Roswell S. Ripley was born in Worthington on March 14, 1823 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1843. Serving with the U.S. Artillery from 1846 to 1848 during the Mexican-American War, Ripley was promoted twice for "Gallant and Meritorious Conduct." In 1853, while stationed in South Carolina, Ripley resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, and after secession volunteered his services to the Confederacy. On April 12, 1861, Ripley's artillery at Fort Moultrie bombarded Fort Sumter beginning the Civil War. Later, he commanded an infantry brigade in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia until wounded in the throat at the battle of Antietam in 1862. Returning to Charleston, Ripley successfully defended the harbor and city from attacks by Union forces. Described as "Charleston's Gallant Defender," he died on March 29, 1887 and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.
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