William Rufus Shafter

William Rufus Shafter

Infobox Military Person
name= William Rufus Shafter
born= Birth date|mf=yes|1835|10|16
died= Death date and age|mf=yes|1906|11|12|1835|10|16
placeofbirth= Galesburg, Michigan
placeofdeath= San Francisco County, California

caption= Medal of Honor recipient
nickname="Pecos Bill"
allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Army
serviceyears= 1861 - 1900
rank= Major General
commands= 17th Infantry Regiment 24th Infantry Regiment V Corps
unit= 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment
battles= American Civil War
*Battle of Ball's Bluff
*Peninsula Campaign
*Battle of Fair Oaks
*Battle of Thompson's Station
*Battle of Nashville
Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
*Battle of San Juan Hill
*Battle of El Caney
*Battle of Santiago de Cuba
awards= Medal of Honor

William Rufus Shafter (October 16, 1835 – November 12, 1906) was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War who received America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Fair Oaks. Shafter also played a prominent part as a major general in the Spanish-American War. Fort Shafter, Hawaii, is named for him, as well as the city of Shafter, California. He was known informally as "Pecos Bill" [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=ROc6AAAAMAAJ&dq=William+Rufus+Shafter+Pecos+Bill&q=Pecos+Bill&pgis=1|Kalamazoo, the Place Behind the Product] Pecos Bill] (unrelated to the folk legend Pecos Bill).

Early life

Shafter was born in Galesburg, Michigan. He served in the Union Army's 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and took part in the Battle of Ball's Bluff and the Peninsula Campaign. He was wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks and later received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle. He was captured at the Battle of Thompson's Station and spent several months in a Confederate prison. After his release, he led the 17th Infantry, a regiment of the United States Colored Troops, at the Battle of Nashville.

By the end of the war, he had been promoted to brevet brigadier general. He stayed in the regular army when the war ended. During his subsequent service in the Indian Wars, he received his nickname "Pecos Bill". He led the 24th Infantry, another United States Colored Troops regiment, in campaigns against the Cheyenne, Comanche, Kickapoo and Kiowa Indians in Texas. In May 1897 he was appointed as a brigadier general.

panish-American War

When the Spanish-American War began, the United States organized a ground expedition for the island of Cuba. Shafter weighed over 300 pounds (136 kg) and was not fit for the tropical conditions, but he received the appointment anyway, due to his lack of political ambitions. In May 1898 he was appointed major general in the regular army and assumed command of the V Corps and sailed for Cuba. During the he suffered from gout. He was forced to be carried around on a door because of his immense weight and his illness.

After winning the battles of San Juan Hill and El Caney, Shafter's forces laid siege to Santiago. The city surrendered on July 17, 1898, bringing an end to the war on Cuba. Sickness and disease plagued the army, and Shafter returned to the U.S. with the V Corps in September. He took command of the Department of California after returning to the U.S. and was in that position when he retired in 1900.

"Shafter" retired to his sixty-acre farm adjoining his daughter's ranch near Bakersfield, California. On November 12, 1906, he died at his daughter Mary's home from an intestinal obstruction complicated by pneumonia. He was buried next to his wife at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. [findagrave|3541665 Retrieved on 2007-11-08]

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and Organization::First Lieutenant, Company I, 7th Michigan Infantry. Place and Date: At Fair Oaks, Va., May 31, 1862. Entered Service At: Galesburg, Mich. Birth: Kalamazoo, Mich. Date Of Issue: June 12, 1895.

Citation::Lt. Shafter was engaged in bridge construction and not being needed there returned with his men to engage the enemy participating in a charge across an open field that resulted in casualties to 18 of the 22 men. At the close of the battle his horse was shot from under him and he was severely flesh wounded. He remained on the field that day and stayed to fight the next day only by concealing his wounds. In order not to be sent home with the wounded he kept his wounds concealed for another 3 days until other wounded had left the area.cite web
publisher = AmericanCivilWar.com
title = "Civil War Medal of Honor Citations" (S-Z): Shafter, William R.
date =
url = http://americancivilwar.com/medal_of_honor8.html
accessdate = 2007-11-09
] cite web
publisher = army.mil
title = "Medal of Honor website” (M-Z): Shafter, William R.
date =
url = http://www.army.mil/cmh/html/moh/civwarmz.html
accessdate = 2007-11-09

ee also

*List of Medal of Honor recipients
*List of American Civil War generals



*cite web
title=Shafter, William Rufus
work=The Handbook of Texas Online
accessmonthday=May 29

NAME= Shafter, William Rufus
SHORT DESCRIPTION= United States Army Medal of Honor recipient

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