John Ruby Missourian-Jayhawker-Sergeant Company H, 7th Kansas Volunteer Calvary

John Merell Ruby was born on September 27, 1834 in Lancaster county Pennsylvania. John graduated with honors from Franklin and Marshall College. According to documents included with the collection Ruby was certified as a teacher in 1858, and soon taught school in Albany Missouri. In 1862 he listed his profession as lawyer, and purportedly studied and practiced Law in St. Louis before the War.

According to a discharge certificate included in the collection , John Ruby enrolled in Company A of the 31st (enrolled?) Missouri Militia, on July 30,1862, and he was discharged on September 15, 1862. Ruby then enlisted in Company H of the Seventh Kansas on November 11, 1862. He was one of a handful of Missouri Unionists which crossed the border to join the Jayhawkers. Enjoy this image of  John Ruby in civilian clothing.              

Although this company had the reputation of containing some of the best and toughest soldiers in the regiment, it also suffered from disciplinary problems. Fifty eight former members of Company H "skedaddled home" before their enlistments had expired. This high rate of desertion may have been at least in part due to the recruitment techniques utilized.

A former member of Company H describes his enlistment:"One day after having been under the influence of bad whiskey, I awoke to find myself a soldier in the Seventh Kansas. I did not remember how or when I enlisted!" (1) The name of the intoxicated enlistee was William F. Cody, who later became the world renowned "Buffalo Bill" Cody.

Not much is known about Ruby's personal battle record. However his dates of service ensure he was a veteran of numerous early engagements including the attack on Upton's Hays camp, and the raids of Independence and Kansas City in the fall of 1862, as well the fight at Columbus Missouri. Additionally Ruby was quickly promoted to Sergeant, as indicated on the July 25, 1863 muster.

In 1861 Company H was one of three that was equipped with Sharps carbines, revolvers and sabers. Because of the type of warfare that evolved on the Western border, the saber which hung from the blue-bellies hips was little more than window dressing. Still these these three companies retained the designation as "saber companies."

In October 1864, the Seventh Kansas Cavalry made its first and only saber charge of the war, during Price's invasion of Missouri. Here is the Ruby's account of the engagement:

"It was one of the largest cavalry engagements of the conflict. The battle took place on a level prairie, and the battle extended over a mile in length. The fighting was hand to hand, first with revolvers and then sabers. The rebels lines being of equal length, with twice the number of troopers engaging in deadly conflict"

Ruby was seriously wounded during the battle, and was plagued with impaired health for the rest of his short life.  John was mustered out of the regiment on December 5, 1864. Ruby was detailed to act as clerk in the War Department in St. Louis, and in very short order he was made Chief Clerk of the Department. After the war John was unable to practice law, he accepted the position of clerk in the County office of St. Joseph Missouri. John M. Ruby died of chronic dysentery on December 26, 1868, and is buried in the Mt. Mora Cemetery.

©Patrick R. Marquis, quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay." Below.





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