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Full text of "A memorial of Brevet Brigadier General Lewis Benedict, colonel of 162d regiment N. Y. V. I., who fell in battle at Pleasant Hill, La., April 9, 1864"

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MEMORIAL 



BREVET BRIGADIEE GENERAL 



LEWIS BENEDICT, 



COLONEL OF 162D REGIMENT N. Y. V. I., 



WHO 



FELL m BATTLE AT PLEASANT HILL, LA., 



APRIL 9, 1864. 



ALBANY, N. Y. : 

J. MUNSELL, 82 STATE STREET. 

1866. 



1^ 









" TToXsfjuoc: o'vdsv'' av(5p' sxdiv 
ai'psi "TTovi^pov, aXXd Toug ^p-.^.^'rouc: asi." 

" They perish not -who die in Freedom's Caitse, 
Though from the bivouac or ensanguined riELD, 
tuet pass away to join the glorious dead. 
They live again in all their shghty deeds. 
Their brave achievements make the notable 
Events of time, and give development 
To all the truer life of man on earth. 
They are the glory of all history: 
The ever-during monuments on which 
Mankind engrave their lasting gratitude. 
Those only are immortal in renown, 
Who die in Freedom's holy cause." 



MEMOIR. 



Colonel Lewis Benedict/ the subject of this sketch, 
son of Lewis and Susan (Stafford) Benedict, was born 
in Albany, New York, September 2, 1817. 

His early studies were prosecuted at Aurora, Cay- 
uga County, New York ; but his preparation for Col- 
lege was made, mainly, at the All^any Academy. 

In 1831, he entered the Sophomore class of Wil- 
liams College, and was graduated in 1837. 

Thence he went into the office of the late John C. 
Spencer, in Canandaigua, and read Law. 

In January, 1841, he was licensed, in Albany, as 
Attorney at Law ; and, subsequently, was admitted as 
Counsellor in the State and Federal Courts. 

In 1845, he was appointed City Attorney; and was 
re-appointed for a second term. 

In 1847, he was appointed Judge Advocate General, 
on the staff of Governor John Young. 

In 1848, he was elected Surrogate of the city and 



^Afterwards Brevet Brigadier General. 





count \ ol" Alliaiiy, lor llic term ol' loui' yours, .^his 
I'litirc Note urcady cxcccdiiiu' tlic stivnu'tli of liis 
[larty. 

Ill IS 10. Ik' received tiie appointment of Judge 
Advocate General, from Governor JlumiUon Fish. 

In 1852. and also in 18G0, he was the candidate of 
the Whiu' party for the Jiecordership of the cit}^, and 
shared the defeat of its nominees. 

Tn 1854, he was appointed, by tlie Comptroller, one 
of a Board, consisting of three Commissioners, charged 
to ascertain and report concerning the pecuniary and 
other conditions of the several State Prisons; and, also, 
to devise laws for their better regulation and discipline. 
The results of the labors of this Commission are con- 
tained in a voluminous Report made to the Assembly 
in 1855. 

In the fall of the year 1860, he was nominated by 
the Union men of his district for Member of Assem- 
bl}-, and elected; Ijeiug the only Union candidate 
returned from the county at that time. This was 
the last public position, of a civil character, held 
by him. 

Both the beginning and the end of his life develop 
the same characteristics, great fondness for ease and 
recreative enjoyments, yet with ready power to suljor- 
dinate such tastes, or repress them altogether, in 
obedience to the claims of any serious engagement. 



As a boy, he was noted for his zeal and diligence in 
study, and not less for enterprise in play. The records 
of the Albany Academy attest his successes in com- 
petitive examinations ; and it is well remembered, by 
many who shared in them, how, after sweeping the 
prizes of scholarship, he would resort to the play- 
ground, and exhibit equal superiority in those games 
and contests, which are alike the peril and delight of 
robust and amlntious boyhood. 

His collegiate career resembled his academic, it 
was successful to whatever degree he chose to make it. 
A classmate, now President of a College, describing 
him, says: "It is doing injustice to none of his class- 
mates to say, that, in mind as in person, he had no 
superior among them all. His rank, as a scholar, was 
high; and he could have made it higher. His mind 
was quick and clear, and he learned with great facility. 
His critical power was unusual, and no one could 
detect the weak points of an argument, or the incor- . 
rect use of terms, sooner than he." He graduated 
with distinction, and, three years afterwards, was 
appointed to deliver the Master's Oration. 

While a student of the Law, he maintained sufficient 
ardor of pursuit to enable him to acquire a knowledge 
of the elements of that science; but his taste for 
general literature was decided enough to save him from 
engrossment by studies purely professional. The un- 



8 

coniTnoii Ihcility \\itli wliicli lie nc(|uir(Ml knowledge, 
tlu' R'siill of Ills (|iiick piMveptioiis and retentive 
nieniorv. iilVordcd him intervals lo indnl.ue this taste 
without neglectin<^- his studies [jroper; and lie there- 
fore read much beside Law. and digested M'ell what 
he did n^id. His hal)its of critieal investigation, of 
eollation and analysis, are indicated l)y marginal 
annotations and references contained in his books, 
and nianifestlv written as he read. Indices Rerum, 
Diaries and Memoranda remain, that show his reading 
to have ])een varied, extensive, and always careful. 
They reveal an acquaintance with authors and topics, 
and also preferences and prejudices in respect to both, 
that indicate clearly the knowledge he most prized, 
and in which he was farthest advanced. The}' exhibit 
a degree of intellectual power and acquirement, and 
such peculiar mental habitudes, as might have justi- 
fied him in adopting Literature as a profession. It 
is, perhaps, well to say that not the slightest expres- 
sion of fondness for the one chosen for him is recorded, 
in any form, anywhere; and, later in life, he did not 
scruple to say that it never was his choice. 

At this time, the very atmosphere he breathed Avas 
charged with informing and refining influences. The 
intelligence, culture and social elegance that surprised 
and delighted De Tocqneville, and made Canandaigua, 
in his sight, the loveliest of American villages, were 



/ 



9 

in their most exuberant condition. In the midst of 
this affluence of opportunity he enjoyed advantages 
not common to all, who, even like himself, had ready 
access to the l^est circles of that refined society. 
The great man who directed his legal studies, regarded 
with much consideration the son of one of his most 
attached and influential friends; and, being himself 
one of the most courtly men of his day, he seemed 
scarcely less intent on training him as a gentleman 
than as a lawyer; and, with that view, admitted him 
freely to the social benefits and privileges of his own 
high position. Nor was this all. His wife, a woman 
distinguished for high intelligence and of a singularly 
generous and cheerful spirit, warmly seconded the 
kind designs of her husband, and received the young 
student almost upon the footing of a son; and 
rewarded his scarcely less than filial regard, by a 
sujDcrvision so tender and faithful, and counsels so 
wise and timely, that, if they had been dispensed by 
his own mother, they might have been accepted as 
a fulfilment of the duties of that relation. Here 
were presented, for his constant study and imitation, 
not only the models of elegance and propriety that 
held a permanent place in the niches of the house- 
hold, l)ut the further and inestimable advantages 
of familiar personal association with distinguished 
individuals, who, from all parts of the land and 



iVom ;il)r()a(l. soiiLilit the clianiiiiii:- liospitnlitics of 
that liotisf. 

On his admission to the Bar, Marcus T. Reynolds, 
then at the zenith of his professional fame and intel- 
lectual vi^or. received him as his partner in the Law, 
and elevated him at once to a position in the practice, 
not attained so often perhaps as fairly earned. Other 
connections and associations concurred to make his 
entrance upon his professional career one of the most 
promising that could fall to the lot of a young practi- 
tioner. 

His genial nature, cultivated intellect, fine presence 
and courteous manners, made him a welcome guest 
in society and soon encompassed him with friends; 
while the ease of his circumstances, a result not more 
of the liberality than of the pride of his father, 
enabled him to gratify the impulses of his generous 
spirit toward cherished companions, and to do service 
to scores with whom he had no other relations. His 
condition and prospects in life, perhaps enticed, as 
well as permitted him, to regard his profession as a 
system of intellectual exercise, rather than an instru- 
mentality for the acquisition of wealth ; and free from 
such restraint as a modification of the contrary idea 
might have imposed, his general course was eminently 
fitted to engender, and in point of fact, did engender, 
a responsive sentiment, called popularity ; a perilous 



11 

tribute to a questionable virtue, but one which it is 
scarcely in the nature of man to reject. The pro- 
prietor of the good will we are accustomed to describe 
by that term, if himself equal to much self-denial, is 
seldom suffered by friends, personal or political, to 
enjoy it without putting it to use ; nor, is it likely to 
be otherwise so long as the manifold opportunities, 
presented by our form of polity, shall continue to 
tempt men to avail themselves of its advantages. 

