William Augustus Rafferty – Colonel, United States Army

Born on February 10, 1842, he was a career Army officer who died on September 13, 1902 during the Philippine Insurrection while leading his regiment at San Felipe Neri, Philippines.

He was returned to the United States and was buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.


William Augustus Rafferty of New Jersey
Appointed from New Jersey, Cadet, United States Military Academy, 1 July 1861 (26)
Second Lieutenant, 6th United States Cavalry, 23 June 1865
First Lieutenant, 1 May 1866
Regimental Adjutant, 12 December 1866 to 14 May 1868
Captain, 14 May 1868
Major, 2nd United States Cavalry, 20 November 1889
Lieutenant Colonel, 31 May 1898
Colonel, 5th United States Cavalry, 18 October 1896
Brevet Major, 27 Feb 1890 for gallant service in in actions against Indians on the Little Wichita River, Texas,  5 October 1870 and in the Hatchet Mountains, New Mexico, 28 Apr 1882
Died 13 Sept 1902

William Augustus Rafferty graduated from West Point in 1865 and was assigned to the 6th Cavalry. As a Captain, he arrived at the mouth of Huachuca Canyon on 3 March 1877, to aid in establishing Camp Huachuca. He left Huachuca with Troop M, 6th Cavalry in April 1878, and later, in 1891, returned to the post, now a Fort, to serve as its commander. He was brevetted major on 27 February 1890, for gallantry in action against the Indians on the Little Wichita River, Texas, on 5 October 1870. He died in September 1902 while serving as Colonel of the 5 th
Cavalry in the Philippines.

He Is Interred With Military Honors at Arlington

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1902 – The remains of Colonel William A. Rafferty of the Fifth Cavalry, who died last month in the Philippines, were buried at the National Cemetery at Arlington today with full military honors.  Colonel Rafferty met his death as the result of missing the top step of a steep stairway while going to visit an Army friend one dark night.

A regimental service was conducted by the Second Cavalry, of which the dead officer was a member for nine years.  Chaplain C. C. Pierce officiated.  The honorary pallbearers were General Carter, Acting Adjutant General of the Army, General Samuel Whitside, Colonel Wallace Randolph, Colonel Alex Miller, Major Henry M. Kendal and Colonel Eli Huggins.  Colonel Rafferty was at one time stationed at Fort McPherson, Atlanta.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/13/1902
  • BURIED AT:   SITE 375



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