|Rufus Ingalls, The Early Years|
U. S. Military Academy Crest
Rufus Ingalls was born August 23, 1818 in Denmark, Maine to a successful mill owning family. At that time Maine was still part of Massachusetts. His father, Cyrus, was among those at the Maine constitutional convention in 1819.
His childhood home is in the foothills of the White Mountains. In that era, it was still essentially a frontier.
Possibly Cyrus' political connections had something to do with Rufus' appointment to the Military Academy at West Point in 1839.
His plebe year roommate was Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was said to be able to break any horse and his skills on horseback were said to be the best. 'Rufe' and 'Sam' would become lifetime friends and with the US Army being a small organization, would eventually posted together several times. The most notable being the Army of the Potomac.
Many of their acquaintances and friends from West Point would also prove to be influential in the course of American history. The people Rufus met there in those four years are far too numerous to mention, some of the more famous ones are Sherman, Pickett, Longstreet and Grant.
West Point was not merely a school for warriors. It was the pioneering institution of engineering and in the study of scientific subjects. The graduates of West Point would make numerous scientific discoveries in their journeys, especially the Topographical Engineer corps of which nearly all were graduates of West Point.
On graduation from West Point in 1843 2nd Lt. Ingalls was posted west of the Mississippi, apparently Texas. At Fort Leavenworth in the Unorganized Territory he was promoted to 1st Lt. with the First Dragoons in 1845. Dragoons are mounted infantry. He may have been involved with the 1855 explorations made by Kearney and the topographical engineer William B. Franklin. Franklin was first in the West Point class of 1843, the same class as Ingalls and Grant.
The outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846 would see Lt. Ingalls travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico with the 'Army of the West' under the command of Col. Stephen Watts Kearny.
|The 1855 Kearny Expedition from Topogs.org|
Rufus Ingalls Home Page
Updated March 16, 2001 © L.R. Davis