Predisposed by the constitution of his mind, and 
instructed by his professional studies, to adjust matters 
in controversy with strict regard to the principles that 
ought to control them, and with aims less personal 
than a judicious selfishness might have proposed, 
public questions possessed for him a peculiar attrac- 
tion ; partly because of their unselfish character, 
partly because of their intrinsic importance, and, 
sometimes, on account of the very doubts and obscu- 
rities that made them perplexing. His own right to 
some valuable thing, encumbered or denied, might 
have waited for vindication to some "more convenient 
season;" but the rights or franchises of a class, or, even 
of an individual, if not himself, were objects of prompt 
solicitude and attention. The circle in which he 
moved was much more occupied with matters of pul3- 
lic concern than with its own private interests; and 
when he retired from that to the one that enclosed 



l-J 

his fatlicr's lircsicK'. tlic same topics of" coiivorsation 
were still uppermost. ( H' Iiis latlier this is not the 
plaee to speak, and this sliiiht mention of him, Avhieh 
it seems impossible to avoid, is altogether unsatis- 
factory; heeanse the occasion forbids even a limited 
attemjit to do justice to his character and services. 
He was, however, a remarkable man. Rejecting 
olHcial distinction lor himself throuah a lonu: life, he 
w-as, nevertheless, the intimate friend and counsellor 
of such as enjoyed it under the auspices of the party 
to which he was attached. There was no high council 
of the party held during a generation, in which the 
voice of Lewis Benedict was not heard and his power 
not felt. Ilis strong common sense, indomitable will 
and irrepressible energy were conspicuous in every 
political conflict, and when the event was decided, 
whether favorably or unfavorably, he was constant to 
moderate the triumphs of the party under victory, or 
save it from despair in defeat. He devoted his time, 
means and services, ^^'itllout intermission or compen- 
sation, from early manhood to old age, to eliminating 
and diflusing, by the agencies of his political party, 
those great principles, which, after many jDrocesses of 
purification and amendment, have come to constitute 
the creed of the Union party of the countiy. His 
habitudes and example may have had some influence 
in attracting the attention of his son to matters of 



13 

this character, certainly there was nothing in them 
fitted to repel it. The son sat at the feet of a political 
Gamaliel from his youth up. 

An event of no pu1)lic concern, but of very great 
interest in respect to himself, happening almost simul- 
taneously with his entrance upon the practice of the 
Law, had much to do with relaxing whatever hold 
his profession had upon him, and modifying the uses 
to which he had proposed to put his life. One object, 
perhaps the chief, for the sake of which he had been 
assiduous in study and was now prepared to strive, 
suddenly withdrew its animating influence. In the 
absence of that, all remaining incentives appeared to 
his distempered vision less worthy than they were, 
and they finally proved inadequate to rouse him to 
exertion. Added to the preexisting bias, this was 
decisive, and quickly transformed him into an actor 
in scenes, of which, under other circumstances, he 
might have been content to be onlv an interested 
spectator. He entered, without hesitation or reluc- 
tance, that arena over whose portals may well be 
written, Let all who enter here leave patient study, 
calm thought and quiet elevation, behind. 

The City Attorneyship, which he held for two 
terms, was the first political appointment that he 
received. From that time, however, he was actively 
and earnestly a political partisan, and appeared less 



14 

ami lo.-^s iu the Furuiiij and more aiul more in the 
C'onnnittee room and u])()n the Iliistinji's. The tersest 
record of his pohtieal hd)ors would be the history of 
every ]>artv struirule. State or Nationah that occurred 
IVom his entrance into ]H)litical lile until he joined the 
Army, lie was always a leader. He was often Dele- 
gate to Conventions, State and County, Chairman of 
Committees, general and local, a prolific author of 
Addresses and Resolutions and a frequent Sj)eaker at 
political assemblages. Ardent as he was in his own 
convictions and prone to yield to impulses, yet, in 
crises of importance, he was equal to the highest self- 
control, and adroit in curbing in others the very 
impatience that was consuming himself. 

He was acute in his perception of the qualities of 
men, and accurate in his estimates of moral worth. 
It is a matter of no small interest to read, now, the 
memorials that exist of his early distrust of the 
integrity and patriotism of some, who are infamous 
to-day on account of the apostasy he dreaded and 
predicted. 

In this department of effort he was not without 
occasional personal successes; although the general 
fortune of his part}', in his district, may be said to 
have been adverse. Even when defeated, he com- 
monly had the recompense, if such it can be considered, 
of appearing, b\- the election returns, to have received 



15 

more than the vote of the party that nominated him. 
Some political adversaries paid him that compliment 
when not defeated, especially was this the case, 
when he was elected Surrogate. In his various public 
services he manifested capalDilities which provoke 
regret that they were not also used for purposes of a 
less general character. For some reason, the judicial 
function of the Surrogate is not generally appre- 
ciated, certainly it is little spoken of, yet there 
is no jurisdiction within which more complex or nice 
questions present themselves for adjudication; to say 
nothing of the enormous pecuniary interests, and the 
multitudinous personal rights, which are involved. 
The clearness of his mind and the equity of his con- 
victions receive some illustration from the circum- 
stance that, of the many judgments pronounced by 
him, during the considerable term through which he 
held the office in question, but one, and that made 
in his noviciate, is known to have been reversed by 
any appellate tribunal. 

It can hardly be necessary to say that the principles 
and purposes for which he contended through life, 
were essentially the same as those in defense of which 
he died. He never wavered in his devotion to the 
great cause of liberty and justice, especially in its 
bearing upon his own countrymen. Descended, as he 
was, from Puritans who planted Liberty on this 



10 

I'Diitiiu'iit. iVoin I'ntriols who sul).sc(|UL'ntly lU'liieved 
Anioricau Indopciuloiu-o. and tlu' son of" one of tlie 
most eneriiotic and persistent of the fonnders of a 
partv, organized to preserve lx)th, when hoth were 
threatened, his hie was the ntitnral resnlt of his 
instinets. and his ileath attests the sincerity of his 
convictions and unselfishness of his patriotism. 

He was early convinced that the Slaveholders 
meant war. and prepared his mind for that issue. 
He also regarded all attempts to conciliate them as 
verv much worse than futile, and addressed himself 
to persuading others not to rely on efforts in that 
direction. Early in December, 1860, writing to a 
friend connected with the Government, he said: 
'"The feelinir here is that one concession would hut 
pave the way for another, until, without saving the 
Union, public sentiment would be demoralized." This 
he believed with the earnestness of a deej) conviction, 
and on all occasions spoke and acted in the faith of it. 
As the Eebellion became svstematized and aggressive, 
the spirit of resistance rose within him, and he toiled 
hard to arouse his fellow citizens to a sense of the 
existing necessity to pro^dde for the public defense 
b}' suitable military preparation. The then Adjutant 
General of the State. John Meredith Read Jr., bears 
testimonv to the cordialitv and enerav with which 
he seconded the efforts of the State Administration 



17 

to induce the Legislature to put the State on a war 
footing immediately upon its assembling. General 

Read writes: '" Early in the month of January, 

1861, when Governor Morgan, with wise forethought, 
was endeavoring to impress upon the Legislature the 
immediate necessity of placing the State of New York 
on a war footing. General Bexedict was found ready 
to urge, with all the force of his natural eloquence, the 
arming of the State to meet the impending crisis. 
He comprehended the importance of prompt action, 
and anticipated the coming conflict." 

He not only believed that war could not be escaped, 
but he estimated the dimensions of the struggle in a 
manner not common at that time; and, although he 
hailed with joy the call of the President for Volun- 
teers, he did not conceal his disappointment at the 
meagreness of the number called for bv the Procla- 
mation. Writing, a few days after the issuing of that 
paper, he said: "The sentiment of the North is not 
satisfied by the present call for troops. The Govern- 
ment would be justified in demanding three hundred 
thousand, and the men would respond with delight. 
It is time we should exorcise from our breasts those 
gentle spirits, brotherly love and fraternal regard, and 
substitute implacable determination and stern justice 
in their place. '' '=' * We have been wronged; 
insulted and betrayed, by false brethren, the flag 



18. 

of our I'liion (lii^unii'cil and our liue bivlhivn .slain." 
This was addivssod to a humhIkt of the Adniiiiis- 
tratioH. 

Upon this call. Governor Morgan, by a special 
message, requested the action necessary on the part 
of the Legislature; and the Legislature responded by 
"An act to authorize the embodying and equipment 
of a Volunteer Militia, and to provide for the Public 
Defense." passed April 16, 1861, This Act authorized 
the enlistment of thirty thousand men, and appro- 
priated three millions of dollars for that purpose. To 
the perfecting and passing of this measure Colonel 
Benedict devoted all his energies. Lo^-al men 
abounded in the house, and many, as ardent as him- 
self, labored as zealouslv to the same end still a 
minoritv ^vas there also, whose hostilitv to warlike 
preparation was active and skilful enough to tax 
severelv the stremrth and resources of the friends of 
the opposite policy. In debate, a member interrupted 
him thus: '! wish to ask the gentleman a question, 
If I imbrue mv hands in mv brother's blood, do I 
thereby promote the cause of Liberty?" Mr. Bene- 
dict: ''I will answer that question. Yes, Sir I I do 
promote the cause of Liberty by slaying even my 
brother, if. with traitorous and parricidal hand, he 
dares to tear down the tlau' of our common country!" 
It was largely through his instrumentality that the 



19 

selection and appointment of the officers of the organ- 
izations contemplated by the Act were directed to be 
made, according to Sec. II. Art. 11 of the Constitn- 
tion, the imjiort of which was, that the force should 
have a voice in the choice of officers to command it. 
His motive to this action was both misunderstood and 
misrepresented at the time. Distrust of the Execu- 
tive was not, on his part, an element of it. The fact 
was that gentlemen of the opposite party assured him 
that they would at once proceed to recruit regiments, 
if the men they might raise were allowed to nominate 
their own officers; and that they would not do so on 
any other condition. His oljject was to raise the 
troops in the shortest possible time, and this seemed 
to him fitted to promote that end. It will hardly be 
doubted, now, that it did promote it. 

He had been a spectator of the return of the Vol- 
unteers from the Mexican War, and never forgot how 
forlorn was their condition, when, mustered out of 
service, thev were abandoned, without means to leave 
the spot whereon they were discharged, far from the 
homes whence thev had volunteered. That remem- 
brance prompted him to offer an amendment, which 
was adopted, forbidding the discharge of Volunteers 
under the Act, elsewhere than in the counties wherein 
they had enlisted, "unless by his or their consent." 

