b. 31/12/1832 Middlebury, Vermont. d. 16/12/1905 Rutland, Vermont.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01/07/1862 Malvern Hill, Virginia.
William Y. W. Ripley was born in Middlebury, Vermont on December 31, 1832. He was educated at the Troy Conference Academy in Poultney (now Green Mountain College) and the Lima Institute, in Lima, New York.He then began a career in Rutland at the Ripley family’s marble business and the Ripley family-owned Rutland County National Bank.
Beginning in 1858, Ripley was a Lieutenant in the Rutland Light Guards, a volunteer militia unit commanded by Horace Henry Baxter.
Baxter subsequently became Adjutant General of the Vermont Militia. In May, 1861 Ripley entered the Union Army for the Civil War as Captain and commander of the Rutland Light Guards, which was mustered in as Company K, 1st Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He served with the regiment in Washington, D.C. and Virginia during the entire three months of its service, including taking part in the Battle of Big Bethel.
In the Fall of 1861 Ripley joined the 1st United States Sharpshooters as Lieutenant Colonel and second in command. He took part in several battles, including the Battle of Malvern Hill in July, 1862, at which he was seriously wounded. Ripley’s wounds proved serious enough to prevent him from returning to the field.
In August, 1862 he was appointed commander of the 10th Vermont Infantry with the rank of Colonel, but declined because of the physical disability caused by his wounds.
In 1864 he was appointed to command the 1st Division of the Vermont Militia with the rank of Major General. The Militia had an active role providing patrols and security within the state and along the border with Canada, particularly following the October, 1864 St. Albans Raid. He served until a post-Civil War reorganization of the militia eliminated the division headquarters.
After the Civil War Ripley returned to his family’s business interests, operating the marble company with his brother Edward as Ripley Sons, and serving on the board of directors and as President of the Rutland County National Bank.
In 1867 Ripley was elected President of the Reunion Society of Vermont Officers, succeeding George J. Stannard, who had been the organization’s first President. He was also active in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Medal of Honor Legion. In 1889 the Ripleys sold the marble business to the Vermont Marble Company, headed by fellow Civil War veteran Redfield Proctor. A Republican, Ripley was a Delegate to the 1868 Republican National Convention. In 1880 he was a presidential elector, and cast his ballot for the Garfield and Arthur ticket.
The city of Rutland was organized separately from the town in the late 1800s, and Ripley served as the city’s Mayor from 1899 to 1900, succeeding Percival W. Clement.Ripley authored a history of his Civil War experiences, 1883’s Vermont Riflemen in the War for the Union.
At a critical moment brought up two regiments, which he led against the enemy himself, being severely wounded
BURIAL LOCATION: EVERGREEN CEMETERY, RUTLAND, VERMONT.
Ripley Circle, north of Sec. 28
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