Ruggles Bequest

Reference and contact details: GB 254 MS 29
Title:Ruggles Bequest
Dates of Creation: 1864-1982
Held at: Dundee University Archives
Extent: 0.10 linear metres. The records are on paper and include photographs.
Name of Creator: William Eugene Ruggles and Professor David Swinfen
Language of Material: English
Level of Description: fonds

Administrative/Biographical History

This collection contains original drawings in pencil and ink on card, claimed to be by William E. Ruggles, a private in Company B, 122nd New York Infantry, and drawn c.1885. They depict episodes in the American Civil War drawn "from memory". All at some time appear to have had a different signature, in the right hand corner, which has been erased. This name in most cases is illegible apart from a few letters, but the drawings are in fact believed to be that of Phillip M. Ostrander, 149th Regiment. Several of the drawings, however, depict scenes at which Ostrander could not have been present. It is likely that the later and perhaps even all the drawings are based on original photographs or other pictures.

William Eugene Ruggles was born in Syracuse, New York in 1844. Nothing is known of his life until he enlisted with the 122 Regiment of New York Volunteers in 1862, at which time he described himself as a carpenter. He was clearly unhappy in the army, however, and deserted several times. In 1865, after one such desertion, he was court martialled and dishonourably discharged, after which he returned to Syracuse where he remained until his death. There he married Alida Alexander a year or two after his discharge, with whom he had one daughter, Reba. During his time in the army Ruggles had contracted chronic diarrhoea which left him permanently weakened. After the war he worked in a meat market, and when this became too much for him, as a cigar maker. He died in 1907, after which his wife and daughter moved to Prescott Ontario. Some time after her mother's death in 1927, Reba moved to Scotland. She died in Angus in 1958.

Phillip M Ostrander was probably born in 1812 or 1813 in Albany, New York, later moving to Syracuse. He married Eliza Collett in 1844, with whom he had several children. Before the civil war, Ostrander became an engraver of some reputation. He enlisted with the 81 Regiment of New York Infantry at Syracuse in 1861 but was discharged on the grounds of ill-health in 1862. However, later that year he re-enlisted in the 149 Regiment of New York Infantry, possibly because he could find no other employment. His health again caused problems and he spent a year in a military hospital until the end of the war. After his discharge he returned to Syracuse, but his health was permanently impaired, making it difficult for him to work. He died in 1888.

Scope and Content

Drawings by William E. Ruggles of episodes in the American Civil War 1863-1864; correspondence and documents mainly relating to Ruggles' drawing and the American Civil War; biographical notes on William Eugene Ruggles and Phillip M. Ostrander, by David Swinfen, later incorporated into a book by Dr Swinfen Ruggles' Regiment: the 122nd New York Volunteers in the American Civil War, 1982; set of negatives and prints of the drawings, including photographs of signature of W.F. Ruggles and [erased] signature of Ostrander, including photograph of enhancement of Ostrander's signature by Forensic Dept. of Tayside Police.

System of Arrangement

Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records were bequeathed by Miss Ruggles of Craichie House, Angus. Additional notes on W E Ruggles were deposited by Professor Swinfen in 1983 (AccM/197).


None expected.

Access Conditions

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.


Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.

Existence of Copies

2 sets of photographs of these drawings are also held in the Archives.

Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Publication Note

Swinfen, David Ruggles' Regiment: the 122nd New York Volunteers in the American Civil War, 1982