My dear Mother: I have tried in several ways to let you know of my safety ere this. We have had a terrible ordeal in battle almost every day from Aug. 21 to 31. We fought at Rappahannock, at Beverly Ford, at White Sulphur Springs, in a terrible battle on Thursday eve of 28 and in the great battles of Friday and Saturday. Our brigade has lost 800 men. Our regiment near 150. How I have escaped without injury is beyond my comprehension. How nobly our regiment and brigade bore themselves the Country knows. Gibbon's Brigade has covered the retreat of the army since leaving the Rapidan. I have been at my post in every battle. In great haste, your aff. son Rufe.I wrote to Clara and began a letter to Jane. B. C. Bailey here this evening. He has been talking with Mr. Morris and ascertaining the strength of parties in this township. William was in Marietta, saw Stimson and arranged with him as to the conduct of the campaign. Saw leading business men. They mean to work from this till election as opportunity presents. Let loyal men do their duty and leave the event with God.
Rufus later writes extensively about these battles in his book Service with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers. He was proud of his men and quotes accounts given by their opponents, notably Confederate General T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson:
The conflict was fierce and sanguinary. The federals did not attempt to advance but maintained their ground with obstinate determination. Both lines stood exposed to the discharge of musketry and artillery until about nine o'clock with the enemy slowly retired, yielding the field to our troops. The loss on both sides was heavy . . .