Ruel G. Austin was born in Newpot, New Hampshire around 1833. At the start of the war he was a farmer with a wife and child.

On October 12, 1861, he joined Company G of the 5th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment and was appointed sergeant. He was color sergeant at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where his watch was destroyed, probably saving his life in the process. He was promoted to second lieutenant on March 4th, 1863.

He was wounded at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Taken to a hospital in Baltimore, he contracted typhoid fever. He died of the combination of his wound and the fever on July 26th.

His name is listed among the casualties on the monument to the 5th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg .

Sources: Waite, Otis F. R., Claremont War History: April 1861 to April 1865, p. 101