The action of the Legislature, however, did not 



'> 



20 

conie ii[) to liis idea ol" the exigencies ol" the case. 
Manv causes c(>ns|)ii(Ml lo move liis feelings deeply, 
and he was provoked to express them with less than 
his nsiud moderation. On the adjonrnment of the 
Legislature, he had written: ''Had my advice been 
followed, we should now have ten thousand Volunteers 
to send to protect Washington; but we begin to be 
ashamed of our tardiness to respond to the demands 
of the General Government." 

The attack on Fort Sumter had exasperated him 
sufficiently, but the slaughter of Union troops b}' the 
traitors of Baltimore, and the cutting off of commu- 
nication with the National Capital, greatly increased 
his indignation. He chanced, at this juncture, to 
visit the State, whose hills and vallejs could not be 
looked upon, nor its people communed wnth. by any 
lover of his country or of freedom, without having 
Ijoth his fervor and his courage increased by the recol- 
lection that its soil had been "drenched to a mire in 
the first and best blood of the Revolution;" as well as 
by the fact that its blood was again flowing, the 
first shed in the cause of an imperilled Union. He 
wrote, April 2-jtli, to a friend connected Avith the 
Government: "I am in New England for a short visit, 
and have imbibed the spirit of determined patriotism, 
which is breathing over every city, tow^n and hamlet, 
within the borders of Massachusetts. 



21 

"There is much apprehension, growing out of con- 
tradictory reports, as to the movements of troops, 
the strength at Washington and the fate of the Capi- 
taL * * * 

"Order Wool to widen the streets of Baltimore, so 
that our road to the Capital will he free. Trust no 
Southern man wdio is a Unionist politician. They 
have played a game with our Peace Conferences, and 
have lulled the North to sleep, while the South 
perfected its traitorous designs. 

"If the troops in Washington are beaten, the Admin- 
istration had better resign; because you can have a 
million of men by calling for them. There is powder 
here to crush out treason, do not peck it to pieces." 

While in the Legislature, it was intimated to him 
that the Colonelcy of one of the early regiments 
w^ould prol)ably fall to him, if the power to ajopoint 
were left with the Executive. For reasons already 
stated, he preferred another mode; but, under no 
circumstances, would he have accepted such a commis- 
sion. In his own judgment, he was not sufficiently 
advanced in military science to qualify him to be a 
safe trustee of the lives of a thousand men. So 
strongly was he impressed with this idea, that, even 
when a Lieutenant Colonel in the service, he was 
induced by reason of it, to decline promotion, when 
actually tendered to him. 



22 

A |)i-('vi()iis coiiiuH'tion witli llic City Ciivalry 
iiioliiud liiiii to llu' opinion that, in that branch of 
the st'r\ ice. he woiikl .soonest attain to such a degree 
oi' prolieiency as AvoiiUl best secure the object to 
Avhich he aspired. For this purpose he applied to 
thi' Governor lor the necessary authority to recruit a 
regiment of Cavahy. Tliis application was denied, 
in deference to the opinion of Lieutenant General 
Scott, that no such force was needed; although it 
was notorious, at the time, that the public enemy 
might aptly enough, have been symbolized by a 
Centaur. Accepting the consequence that knalty 
must walk while treason rode, and resolute in his 
detemiination to enter the service, he left Albany, in 
June, to prosecute a search for some position not 
above his military qualitications. 

The New York Fire Department, having made 
some progress toward recruiting the 2nd Fire Zouaves, 
conferred upon him the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the 
proposed regiment. A series of untoward events 
obstructed the processes of organization, and produced 
dissension among the officers, and despondency, as 
well as ill feeling, among the- men. In the midst of 
the complications, inevitable from complete antago- 
nism of purposes and interests, because many agreed 
in esteeming and cherishing him, who could be 
brought to agree in nothing else, and as it seemed 



9q 



favorable to a general pacification, he was strongly 
urged to take the Colonelcy. For the second time he 
denied himself promotion, on the avowed ground that 
his military education was not equal to the just 
demands of such a rank. About this time, in a letter 
to his father, he said : " I have followed your advice 
about study, or rather anticipated it; for, since my 
determination was formed to take an active part in 
the war, I have felt that one assuming any command 
incurs a grave responsibility. My reading, before I 
left home, was military to some extent, and I have 
occupied the intervals of duty in studying the Tactics 
adopted for our army. I trust I feel, to a proper 
extent, the impossibilit}^ of understanding any science 
without study of the authorities that teach it; and 
you may rest assured that, to the limit of my capacity, 
I shall master the business I am about to engage in. 
A chief difficulty among officers has been, I appre- 
hend, a failure to acquire the resjDect and confidence 
of their men ; attributable, perhaps, to frequent and 
protracted absences from camp, which has suggested 
to the men that they were not properly cared for. 
Having this idea, when I go to camp, I shall steadily 
remain there, giving all my leisure to study and 
appropriate reading." He not only redeemed this 
promise at this camp, but maintained the habit 
throughout his entire military service. 



24 

I lis (K'cliiiini: to take this t'oininaiKl. however. brought 
no alleviation ol" his labors, by transler of them to 
a superior oOioor. He was busy, literally, uiglit and 
dav. in eamp or at New York, striving to bring order 
out of conrusioii and compose strifes in relation to the 
reiiinient. liv reason of its being involved in the 
troubles concerning the Sickles Brigade, Washington 
was lreij[uently the theatre of severe exertion. It 
seems strange now, familiar as we are with bounties 
of a thousand dollars for an individual recruit, that 
one of the labors in the case was to induce the 
Government to accept the regiment. The interven- 
tion of the disaster at Bull Run increased his indig- 
nation, while it inflamed his zeal; and the alarm and 
depression in high quarters consequent upon it, not- 
withstanding the lofty speech and bearing of the 
people, and the unaccountable hesitation in the same 
quarters to accept troops, in presence of so manifest 
a need of them, presented contrasts that quite con- 
founded him. 

Li contemplation of the departure of some New 
York regiments for the seat of war, his oAvn among 
the numl)er. July 2od. he wrote: "I trust that some 
courage will be communicated to our scared Adminis- 
tration, which has taken possession of the Telegraph 
lest the terror of Washington infect the country. 
What a mistake ! The heart of the North is indeed , 



25 

wounded by the disgrace of our fear-stricken army; 
but I know, by my o^vn feelings, that it is embold- 
ened by the crisis, and, less than ever, will blench 
from the contest." 

With a more correct knowledge and wiser appre- 
ciation of the causes of that disaster, his views under- 
went some modification; at least so far as the 
responsibility of the rank and file was concerned; 
but with any thing but abatement in resj^ect to his 
own class, the officers. He said : " I have been 
mortified, not by our want of success, for that may 
happen to the bravest of men; but at the fear which 
caused flight from no pursuer. The fault is not with 
the men; but it undoubtedly arose from want of a 
proper understanding of the respective duties of 
officers and men, and a o-eneral distrust amono- the 
rank and file of the capability of the officers. Now 
that the circumstances are correctly known, I can see 
that, 'out of the nettle, Danger, we shall pluck the 
flower, Safety.' 

" This war has been regarded, hitherto, too much 
as a holiday affair, and mau}^ have rushed into it as 
they would have gone to a pic-nic. No man can fight 
with levity or indifference in his heart, certainly not 
to his utmost effectiveness. It impressed itself pain- 
fully on my mind, when in Washington, that our 
army had not the proper tone. Sternness should 



26 

take tlio place of a rcrklcss iVivulity, which seciacd 
too prevalent. 

"We ueed good officers. AYe have a fine army, 
gallant, stout, hard}- men, hut undisciplined. With 
drill, thov can only fail by bein": badly led. W^c 
have not much military knowledge, but plenty of 
brave and)itious men. God forgive a man who will 
vault his ignorance into a high command. This is 
not the occasion for self-sufficient men. They should 
cling to civil pursuits, where blunders do not cost 
human life. '=' '' '=' I trust the right man wall 
not much longer be excluded from the right place, 
and the wrong one retained, there, lest the exercise of 
wisdom shall w^ound somebod^-'s feelings. 

"Above all, I hope that the necessities of the time 
will incline the Administration to accept Avitli grati- 
tude the reinforcements Patriotism is oflering to the 
cause, and no longer affiict the sensibilities of willing 
men, by dispensing, as a favor, the liberty to fight for 
our institutions." 

A question, prolific of contention, was w^hether the 
2nd Fire Zouaves should retain their original inde- 
pendence of association, or become the 4th Kegiment 
Excelsior Brigade, under General Daniel E. Sickles. 
There w^as another concerning the Colonelcy, which 
created much feeling and excited partisanship. With 
these pending, the regiment was ordered to AVasli- 



27 

ington, where it arrived on the 24th of July. It was 
a mouth before the vexed questions, appertaining to it, 
were definitely settled. That concerning its disposi- 
tion was decided by the General commanding, August 
25th. In view of the premises, he decided that it 
justly belonged to the Excelsior Brigade, and ordered 
it to report to General Sickles. The War Department 
remitted the other for settlement to the commissioned 
officers of the regiment; and they, by a formal election, 
chose William R. Brewster, late Major of the 28th 
N. Y. S. M., to be its Colonel. They also reaffirmed 
their former choice of Lieutenant Colonel and Major. 

Within four or five days after this, the regiment, 
having completed its equipment, was ordered to join its 
brigade, then at Good Hope, Maryland, forming part 
of Hooker's Division. It assisted in building the three 
forts, named, respectively, Carroll, Stanton and Greble, 
to command the approaches to Washington from the 
South. It was known as the 4th Excelsior Regiment, 
2d Brigade, Hookers Division; Ijut later, in conse- 
quence of a failure to procure recognition as United 
States Volunteers, it acquiesced in iDcing designated by 
the State of New York, and thenceforth was called 
the 73d Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry. 

