Indiana native Steve Magnusen holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Purdue University. He served as a registered professional municipal engineer and public works director for Winnetka and Libertyville, Illinois, the latter for twenty-eight years. Upon retiring from the public sector, he joined an engineering consulting firm assisting many Chicago-suburban communities. He has been active in the American Public Works Association, serving as president of the Chicago Metro Chapter, and of the national Leadership and Management committee. He was named a Top Ten Public Works Leader of the Year in 1997. Steve was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army through the Purdue ROTC program, and served in the Reserve component as an infantry and armor officer for fifteen years, leaving service with the rank of major.
A lifelong interest in the American Civil War, and the Union army’s Iron Brigade, has led him to research the inspiring life of Rufus R. Dawes, the dauntless commander of the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer infantry regiment. To My Best Girl is his first book.
TO MY BEST GIRL - Courage, Honor and Love in the Civil War: The Inspiring Life Stories of Rufus Dawes and Mary Gates
This is the extraordinary true story of a citizen soldier and the girl he loves, as both become embroiled in our nation’s Civil War.
Rufus Dawes emerges from a troubled family to become an officer in the famous Iron Brigade, thrust into horrific battles. Before that is the early life of an intelligent descendant of ancestors who helped form the United States and the Northwest Territory.
Rufus falls in with vibrant Mary Gates before the conflict, but there is physical separation, little reciprocal feeling, and competition by others. Can it ever become more than infatuation? War’s outbreak intervenes. Doubting his own survival, is a life with Mary just a dream?
Mary witnesses acquaintances and an only brother march off to war. Tragic losses soon mount. Will she—should she—become involved with a soldier whose life is in daily jeopardy far away?
The drama unfolds upon Rufus and Mary, and upon family members and soldiers who experience their own battles, patriotically performing their duty while trying to survive. Based on many letters and diary entries, most never published, this is a timeless story of love and courage.