A Civil War Biography

Friend Smith Rutherford

Rutherford, whose great-grandfather was Daniel Rutherford, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, who is credited with discovering nitrogen, was born 25 September 1820 in Schenectady, New York. He studied law in Troy, New York then headed west settling in Alton, Illinois where he established a law practice.

Rutherford continued practicing the law after the war erupted until 30 June 1862 when he was commissioned a captain and commissary of subsistence. He resigned his commission on 2 September 1862 and accepted the colonelcy of the 97th Illinois infantry regiment. He commanded the 97th at Chickasaw Bayou during the early operations against Vicksburg, during the assault on Arkansas Post, and at the capture of Port Gibson. He took part in the final operations against Vicksburg then was sent to Louisiana. The rigors of the military took a toll on Rutherford. He resigned from the army on 15 June 1864 suffering from fatigue. He returned to Alton where he died on 20 June 1864. A week later, on 27 June, his promotion to brigadier general was approved.

Both of Rutherford's brothers, GEORGE VALENTINE RUTHERFORD and REUBEN CLIFFORD RUTHERFORD, served in the US Volunteer Quartermaster Department during the war. George was a colonel and Reuben a captain. They both were brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on 13 March 1865 for their service.

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