The winter was spent, mainly, in picket duty; 
having for its object the prevention of intercourse 
between the Rebels on that side, and their far more 



s 



insidious and danuvrous IVit'nds and svninatlii/er.s on 
this side, of the Potonnio, and also the protection of 
thi' naviiiation ol" tliat river. It was found necessary 
to change tlie locality of the camp frequently; ahva^'s 
a task of severe lahor to the unskilled soldiers, and 
generally of intense discomfort, owing to frequent 
rains and the ellect produced by them upon the 
peculiar soil of the country. The roads were not 
only rendered impassable, but the surface generally 
would become so softened that, at times, there was 
hardly enough lirm ground to permit drilling. Still, 
when that exercise was practicable, it was pursued 
Avith great industry; and, notwithstanding this and 
other disadvantages, the regiment improved rapidly. 
Before the winter was over Colokel Benedict and 
the men came to know, and very accurately to esti- 
mate, each other. He spoke well of them, and kindly 
to them, and they strove to justify his commenda- 
tions, and rejoaid his watchful regard by significant 
tokens of respect and gratitude. He wrote of them: 
"Our reuiment never looked so well as it did 
to-day on inspection. I love it. Its wild boys are 
full of ardor and activity, and growing out of their 
careless ways. The prospect of active service has 
brightened them up, and they are becoming ambi- 
tious to look well. Contact and contrast with other 
troops will stimulate them to excel; and they can, if 



29 

they try, they have so much rude intelligence, until 
now, misdirected." 

His knowledge of the most potential means to 
influence men, the result of his almost intuitive 
perceptions and long experience in the use of such 
appliances on a more peaceful theatre, served him 
efiiciently in this new sphere of action. With a firm 
belief that the interests of the public service were iden- 
tical with those of the regiment, he found it possible 
to indulge the humane impulses of his nature, while he 
executed the suggestions of his best judgment, and 
made more acceptable, while he strengthened, his 
naked military right to command, by investing it with 
appeals and claims to respect that were neither legal 
nor technical, but perhaps stronger than either. He 
earned the regard and confidence of the regiment, by 
kind and considerate treatment, and was rewarded 
by a certain alacrity and cheerfulness of obedience, 
which is commonly rendered to authority, when it is 
exercised without caprice or inhumanity. His first 
campaign was against the hearts of his own men, and 
the completeness of his conquest was demonstrated by 
daily incidents while he held his place in the regiment; 
and never more touchingiy than on the last day, when 
some of his "wild boys" preferred to share the horrors 
of a Eebel prison with him, rather than leave him in 
his helplessness on the field of Williamsburg. 



While lie urged upon tlieiii ^^ullitury reguhitions and 
li;il>its of (irder and cleanliness in canip, and even 
used conipuUion. ^^lun necessary, he recompensed 
volnntarv and meritorious service in that direction ])y 
his })ul)lie ap[)roval and incidental favors. He did 
not disdain to concern himself with their more trivial 
interests, and invited them to apply to him for aid 
and counsel; assuring all who thus applied of the 
sincerity of his prolTers. by his prompt and willing 
attention to their requests. He sjDared neither en- 
treaties nor expostulations to reclaim the vicious and 
intemperate, and commended to the profuse and 
improvident the duty of moderation and economy, 
endeavoring to allure all to better courses by ofiering 
his favor as a recompense, and never withholding it 
when it was deserved. In such as held those relations, 
he awakened remembrances of family and friends, 
and pleaded the claims of natural affection and duty 
with so much effect, that a very considerable part of 
their pay was remitted to distant fathers, mothers, 
wives and children, which, but for his inter j)ositi on, 
would never have gone beyond the sutler. In the 
most reckless and degraded, hopeful that some spark 
of manhood might lie hidden in the ashes, he strove 
to kindle an idea of self-respect, by demonstrating to 
their incredulity, that, to him at least, they were still 
objects worthy of care and encouragement, and, by 



31 

suitable means, he fortified and increased the sentiment 
in such as were not altogether without it. A striking 
exemplification of the nature of the impression his 
deportment made on the men, is afibrded by that of a 
sobriquet they bestowed upon him. The appellation, 
neither euphonious nor elegant, and perhaps somewhat 
rude, was, nevertheless, deferential and afiectionate, 
and incapable of being misunderstood, seeing it is void 
of more than one meaning, though it warmly expresses 
that, that the care and protection it implied and 
confessed was fatherly in its character. The custom of 
soldiers thus to mark their appreciation of the officers 
who command them, is too common to make this an 
exceptional occurrence ; and it happens frequently that 
a truer idea of the character of a commander is 
furnished by such a testimonial than by his eulogist 
or biographer. One of the men, writing from his 
camp, after paying a well-merited tribute to the 
soldierly character of Colonel Brewster, says of the 
Lieutenant Colonel: "His kindness to the men has 
often been proved and in various ways, and he seems 
to devote his whole time to devising means to 
facilitate their comfort and make them perfect in dis- 
cipline." So much vigilant kindness, beside its moral 
results, produced some of another character, perhaps 
as remarkable as they were beneficial. The regi- 
mental hospital, for the most part, was tenantless, 






duriiiir the winter, aiul not a man was lost by sickness; 
while other camps, standing on the same soil and 
covered In* the same skv. were scnnrsred bv disease and 
dotted their cemeteries with graves. 

His views and practice on most jwints, whether of 
discipline or camp economy, were in full harmony 
with those of his commanding officer ; and it was well 
for the reiriment that these wholesome moral and 
sanitary measures, invoh'ing sometimes unwelcome 
restraints, came to it under a kuowledire that tliev 
were approved by both. Colonel Brewster, on receiv- 
ing: intelliirence of his death, said : * His influence 
and exertions were always given to elevate the tone 
and standard of the volunteer ser^-ice in camp." 

As the Winter waned, the efficiencv of the regiment 
increased ; and when the Spring came, it was attended 
bv rumors as welcome as its blossoms. Tliev ran. 
that the time of service was at hand. The condition 
of the -wild boys" filled him with hope and confi- 
dence. He wrote : " The regiment, I think, will 
never run. and the men are smart enough in mind 
and body to make a good fight." The rumors, how- 
ever, were not consistent, and he was often pei-plexed 
bv their diversity. His letters at this period show 
that he meditated much upon the causes and objects 
of the war. and. also, analvzed carefuUv his own 
motives in taking part in it. '^It is also said," he 



33 

wrote, "that we will be sent to reinforce Burnside, 
which will suit me, if he is to advance toward Rich- 
mond. If, however, he is to penetrate North Carolina, 
I do not so jnuch desire to be with him, for I have 
some reason to believe that State not wholly Secesh ; 
while I know the whole of Eastern Virginia is rotten 
with Rebellion, and filled with ^^ctims to human 
bondage ; whose chains I might assist in breaking by 
faithful performance of my duty as a soldier. The 
hatred of oppression contends with love of country for 
mastery over me. I think,' when I serve the one, in 
this war, I am entirely loyal to the other." 

For some, and especially for one with whom, upon 
the close of the war, he proposed to unite himself in 
the tenderest of human relations, he had such words 
as these : '' My joy would be unalloyed but the 
thoughts of your apprehensions detract from the 
pleasure with which I hail the prospect of being 
serviceable in striking down this Slavery Rebellion. 
* * "With the dear ones at home, sustained 
under this trial, I shall feel the blood stir heroically 
in my veins as I make my first essay in arms. '=' 
Keep a brave heart. I feel firm as a rock, and am 
capable of dying for my country, if she needs my 
poor life." 

It was not until April 5tli, that the 73d left the 
shores of Maryland, embarkmg then on a steamer, 



34 

iVom wliich it was landed, on tlic 1 Itli of the inonth, 
near tlir uioiith ol' York river, A'irginia. Hence it 
proceeded, with its Brigade, to take part in such 
operations of the siege of Yorktown as were com- 
mitted to the charge of lleint/ehnan's Corps, which 
operations comprised a principal share of the entire 
hibor of investment. 

Though greatly fatigued and worn by severe picket 
and trench dutv, the Tod was vivacious enough to be 
the first to plant its colors on the ramparts of York- 
town, on the morning of Sunda}^, May 4tli, the enemy 
having evacuated the place during the previous night. 

The surrender of this fortified place, without a 
struggle, was not expected. ; and, deeply impressed by 
the irrave continuencies inevitable to the issue he 
anticipated, he wrote thus to his mother on the 2d of 
May : " I am pained to learn that so much appre- 
hension for my safety is mingled with the gratification 
you feel at my being in a position to do service to my 
country. I know it is impossible for a mother to 
forget her son ; but I would, if I could, inspire you 
with the pride I feel in devoting my life to the cause 
of Freedom and the Union. Thus far, though I have 
endeavored to do, so far as my frail nature would 
permit, my duty to man, I know I have not forgotten 
myself as I should, in many instances, have done; 
but, in the struggle soon to be inaugurated here, the 



35 

opportunity will be given me to furnish unmistakeable 
evidence that I am animated by the noblest senti- 
ments ; that I can resign life, which I love, that my 
country may again enjoy the blessings of peace and 
the development of its beneficent principles of govern- 
ment. Politically acting, I have sought its weal; 
personally, my life belongs to it in its woe ; so I view 
the result of the battle with complacency. If I 
survive, as I hope I will, no fortune in future life can 
destroy my consciousness of having perilled life for 
right ; and, if I fall, through all the grief you and our 
dear ones will feel, will breathe the consolation, that 
I was a soldier fighting in a just cause. Let that 
feeling, dear mother, console you, as it reconciles me 
to this war." 

