Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Rufus Somerby – Wandering Military Man

Rufus Somerby was a military man for most of his life. But, you’re going to have to pay close attention as I go through his service record, because Rufus was ever on the move. In 1862 he enlisted in the 9th Kentucky Infantry. Within three months he was promoted to captain. After a little over a year in the infantry, he decided walking wasn’t for him. So Rufus resigned, and enlisted in the cavalry where he quickly rose to sergeant major, and two years later while fighting Indians in Arizona he became a lieutenant.   
In 1870 Rufus obtained a leave, and went to Boston where he spent a couple of months trying to consume all the whiskey in the town. Finding this impossible, Rufus decided to enlist in the artillery. The fact that he was still an officer in the 8th Cavalry didn’t seem to bother him. However, it did bother the military. Rufus was given the choice of either resigning his commission in the cavalry or be court martialed. He resigned. But he stayed in the artillery.  
In less than four years he was a sergeant in the 5th Artillery. Yearning to be back on a horse, Rufus either resigned from the artillery, was transferred or just did another double enlistment. But he ended up back in the cavalry where he became a sergeant. 
It was the Christmas season of 1882. Rufus, ever on the move, had applied for the position of commissary sergeant, but he was flatly turned down. Feeling he had nowhere else to go, on December 26, while in the barracks with his men, Rufus Somerby ended his military career by shooting himself with his carbine.   
Rufus Somerby - Wandering Military Man

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