Rawlins, John Aaron, 1831–69, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Galena, Ill. Admitted to the bar in 1854, he practiced law in Galena. In 1861 he joined the Union army at the request of his fellow townsman Ulysses S. Grant and was appointed a captain and assistant adjutant general of volunteers on Grant's staff. Rawlins remained with Grant throughout the war and was his most influential adviser. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers in 1863, was made chief of staff of the whole Union army in Mar., 1865, and became a major general in the regular army in Apr., 1865. On Grant's accession to the presidency in 1869, Rawlins became his Secretary of War, but he died of tuberculosis before the year was out. He was an ardent advocate of Cuban independence.