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Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel
William Brooke Rawle, U.S.V.

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel William Brooke Rawle (Third Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry) was born in Philadelphia, Penna., August 29, 1843, being the eldest son of Charles Wallace Brooke, deceased, by his wife Elizabeth Tilghman, daughter of the well-known lawyer, William Rawle (the younger), granddaughter of the celebrated jurist, Edward Tilghman, who is remembered as one of the " Leaders of the Old Bar of Philadelphia," and great-granddaughter of Benjamin Chew, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania before the Revolution. Mr. Brooke was a member of the Philadelphia Bar, who attained a high place thereat for his ability and brilliancy, but died in 1849, at the early age of thirty-six years. His father, Robert Brooke, son of Captain John Brooke of the Revolutionary Army, was well known as a surveyor and civil engineer in Philadelphia, and his mother was a daughter of Colonel (afterwards General) Andrew Porter of the Revolutionary Army.

The subject of this sketch was educated in the best schools, of his native city, entered the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1859, and graduated there from as Bachelor of Arts, July 3, 1863, having received during his senior year leave of absence from the college authorities to enter the army, and taking his degree while actually engaged in the battle of Gettysburg. He received his degree as Master of Arts, July 3, 1866. He entered the army during the War of the Rebellion as second lieutenant in the Third Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, and served continuously with the Army of the Potomac from early in 1863 until some time after the close of the war, attaining the lineal rank of captain, and being brevetted major and lieutenant-colonel for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Hatcher's Run, and in the campaign terminating with Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court-House, respectively.

Colonel Brooke Rawle, while attached to the Second Cavalry Division (General D. McM. Gregg), was engaged in the cavalry battle of Brandy Station, Va., June 9, 1863; in the running fight from Aldie, through Middleburg to Upperville, June 21, 1863; fighting from Goose Creek to Aldie, June 22, 1863; skirmish at Westminster, Md., June 30, 1863; battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-3, 1863; skirmishes at Fountaindale, Md., July 6, and Old Antietam Forge, Md., July 10; and action at Shepherdstown, Va., July 16; while on a scout on September 6, 1863, with seven men, was ambushed and surrounded on the Salem road near Warrenton by forty-eight men of Mountjoy's company of Mosby's battalion, cutting his way through with a loss of three men, and having his horse wounded in several places; was engaged in the cavalry actions at Culpeper Court-House, September 13, 1863, and near the Occoquan River, October 15, 1863; and in the battle of New Hope Church and action at Parker's Store, Mine Run campaign, November 27-29, 1863.

During 1864-65, while attached to head-quarters of the Army of the Potomac and headquarters of the Armies Operating against Richmond, he was present at the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court-House; skirmish at Guinney's Bridge; battles of North Anna, Totopotomoy, and Cold Harbor; siege of Petersburg; battles of Petersburg Mine, Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, and Fort Steadman; entered Petersburg early in the morning of April 3, 1865, as escort of Generals Grant and Meade, and was escort to General Meade at the surrender of General Lee, at Appomattox Court-House, April 9, 1865.

Prior to discharge the Veteran Battalion of his regiment, to which he was attached, was consolidated with the Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, and he was mustered out of service therewith and honorably discharged at Richmond, Va., August 7, 1865.

Upon his discharge from the army, declining a commission in the Seventh U. S. Cavalry, he began the study of law with his uncle, the late William Henry Rawle, and was admitted to practice at the Philadelphia Bar May 18, 1867, shortly before which, by legal authority, he assumed the name of William Brooke Rawle in lieu of William Rawle Brooke. He was associated in practice with Mr. Rawle until the death of the latter in 1889, when he succeeded him at the head of the law office which had been established in 1783 by his great-grandfather William Rawle (the elder), one of the greatest lawyers of. his time.

Colonel Brooke Rawle was one of the earliest members of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and one of the organizers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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