The retreating enemy made a stand at Williams- 
burg within the second line of works alcove YorktoAvn. 
The bastioned fort, Magruder, and thirteen other 
formidable earthworks, could only be approached 
through an abatis of felled trees, five hundred feet in 
breadth. Behind them, as was then supposed, two- 
thirds of the whole rebel army confronted the Union 
forces. At noon on Sunday, May 4th, Hooker's 
Division started in pursuit. The 2d Brigade marched 
about eight miles and bivouacked in the woods. It 
rained hard during the night, and by daylight the 
roads had become nearly impassable, and the men 






diviu'hetl, woarv, liiiiiuTV and cold. At A. m., 
Moiulav -')tli, the rain still I'alling in torrents, the 
pursuit ^vas resumed; and about 7 J A. M., the 1st and 
3d Brigades encountered the enemy. The 2d Brigade 
(Excelsior) was posted iii reserve; and the 1st and 
3d Brigades having been forced back by overwhelming 
numbers, after some hours of hard fighting, it was 
ordered into action. 

This is not the place or occasion to assume to 
decide the manifold controversies to Avhich the origin 
and conduct of the battle of AYilliamsburg gave rise; 
but of facts, which appear clear through the smoke 
and dust of the contention, it may not be im^^roper to 
record one or two. Hooker's Division was left, with- 
out support, from early morning until nearly nightfall, 
to contend with a vastly more numerous force, protected 
by formidable defences, wdiile General Sumner was 
aware of the situation, and his corps of 30,000 men 
was 1} ing supinely within hearing of the thunder of 
the unequal contest; the main body of the Army of 
the Potomac being all the while within four hours 
march of the same point, and the commanding Gene- 
ral McClellan not arriving on the field until near the 
close of the battle. Hooker lost 1 in C; a loss 
proportionate to that of the Allied armies at the 
Alma, the bloodiest battle in modern European his- 
tory; and exceeding that of Wagram, the most fatal 



37 

of all the battles of Napoleon, which was 1 m 8. 
The Excelsior Brigade went into action with about 
2400 men and lost 773, about one half of the entire 
loss sustained by Hooker's Division. 

Hooker's left was the point that the Rebel General 
in command, Joseph E. Johnston, especially desired 
to turn, and throughout the day it was vehemently 
and persistently assailed. It was also the point that 
Hooker, aware of its importance, determined should 
not be turned, and hence the desperateness of the 
fighting. The 73d and 74th New York, the last 
remaining regiments of the reserve, were moved 
up to reinforce the left. It was in the execution 
of this purpose that Lieutenant Colonel Benedict 
was taken prisoner. Colonel Brewster, of his regi- 
ment, wrote: "From the position in which I last 
saw him, which was upon the extreme left of the 
regiment, where we were driven back some time 
before the right and centre gave way, I think he must 
have been taken prisoner at that time. He was at 
the head of the line encouraging the men, driving up, 
with pistol in hand, those who seemed inclined to 
hang back, and acting in the bravest manner." A 
correspondent of the New York Tribune, writing from 
the field, said: "I have just returned from the spot 
where Lieutenant Colonel Benedict was taken. It 

is in the densest heart of the ahatis and close in front 

6 



-)0 

n{' tlu> rilk' ])its. The hark of the trunks and 
hranolios of the troos are checqiiorod ^vhite with 
iniiskot 1)unets and grape. The idea ])revaiHn: in 
his regiment is that he got to the front, that a eharge 
drove Ids men hack, and lie wa;^ eaptnred for his 
exehangeahle vahie instead of being killed." His 
own account, written from Libl)y Prison, was: "My 
horse was wounded earl}' in the fight, though I rode 
him sometime afterward. After I dismounted, we 
made our way into the felled timber, and Avlien our 
Une was broken, 1 was taken prisoner." 

A principal cause of his capture became know^n 
afterwards. While in Maryland his horse had fallen 
with him, seriously injuring his foot and ankle. He 
was unaljle to walk without support, when he went 
into action at Williamsburg, and the general judg- 
ment of his men was that he was unfit to take the 
hazards of the battle field. So long as his horse 
served his purposes of locomotion, he did pretty w^ell; 
but the moment he dismounted, he was at great 
disadvantage. The abatis of felled timber through 
which *he was aided to clamber, in order to reach 
the open field beyond, which w^as studded with rifle 
pits, was more than four hundred feet in breadth; and 
when he and his men were overAvhelmed by the enemy, 
it presented an insurmountable barrier to his retreat. 
There is reason to believe that some who were cap- 



39 

tured with him, might have escaped, as others of their 
comrades did, but that they were unwilling to abandon 
the idol of their camp, when he was too lame to move 
without assistance. Such certainly was his own idea; 
for, a few days later, while in prison in Richmond, he 
contrived to get into the hands of those men, who 
were released on parole, a slip of paper containing 
these words: "Good-bye and good luck to the 73d 
New York Prisoners! It pleases me more to have 
you free than it would to be released myself; for I 
know, if it had not been for my helplessness, you 
would not be here. If you see any of our regiment, 
remember me to them. Good-bye and God bless you! " 
From Williamsburg he was hurried to Richmond 
as rapidly as his condition permitted. On his way 
thither he was fortunate enough to be in the custody 
of humane and placable foes; who, in consideration of 
his inability to walk, suffered him to ride on horse- 
back. The condition of affairs within the enemy's 
lines inspired him with the utmost confidence that 
he would be recaptured by Union troops before he 
could be transported to Richmond. On every side 
evidences abounded that the enemy felt himself utterly 
defeated, and was concerned about nothing so much 
as providing for his own retreat. His reasonable 
expectation was not, however, realized; and on the 
9th he found himself, with many other Union officers. 



40 

ill till' Iu'Ik'1 (';ijHt;il. shut ii|) in ;i llltliv p()ik-i)ackiiig 
estnMisliiiu'ut. siiici' rtH'oiiiii/.cd jiiid ciirscd as the 
LiBBY Prison. Here he Avas first insulted and }hiii- 
dered. 

A natural consequence of the j)h3sical exertions 
compelled l>y the exigencies of battle and capture 
was, that the injured limb became immoderately 
swollen, and the seat of excruciating pain. It was 
ahvays a pleasant recollection to him, and it still 
abides with his friends, that in this condition he 
received much kindness and attention from his fellow 
prisoners, some of whom were ancU known to him, 
who seemed to forget their own misery in assiduous 
attempts to alleviate his. The value of their self- 
sacrifices will be better appreciated by recalling the 
circumstances under which they were offered. It 
would not be much to yield a window in most places, 
it was much to do so in Liljby. The then condition 
of that Bastile was thus described by another of its 
captives: "a foul den. formerly used as a pork-packing 
room, the floor covered with grease inches thick, 
saturated with salt, damp as a vault, the sun never 
entering; -seventy men and officers closely packed; 
cooking, washing and every necessary duty performed 
in a space seventy by forty-two feet. No officer is 
allowed to leave the room on any pretence whatever; 
no papers allowed to be procured nor books to be 



41 

read; beneath us a stable occupied by the horses of 
the Rebel officers; above us, the stories are occupied 
by hundreds of Federal soldiers, the filth from the 
stories above poured down upon us in a foul mass; a 
suffocating stench constantly pervading the room; 
with scarcelv room enough to move about in." 

Under an expectation that the Union forces would 
take possession of the city, which the army of Trea- 
son felt constrained to abandon, a deduction not only 
authorized by the military emergencies of the hour, 
but, in view of them, stamping any other with folly, 
the Rebel authorities, on the loth of May, hurried 
the Union prisoners from this den to Salisbury, North 
Carolina. They were transported on uncovered plat- 
form cars, rudely fitted with rough board benches; 
forbidden to leave them for an instant for any purpose 
whatever, exposed at every point on the route, where 
there was rabble enough to deride and insult them, 
and although provided with starvation rations only, 
they were not allowed to eke them out by purchases 
at their own cost. The place, however, high among 
the hills, was found to be much more healthful, and 
the prison buildings vastly more commodious, than 
those of Richmond. A most welcome appurtenance 
to these structures was an enclosure of some ten or 
twelve acres, in which, under rather stringent regu- 
lations, the prisoners were allowed to take air and 



42 

oxorciso. Anotlior jiratiMnl iin]ir(">yoniont upon the 
retjime at Kiclinioiid was. that their Kolu'l riistodians 
oxhihited some doceiu'y ol" demeanor; and, although 
tlie tare was not onlv very scanty but oi' miserable 
qualit}', supplies could be obtained from without by 
the payment of extortionate prices. 

Under date oi' June 28th, 18G2, writing from this 
Prison, he said: "I liaye nothing agreeable to com- 
municate^ except that I continue in good health. 
Our hopes are raised on the slighest rumor or remotest 
incident, that we shall soon be paroUed or exchanged j 
but we are constantly disappointed. This produces 
various eftects upon those confined here. '"' '=' * 
I belong to another class, who, adopting the philo- 
sophy of Pope, take comfort in the belief that 
'whatever is, is right.' I have the utmost reliance 
on our Government. Its capacity and energy have 
been exhibited in prosecuting the most remarkable 
campaign the world has ever seen, for valuable results 
and in extent of country passed over by our armies. 
I value myself too little to suppose that nothing has 
been done because I am left here a prisoner. I 
imagine the world may be moving and doing a very 
respectable stroke of business, though I am taking no 
part in it. I am far happier in such thoughts than 
I should ho in nourishinir the conceits of an exa2:2:e- 

~ CO 

rated self-importance. When it suits the policy of our 



43 

rulers, and more important concerns do not absorb 
their time. T liave hope that we. who are prisoners, 
may be released. '=' '^ "^ The towns-people 
have somewhat limited our market, by prohibiting 
the sale to us of certain articles thev desire lor their 
own consumption. All provisions are very high." 

