In 1912, 12th Massachusetts Infantry veteran William Rugg gave his thoughts on Memorial Day and his own mortality. Willliam H Rugg was a resident of the Washington Soldiers Home in and buried in the Soldiers Home cemetery in Orting WA. A hard fighting veteran of the 12th Massachusetts Infantry, Corporal Rugg was captured by Confederate forces during the first day's fighting at Gettysburg as the 12th made a valiant stand, bayonets fixed, as they were out of ammunition and hopelessly outnumbered in the face of an overwhelming assault that July afternoon. Rugg spent more than 20 months confined in squalid southern prison camps, among the longest terms of imprisonment of any Union soldier in the entire war. Late in life, William Rugg was a resident of the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting. He is buried in the cemetery there. He didn't die there, however. His death occurred on July 10 1913 on the train carrying a contingent of Washington State veterans home from the 50th Anniversary reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg, held on the battlefield at Gettysburg in July 1913. William Rugg had premonitions of his death and was quoted earlier in 1913 saying he didn't think he would survive the trip, but was going to go anyway, so intent he was on reuniting with his old comrades in arms, even if it would cost him his life. It did.
Seattle's Civil War Legacy presents the history of Seattle's Civil War veterans. Over 2500 Civil War veterans resided in Seattle and King County area in the decades following the Civil War. Each of these veterans have their own individual history but there is also a greater collective history of this generation of veterans who came to Seattle. These men helped build the city both literally and figuratively. The mission of SCWL is the study and sharing of that history by way of written articles, video, public history and tours.