and blood there and then. The attack on the Sixth Massachusetts on that ground had produced its effect, and this regiment was prepared and ready for any attack that rebel enterprise should invoke. No assault was made, and Washington was reached in the night. Three days were spent there accustoming the well fed sons of Vermont to the worst fare which they were required to live upon during their entire service.
Sunday, July 19, Colonel Stannard with his regiment marched about fifteen miles to Cloud's Mills, and became a part of the division of General Sturgis. On the 24th, the regiment started for the Shenandoah, and the second day afterwards was at Winchester, and went into camp north of the city, and formed a part of a detached brigade then, or soon after, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Julius White, a vigorous, aggressive and capable officers, who was ordered to intrench and hold this place against the same force that less than three months before had routed the splendid army of Banks. General White went to work, and during the month of August, built, by details from his brigade, a bastioned fort, and armed the same with heavy guns. Under this service the men soon became drilled to hard service, and the frequent fights with bushwhackers at night, and the skirmishing often, and sometimes daily, with small bodies of irregular rebels who infested the region, developed the men rapidly into veteran soldiers, serviceable for any emergency. Major Stowell was made chief of scouts, and several of the more adventurous of the commissioned officers of the regiment took tours of rapid riding with the scouts and with the cavalry, and in that way gained considerable experience in riding, fighting and running, as well as digging in the trenches." [From Vermont in the Civil War Home Page]
On August 9, 1862, Rufus died of dysentery at the Regimental Hospital, Camp Siegel in Winchester, Virginia, just one short month after he was mustered in. He left a wife and five young children. There are two letters written to his wife which read as follows:
Camp Ners Winchester, Va.
by the request of Mr Tucker I write you to let you know that Mr Tucker is quite sick. we have hopes of him and hope he will be up in a few days he has just as good care as any man can have in camp. he has been sick ever since we left Clouds (?) mills whitch was tow weaks to day it is the Disentary that ales him he is the only one in the Co that is very sick. He is very curm and apers to be resince to his fait let it be as it will and that makes it better for him. if he does not get able to write himself I will write again son or if there is any chang I will write and let you know often how he is Yours with respect
1st Lieut Co. D
Camp Neer Winchester Va
Aug 9th /62
It is with Sadness that I etempt to address you through the paper this morning for the tidings I have to communicate are ........ and Solman for you Mr Tucker has parted this life he died this morning about sun rise he died very easy and was sensible to his fate. we shall miss him mutch but no so mutch as you must but Gods gibeth and taketh away and he ..... all things right. Hw will be burried to day I expet and I shall most likely write again and send you ...........of ..... he has left here behind that we can send if there is any and now I will closee by Saying God be with you all
An inventory of his personal effects includes the following:
2 Pocket knives .50
1 Bible .33
1 Needle Case .50
1 Pocket Hand Knife .25
1 Over Coat $6.20
1 Blowse $1.50
1 Shirt .44
1 pr Shoes $1.00
1 Cap .50
1 Wool Blanket $2.75
1 Rubber Blanket $1.50
The above effects have been forwarded to the widow of the deceased.
Not much to show for a man's life. By November of 1862, Rufus' wife has remarried and his children are wards of the state and placed in various homes. Each of his children received a monthly pension.
Rufus and Betsy had the following children:
- Rufus Reuban Tucker born 24 Jan 1853/1855
- Cornelius Augustus Tucker born 24 May 1856
- Ephriam Hubert Tucker born 12 Aug 1857
- Maria Louise Tucker born 12 Apr 1859
- Ida Lydia Tucker born 12 Sept 1860
Military Service Records can provide a wealth of valuable information. How to order them.