The recurrence of the Anniversary of our National 
Independence raised the patriotism of the prisoners to 
the pitch of enthusiasm. The Union War Prisoners' 
Association. an organization created by the prisoners 
to regulate their internal concerns, prepared a pro- 
gramme, not unsuited to the most loyal and patriotic 
community in the Northern states. Major Cordon, C. 
S. A., commandant of the Prison, reviewed it and 
ordered some clian<i-es to be nuide. Lieutenant Col- 
ONEL Benedict had been selected to deliver an Oration. 
Inferring its probable character, the Rebel censor 
interdicted the performance, and he read Washington's 
Farewell Address instead. The Star Spangled Ban- 
ner and Hail Cohunbia were forbidden to lie suno;. 
The patriotic fervor of the caged patriots found vent 
in emphatic renderings of America, Pilgrim Fathers 
and the Marsellaise. Captain Cox, 1st Kentucky, 
delivered an Ode and Poem, both of nuicli nuu'it. and 
Captain J. T. Drew, 2nd Vermont, recited an original 
Poem, that will bear comparison with many delivered 
on that day under much more favorable auspices. 



44 

LiKi'TENANT r(H.oxT:i, Br.XKDTrT's tonst on the oron- 
sioii was siunilicaiit and cliaracteristic : " Excliange 
of prisoners the burden of our tliouglits, voices and 
hopes. May our Government, speedily, give man lor 
man ; but, never, a principle for any man." Games and 
races by the privates, for prizes offered by the officers, 
concluded a Celebration by no means unworthy of 
the day. 

The bitterest element in the cup of his captivity 
touched his lips Avhen it was nearly drained and about 
to pass from him. Just before his exchange, he learned 
that a heart, that had been grievously wrung by his 
imprisonment, was not to be soothed and cheered by 
his release. ]\Iore than a month before the sorrowful 
intelligence penetrated his prison, his father, whom 
he reverenced as well as loved, had died. 

Under a cartel he left Salisbury, en route for the 
Union lines, via Eichmond. AYriting home August 
10th. the day before he left the Prison, he said : 
"My health is good, though my system is depleted by 
the fare and mode of life, so that I feel little vigor or 
energy. The prospect of liberty, I anticipate, will 
revive us all to a degree ; and by the time I reach 
you, I hope to be a new man. We are, necessarilj^, 
in the dark as to the course Government will pursue 
in our cases ; but suppose we will be granted a short 
leave of absence to refit ourselves for the war." 



45 

Arriving opposite Riclimond, they were turned out 
on Belle Isle, and left to pass the night, as best they 
could, on the bare ground, without shelter of any 
sort. This exposure of debilitated and exhausted 
men to the damps and chills of the night entailed con- 
sequences not immediately apparent. Thence they 
were taken to the Libby Prison, well remembered by 
most of them for its filthiness and discomfort, but 
which was then, if possible, in even a more loathsome 
and pestilential condition than when they had been 
its inmates. The sick and wounded of our army, 
whose low state precluded them from the present 
benefits of exchange, lay there, with nothing between 
their tortured and languishing bodies and the reeking 
floor, without blankets or sheets, and some, without 
even a shirt to cover them, with no nourishment but 
the coarse prison rations, wretched in quality and 
wholly insufficient in quanity. This sorrowful sight 
so affected the exchanged officers, that they contri- 
buted money and divested themselves of blankets, 
overcoats and indeed all their surplus clothing, for the 
relief of their suffering countrymen. 

It is equally gratifying and surprising to be able to 
state that, in so thoroughly depraved and brutalized 
a community as one must be in order to tolerate such 
treatment of prisoners of war, now and then a heart 
beat in unison with the ordinary charities of human 



40 

lint lire. ]>ut .sui-li piilsation.s ^VL'^e caivl'iiUy con- 
cealed Irom the observation of tlie liitili civil and 
military antliorities of the Confederacy and the domi- 
nant class of society. Personally, Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Benedict incurred obligations, in the Eebel Capital, 
on account of sincere attempts to do him service. His 
friends remember with gratitude and respect, as he 
did Avhile memory remained with him, some, whose 
names it would not be proper even now to disclose, 
who, at some risk to themselves, attempted in good 
fiiith, but to little effect, .to solace his captivity and 
aid his return to his friends. 

Under the impression that, in care of Federal 
authorities, shelterless nights, in traoisitu from Rich- 
mond to Washington, needed not to be provided 
ao-ainst, he had devoted his last overcoat to the 
service of the sick and naked of the Libby Prison. 
He found himself, however, on a damp, misty night, 
on the open deck of a United States transport on the 
James river, with insufficient clothing, afraid to lie 
down, and too weak to stand up, but with no other 
place to lay his head. What wonder that he sunk 
down wliere he stood, and arose wet and shivering, to 
lie down again at no distant day, with that form of 
fever, that filled more hospitals and graves from the 
Army of the Potomac, than all the casualties of war 
combined. On the 20th of August, he reached Wash- 



47 

ington. The general effect of liis Southern experience 
and observation upon his mind is quite apparent in 
some statements extracted from him by reporters and 
published at the time. "Colonel Benedict is eager, 
and in this he says he expresses the desire of all who 
came with him from Rebeldom, to get to work again. 
He will command a regiment, if he can get one; if 
not, he will resume his old position. He says, and 
in this, too, ssljs that the others are with him, that 
the harshest measures toward the Rebels are the 
best. He spurns conciliation, and cries, 'War to the 
knife.' 

"He believes in Emancipation as a means of crush- 
ing the RebelUon. The slaves, he says, are all our 
friends, show their friendship toward Union prisoners 
m all safe ways, and will be speedily heard from in 
response to an order of freedom. He would use the 
freedmen in all ways in which they can serve. 

"The Confiscation and Emancipation Act is, in 
CoLOisrEL Benedict's judgment, the most terrible wea- 
pon the North has yet drawn. The Rebels wince at 
it, as it stands on the Statute Book, only executed in 
part as it is." 

After reporting at the War De23artmeut, he received 
leave of absence for thirty days, to enable him to visit 
his friends, and on Saturday evening, August 23d, he 
reached Albany. 



18 

111 aiiticijKitioii of his coming, liis townsmen had 
arranged to receive him in a manner adapted to 
assnre him ot" their approbation of his conduct and 
spnpatliv AN ith his sullerings, as well as their satisfac- 
tion at his return. The orator chosen for the occa- 
sion, the lion. Lyman Tremain, was in waiting with a 
numerous array of friends, with words of welcome 
on his lips; but when he emerged from the car, 
tremulous and tottering, unable to stand without 
support, his appearance shocked the beholders, and 
put a sudden period to all the schemes for a formal 
reception. Ilis long subjection to the malign intlu- 
ence of impure air and bad, as well as insufficient 
food, had, unquestionably, predisposed him to disease ; 
but the exposure at Belle Isle and on the Government 
transport on the James, had put a match to the train 
that now reached the magazine. He was consuming 
with fever. He was instantly carried home, where it 
required skilful treatment and assiduous nursing to 
restore him to such a measure of health, as to enable 
him to execute his purpose to re-enter upon service at 
the earliest practicable moment. 

During this confinement. Governor Morgan, in the 
kindest manner, tendered him the Colonelcy of the 
162nd Eegiment, N. Y. V. Infantry, then in process of 
beinsi: recruited. His resignation of the Lieutenant 
Colonelcy of the 7od New York was accepted, to 



49 

qualify him to receive this jDromotion ; and his ex- 
change was announced, officially, September 30, 1862. 

On the 9 th of September, though still quite infirm, 
he proceeded to New York, to supervise the concerns 
of the new regiment. This was the third of those 
raised under the patronage of the Commissioners of 
the Metropolitan Police. Its filling up was greatly 
impeded by the interferences and frauds of bounty 
brokers, and, scarcely less, by those of corruj^t or 
incompetent United States Surgeons. It required an 
amount of personal labor and attention to overcome 
these manifold hindrances, that would have taxed his 
energies severely in his best estate ; but, in the weak 
condition in which they met him, he narrowly 
escaped complete prostration. 

By the latter part of October, his regiment had 
attained such proportions as entitled it to take the 
field; and for that purpose, on the 24th of that 
month, it was ordered to Washington. After sj^end- 
ing some time in various camps in the vicinity of the 
city, he was directed to embark with it, at jilexandria, 
Virginia, for Fortress Monroe the rendezvous of the 
forces assembled for what is commonly called the 
Banks Expedition. 

Like most, who escaped being disabled for life by 
barbarous treatment in Eebel prisons, and retained 
vigor enough to fight again, and especially such as 



50 

Aveiv siiiliciently iiitolligeiit to despise the false 
pretence, rite on hotli sides of the Hne as hy concert, 
that snbordinates. and not ilie controlHng civil and 
military ollicers of the Confederacy, were responsible 
for those brutalities, he ^vas impatient to take the 
field. Tlie prospect of evading the annual embargo 
on military operations, imposed hy the winter of the 
North, was eminently a pleasant one. 

Writing from Hampton Koads, he said: "I am 
happy, both for my men and myself, that we are 
going to the South; where Winter will not lock up 
patriotic effort in ice nor drown it in mud, and we 
will be able to strike freely, knowing that we are 
smiting foes." 

To a brother, he wi'ote: "I shall merit a good fate, 
if earnest endeavors will secure it; at an}' rate, I will 
alwavs Idc consoled bv knowinii" that warm hearts will 
exult in ni}^ honorable efforts, and mourn if I fall 
doing my duty. 

"While I believe I am engaged in a sacred war 
for moral, political and religious right, and am certain 
it will be prosecuted to the bitter end, to the suljju- 
gation of Secession, I will be confident and fearless; 
but if the time come when compromise is tolerated, 
expect me home. I will never support a war which is 
to end in any event except the establishment, in its 
entu-ety, of the authority of the Government. My 



51 



life, and that includes all, is at the sendee of the 
Union; but not one hair of my head will be given, 
voluntarily, for any modification of it." 

