"Captain Rufus Dowdy"

Rufus Dowdy was born 1819, in North Carolina. He married Catherine C. Cargile 1835, in Hale's Mill, Fentress County, Tenn., the daughter of James Cargile and Margaret Flowers. Rufus Dowdy lived on Wolf River at the mouth of Lick Creek.

He was forty-three years old at the opening of the war. He enlisted in the Union army in June of 1862, along with John Williams and David Delk, and they were sent out to recruit a company for the 7th Tennessee Volunteers. It became Company D of the 11th Tennessee. He was made a Lieutenant December 04, 1863, and a Captain February 20, 1864.

Capt. Dowdy's service record seems a little confused at times, but it seems he commanded a company of Home Guards. Their principale service in this capacity was in opposing Confederate forces entering their territory. At anyrate, it seems that Capt. Dowdy and his men were quite active in guerilla warfare, reports suggesting that he was just as ruthless as Champ Ferguson or "Tinker Dave" Beatty.

According to Champ Ferguson, the most desperate struggle he ever had, was at the home of Capt. Rufus Dowdy in Russell County, Ky.; on New Years Night, 1863. This battle took place after the killing of Elam Huddleston, and involved the Zachary brothers (Capt. Dowdy was not at home at the time). Champ Ferguson killed Peter Zachary in the house, and Allan Zachary was killed by members of Ferguson's command (which included a large number of Morgan's Raiders).

At the time of Ferguson's arrest, Capt. Dowdy was operating a mill, and ironically was sawing planks for Champ Ferguson to rebuild his house which Capt. Dowdy had burned in August 1864 (at which time Capt. Dowdy retrieved the muster roll of Ferguson's company, entered into Champ's trial as "Document P"). It was apparent that Dowdy and Ferguson had decided to let "bygones be bygones" after the war ended, and that they were not adverse to doing business with each other.

Capt. Dowdy testified for the prosecution in the trial of Champ Ferguson. It appears that his testimony was neutral in nature, in that everything he testified about which was in favor of the prosecution, was easily offset by other statements which he made and which was to the benefit of the defense.

Captain Rufus Dowdy was wounded in the war, and is said to have had mental illness due to his injuries in his later life. He was elected to the Tennessee legislature after the War Between The States.

Captain Rufus Dowdy died October 04, 1895, and is buried at Edgefield Cemetery, Pickett County, Tenn.

You are listening to the Irish ballad
"Rosin the Bow"
adapted in 1860 for Lincoln's campaign by
the abolitionist Hutchinson Family Singers as
"Lincoln and Liberty"
MIDI file created and 1999 by Barry Taylor
Taylors Traditional Tunebook
Used with permission. All rights reserved.