A Civil War Biography

Reuben R. Ross

Ross was born 17 April 1830 in Montgomery County, Tennessee. He studied under his father, Professor James Ross, at the Masonic College in Clarksville, Tennessee before being appointed to West Point. Reuben Ross graduated from West Point 51st, next to last, in the class of 1853. He served in the US army until 1861.

Ross resigned from the US army in 1861 to enter the Confederate service. Commissioned a captain, he took command the Maury Artillery, a light artillery battery recruited from Maury County Tennessee, on 7 January 1862. The Maury Artillery arrived at Fort Donelson on 9 February 1862 and was assigned by Gideon J Pillow to a position on the left of the Confederate defenses. The upper battery at Fort Donelson mounted a 6 1/2 inch rifled gun and two 32 pound carronades but there was no heavy artillery troops there to man these guns. Ross, responding to a call for volunteers, formed a detachment from his light battery and commanded the upper battery until the fort was surrendered. Ross was sent as a prisoner of war to St. Louis where he ran into an old classmate, John M Schofield, who was by then a brigadier general in the Union. Schofield got Ross a parole and Ross returned home. After being exchanged Ross took part in several battles. According to one source he was commissioned a brigadier general and commanded a brigade in Braxton Bragg's army. He is not, however, listed in the Official Records as being a brigadier general. Ross was captured and while being transported north he jumped from a moving train near Cincinnati, Ohio and escaped. After returning to the South, he met Hylan B Lyon, who he knew from West Point. Lyon convinced Ross to accompany his command on a raid into Kentucky. During the raid Ross was mortally wounded in hand-to-hand fighting. He died a few days later on 16 December 1864 at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

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