With four companies of his regiment he sailed from 
Hampton Eoads, December 3d, on a transport, named 
the City of Bath; under sealed orders, not to be 
opened before approaching the mouths of the Missis- 
sippi. The voyage was rendered uncomfortable and 
perilous by heavy gales, in one of which the vessel 
was thrown on her beam ends, and did not right again 
in some hours, to the consternation of all on board. 
The water on board the ship was bad too, the water 
casks ha^dng previously served in the Pacific as oil 
casks. Refitting at Key West,*ancl opening his orders 
at Ship Island, he learned his destination to be New 
Orleans, where he arrived December 15, 1862. 

On reporting at Head Quarters, he was instructed 
to report to General T. W. Sherman, at Carrollton, 
six miles above the city proper, who ordered him to 
disembark his men at Camp Parapet, some two miles 
farther up, and assume command of the post, then 
garrisoned by several regiments and batteries. 

On the 21th of December, after a season of extreme 
anxiety concerning their fate, he was joined by Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Blanchard, and the six other compa- 
nies of his regiment who had sailed from Hampton 
Eoads in company with himself; but as it turned out, 



52 



on ;i \\ ri'tcliod ami uiisarc hulk called the George's 
Creek. 

About the lOtli of January, 18G3, Colonel Benedict 
was ordered with his regiment to Donaldsonville, some 
sixty miles above New Orlecans^ to hold that phice, 
while General Godfrey Weitzel, who had been lying at 
Thibodeaux, marched on Brashear City and other 
points on Bayou Teche ; it being apprehended that the 
enemy, taking advantage of his absence in that 
quarter, might gain his rear ; thus endangering him 
and our possession of the Mississippi river. He 
remained at Donaldson ville until the 25th, when, AVeit- 
zel having accomj^lished his purposes, the necessity to 
strengthen the regular garrison ceased, and he returned 
with his command to the Parapet. 

His command at this post was his first service as an 
Acting Brigadier. The anomalous condition of affairs 
in the surrounding district, and the entire absence of 
civil or social authority, imposed on military com- 
manders much besides professional duty. In so dis- 
turbed a state of society, military vigilance could not be 
relaxed even if the public enemy were not immediately 
at hand, elements that needed watchful care were 
always present. Every day brought with it occasion 
for the exercise of sound judgment, moderation and 
presence of mindj for there was neither code nor 
precedent to prescribe or follow. He was fortunate 



53 

enough, in this difficult position, to satisfy his superiors, 
by his dihgence in military matters, and by his 
discretion in such affiiirs as were rather civil and 
administrative in character. 

On the 2d of February, he was ordered to turn 
over this command to Brig. General Neal Dow ; and to 
put his own regiment into quarters at Camp Mansfield, 
half a mile from Carrollton. Here the regiment was 
brigaded with the 16th New Hampshire, 110th New 
York, and 4th Massachusetts; constituting the 1st 
Brigade 3d Division of the 19th Army Corps, 
under Brig. General Andrews. Having suflered 
acutely for some weeks in consequence of an ail- 
ment, to be relieved only by a difficult surgical 
operation, he obtained, on the 6th of March, leave of 
absence to go to the North in order to receive proper 
surgical treatment. 

He arrived in New York on the 16th of March, and 
at once underwent the needed operation, and con- 
valesced so rapidly that he re-embarked on the 23d of 
April, and rejoined his regiment on the 11th of May, 
at Alexandria, Louisiana. He had barely landed, 
however, and was receiving the congratulations of his 
friends, when he was knocked down bv a frightened 
horse, and his leg so injured that he was obliged to 
return to the boat and remain on it, while it made a 

trip to Brashear City and returned. 

8 



54 
This inarch to Aloxmulriu Avas said to be a ruse 



on the })art ol" (lenoral IJanl-cs, to inihicc the Kebels 
to believe Shreveport was his objective point. On 
the 17th, the Army retraced its steps to Cheney ville, 
and thence made a forced march to Semmesport, on 
the Atchafalaya. about ten miles from the Ecd River. 
At this point Colonel Benedict came up with the 
Army and took command of the brigade. The troops 
moved up the Atchafalaja to its source, and the 
junction of the Eed and Mississippi rivers, thence 
down the latter to Morganzia, where the Army crossed 
the river to Bayou Sara, ten miles above Port Hudson. 
At Morganzia, May 23d, he was detached, with 
110th New York, 2 companies of Cavalry and a 
section of the Gth Mass. Artillery, to occupy and 
hold an important position, directly opposite Port 
Hudson, called indifferently Hermitage or Fausse 
Point. Just here there is a bend in the river, and 
a swampy flat projects far into the stream, making 
the point : an insignificant hamlet, named Hermitage, 
is near, on the bank of Fausse river, from which the 
point obtains its name. From its relative jDosition, 
Port Hudson invested, this localit}^ would have 
been invaluable to the beleaguered garrison ; furnishing 
a convenient avenue for retreat, if that were expedient, 
or for strengthening itself by communication with 
friends on the opposite side of the river, besides 



55 

offering a very eligible location for batteries. To 
prevent such or any uses of it by the Eebels was the 
duty he was set to perform. A signal station was 
discovered in the neighborhood and captured, with 
seven men of the Signal Corps of the enemy. By 
means of the Cavalry he swept the country in his 
rear, and kept it free from small hostile parties; at 
the same time, collecting information for use at Head- 
Quarters. His position was frequently shelled, but 
without serious effect, though some very narrow 
escapes were experienced. . 

Under orders he yielded this command to Colonel 
Sage of 110th New York, and proceeded to join his^ 
regiment before Port Hudson, arriving in his camp 
in the evening of June 13th. He was immediately 
put in command of the 175th New York, Colonel 
B,ryan, the 28th Maine and 48th Mass. ; which, 
together with his o^vn regiment, 162nd New York, 
under Lieutenant Colonel Blanchard, constituted the 
2nd Brigade of 2nd Division of the 19 th Corps, under 
command of Brig. General Dwight. At 12 o'clock 
that night, orders were issued for an attack at day 
break by the entire line of investment. At 1 A. m. 
CoLOXEL Benedict moved his brigade still farther to 
the left, opposite the lower sally-port of the enemy. 
On information, received from a deserter, that there 
was a straight and plain road to this sally-port, and 



that till' c'lK'iiiv s \vi)rks wi'iv tln'iv (|uite practicable, 
Geiu'ial Dwiii'ht ordcii'd (lie left to assault at that 
point. l>v soiiio niiscamage, orders failed to reach 
till' 'JStli Maine, and the l)ri,uade Avent into action 
with three regiments, nuniljering only 582 men. 

The attack was connnenced hy the 1st Brigade, 
under Colonel Clark of 6th Michigan, which, in a 
few minutes, was tlirown into disorder. General 
D wight then ordered Colonel Benedict to advance 
his Brigade to the assistance of Colonel Clark; and 
to march to the attack "in column of companies." 
On reaching the open ground, which rose gently 
toward the enemy's works, upon which the column 
entered from a wood, under cover of which it had 
formed, it was met by a terrific fire of shot and shell ; 
and a little farther on, it came under a crossfire of 
artillery that was almost insupportable. Still, he 
urged the colunni on, passing Clark's brigade, to the 
verge opposite the sally-port ; only, however, to find 
himself confronted by a ravine between him and the 
enemy's w^orks, made impassable by felled timber and 
exposed to a withering fire of all arms. He halted 
the column and ordered the men to seek cover; as 
retreat would have been absolute annihilation, w^hile 
further advance was entirely impracticable. Coolly 
surveying the hostile works from the brink of the 
ravine, he retraced the j^erilous road ; for, being with- 



57 

out an Aid for the purpose, he was compelled to report 
in person the critical situation of his command to 
General Dwight; who, recognizing the necessity, 
ordered the brigade to lie where it was until the 
shades of night might cover its withdrawal. After 
reporting, he rejoined his men; having gone and 
returned through a tornado of shot and shell, 
untouched. 

The sufferings of that day will never be forgotten, 
by any who shared or witnessed them. From morn- 
ing till night the men lay under a burning sun, 
exhausted by fatigue, maddened by thirst, and many 
agonized by wounds. The slightest manifestation of 
life made the exhibitor a target for a volley from the 
sharpshooters of the enemy, who crowded the works 
that crowned the field. The assault failed elsewhere, 
throughout the lines, as it did here ; and, as might be 
expected from the character of the fighting, the casu- 
alties were numerous and severe. It was in this 
advance that the brave Colonel Bryan, of 175th New 
York, fell. The 162nd New York, Colonel Benedict's 
own regiment, which led the brigade, lost, in killed, 
wounded and missing, 51 out of 173 in action. Major 
James H. Bogart was among the killed. 

At 7 p. M. the Brigade was withdrawn. 

The calm bravery displayed by Colonel Benedict 
on this occasion excited the admiration of all who 



58 

witiK'ssed it ; and, })artial as may be tliu pen that 
records this memorial of it. it is exceeded in strength of 
eulouv bv many less interested commentators. An 
officer's letter, to a friend, said : " When about three 
hundred yards from the works I was struck. The 
pain was so intense I could not go on. I turned to 
my 2nd Lieutenant, as he came up to me, and said : 
' Never mind me. Jack ; for God's sake jump to the 
colors ! ' I do not recollect any thing more until I 
heard Colonel Benedict say : ' Up men and forward ! ' 
I looked and saw the rear regiments lying flat to escape 
the fire, and Coloxel Benedict standing there, the 
shot striking all about him, and he never flinching. 
It was grand to see him. I wish I was of iron nerve 
as he is." Adjutant Meech of 2Ctli Connecticut, 
writing to his friends, said : ' I saw Colonel Benedict 
standing just in front of me, when I was wounded, on 
the edge of the ravine, looking intentlj- at the Rebel 
works, while bullets and shells were flvino; about 
pretty thick. He walked to the rear as composedly 
as if out for a stroll." 

Criticisms upon the point and manner of attack, 
suggested naturally by the incidents and event of this 
assault, are restrained ; because considerable research 
has failed to discover that General Dwight ever made 
an}' report of them. 

The following day, June loth, General Banks, 



59 

called for 1000 volunteers to form a column to storm 
the enemy's ^Yorks. Officers who might lead it were 
assured of promotion, and all, both officers and 
privates, were promised medals of commemoration, 
and that their names should " be placed in General 
Orders, on the Roll of Honor." High on this Roll 
would have appeared the name of Colonel Lewis 
Benedict. Colonel (now General) Birge, of Massachu- 
setts, volunteered, and by virtue of seniority, was 
assio'ued to command the 1st Battalion of the 
Stormers. Colonel Benedict volunteered to lead the 
2nd Battalion, and his offer was accepted. The fall of 
Vicksburg however, constrained the Rebel General 
Gardner to surrender Port Hudson ; and so the 
Forlorn Hope lost the opportunity to illustrate its 
bravery and patriotism. 

. . Springfield Landing, some four miles below Port 
Hudson, was the base of supplies for the investing 
arm}^ The safety of these stores, upon which that 
of the army depended, became imperilled by the 
aggressions of Logan's Cavaliy; and some small suc- 
cesses in the way of plundering and burning, it was 
apprehended, might invite serious attacks hy larger 
bodies of the enemy. The 2nd Brigade having become 
reduced by casualities and details to a single battalion, 
Colonel Benedict was relieved of that command and 
ordered to the protection of this important depot, soon 



60 

aftor (ho battle of tlio lltli of June, lie had just 
completed a parapet for that object, when the sur- 
render of Port Hudson took phice. 

lie was in attendance on the ceremonies of that 
surrender, and thus described some objects of peculiar 
interest to him, which the occasion gave him an 
opportunity to observe : " We entered the works by 
the road, over which we advanced to assault them on 
the l-lth of June ; and, as I rode along, I congratu- 
lated myself that our progress then had been checked, 
although the storm of grape and bullets cost my 
brio-ade the lives of more than a hundred of its best 
men, a Colonel, a jNIajor and several other valuable 
officers. A alance at the ground showed that our 
assault must have been unsuccessful. The natural 
difficulties of the position were very great, and they 
had been augmented by the Rebels, with all they 
possessed of means or skill." 

Soon after this. Colonel Benedict was detailed to 
serve on a succession of Courts-Martial convened in 
New Orleans. His professional acquirements and 
training made him a desirable member of tribunals of 
this character. 

About the middle of August, while he was at New 
Orleans, General Banks had reorganized the army of 
the Department. The lG2nd, 110th and IGoth New 
York and 14th Maine, were constituted the 1st 



61 

Brigade, od Division of the 19tli Army Corps, and 
Colonel Benedict was assigned to command it. 

He reached his command, then at Baton Rouge, 
September 1st, and on the following day was ordered 
to embark with it on the steamer North America. 
This craft had been built for the navigation of the 
Hudson River, and years before had been pronounced 
unsafe to run even in those placid waters. In the 
fitting out of the Banks Expedition, this old hulk had 
been imposed on the Government, and actually 
brought troops to the Gulf. B}' means of incessant 
pumping, she was kept afloat until New Orleans was 
reached, when Colonel Benedict, who had discovered 
in her an acquaintance of his boyhood, refused to 
proceed any farther in her. A survey was called, 
and she was condemned as unseaworthy; and soon 
after she sunk quietly at the dock. He then 
transferred his command to the steamship R. C. 
Winthrop ; one of the vessels of an expedition then 
preparing, the destination of which, however, was not 
made public at the time. 

On the 4th of Septe.mlDcr the ship sailed for the 

place of rendezvous for the vessels of the expedition, 

which was off Berwick Bay, and made it apparent 

that Texas was the quarter in which it was to operate. 

The land forces consisted of the 19th Corps; and the 

transports were conveyed by a naval force, consisting 

9 



62 

of lour U'Ail ilratl i^unboats, the Clifton, Arizona, 
Granitr Citv and SacluMn ; tlir Avliolc under command 
of Major General William li. Franklin. It turned 
out that the ohject of the expedition was to captnre 
and ooen]n' Sabine City, at the month of the river of 
that name. The entire fleet was directed to make 
Sabine Pass by midniulit of the Ttli, in order that the 
attack might be made early on the morning of the 
8th . This, however, was not accomplished ; for. owing 
to the absence of the blockading vessel which Avas 
relied upon to indicate the point, the fleet ran by in 
the niiiht. and thus necessitated a change of both the 
time and manner of the attack, Avliich finally took 
place towards evening on the 8th. The Pass proved 
to be sufiiciently fortified, or was defended with 
andacity enough, to defy such demonstrations as were 
made on behalf of the Expedition; so that, after 
sacrificing two of the gunboats, the Clifton and 
Sachem, the most serviceable of all in view of the 
shallowness of the waters, the fleet returned to New 
Orleans, to the infinite disgust of the soldiers who 
expected to fight, and equall}- to the sorrow and dis- 
appointment of a multitude of prisoners and refugees, 
who sorely needed an opposite result. It was said 
that this bootless expedition was not favored by the 
most experienced officers in the Department, who 
preferred Brownsville as a base for ulterior operations. 



63 



Colonel Benedict shared in the general regret 
caused by such barrenness of creditable results from 
an enterprise which had inspired high hopes, founded 
largely on the tried bravery of the 19th Corps. The 
reaction, however, created in all, both officers and 
men, a burning desire to supplant the remembrances 
of the Sabine Pass failure, by other emotions excited 
by some important success. It was, therefore, with 
great satisfaction that, after spending four or five days 
in camp at Algiers, he received orders to march his 
Brigade to Brashear City, in order to participate in 
some operations in Western Louisiana. These opera- 
tions were designed to favor another portion of the 
Army, sent to occupy Brownsville, on the Rio Grande, 
by compelling the Rebels to withdraw troops from 
Texas, to oppose the advance of this one. After an 
unimportant skirmish, near Carrion Crow Bayou, the 
19 th Corps moved to Vermillion ville. 

Here it was reported to Major General Franklin 
that the enemy was concentrating forces, at or near 
Carrion Crow Ba3'0u; and, for the purpose of deter- 
mining their numbers and position, he directed General 
A. L. Lee to make a reconnoissance, with all his 
available Cavalry. The Cavalry Division, comprising 
2 Brigades of 800 each, started from Vermillionville 
for the Bayou in question, distant twelve miles due 
North, at 6.30 A. M., November 11th, and soon 



04 

coiiimciiccd dri\ iii<j; back the pickets ol' tlie eiieiii^' tu 
their reserve of 000. A runniiiix fi,!j:ht then ensued, 
for some six or eiuht miles, ending in General Lee's 
charuinsx them viuorously, and drivinsi' them in confii- 
sion into a dense Mood. Nimm's Li,ii,ht Battery of 
Flying Artillery was quickly brought up, and, after it 
had shelled the woods, General Lee advanced his 
whole force, in line of battle, through the woods, and 
found the enemy drawn up. in like order, on the oppo- 
site side of a prairie about two miles broad, numbering, 
as nearly as could be estimated, some 7000. Seeinor 
that he was outnumbered, four to one, and having 
accomplished the object of his reconnoissance, he 
ordered a retreat. 

The enemy, detecting his intention, sent a large 
force to make a demonstration on his left flank, upon 
which he dispatched the 1st (Col. Lucas') Brigade to 
protect the left, while the General, in person, remained 
with the main column in the road. 

CoLOXEL Benedict had been ordered to advance his 
Brigade about a mile beyond Vermillion Bayou, and 
hold himself in readiness to support General Lee. 
After being in position an hour, he received a request 
from the General that he would move up the road. 
When he had proceeded about four miles, he was met 
by a message that General Lee was retreating before 
a superior enemy, accompanied by an order that he 



65 

should take a position where his force would be 
masked ; that thus General Lee might have an opportu- 
nity to turn and make a dash at the enemy's Cavalry. 
Colonel Benedict selected for this purpose the east 
side of a prairie, about twelve hundred yards wide, 
posting the men in the ditches, Nimms' Battery in 
the rear of the left flank and Trull's in rear of the 
right, a position in which his eight hundred and 
odd could withstand five thousand. General Lee 
retired behind this position to tempt the enemy into 
the open prairie ; but he was too cautious and opened 
with his artillery. This was replied to with vigor, 
and for an hour the fire was active, the Rebels sufier- 
ing severely. Then, failing in an attempt to outflank, 
they sought the cover of the fences and retired. 
Colonel Benedict's Brigade was so well protected that 
it had but 1 killed and 4 wounded. 

On the 15th of November, the Army left Vermil- 
lionville, encamping for the night near Spanish Lake, 
and the next day marched to New Iberia, where it 
remained in quarters until ihe close of the year. 
Colonel Benedict's Brigade held the post of honor on 
the march, acting as rear guard of the army. 

Though not attacked on the way, it was closely 
followed by the enemy, and had not become settled in 
quarters, when it was announced that Camp Pratt, 
its very place of encampment the night before, was 



66 

ill tluMU'cupation ol" the cikmiiv. A tletaeliinoiit was 
at ouce sent out. wliicli surprised in their beds, and 
captured, more than 120 Rebels. 

On the 2nd of January, 18G4, he arrived at Frank- 
lin, Louisiana, where the Armj' was concentrated. 
Here was organized what is known, and generally 
deplored, as the Red River Expedition. Colonel 
Benedict was assigned to the connnand of the 3d 
Brigade of the 1st Division of the 19th Army Corps. 
Major General Franklin commanded the Corps ; Gen- 
eral Emory, the Division. 

On the loth of March, the Division moved to enter 
upon the Red River Campaign. Traversing the rich 
flats of Lower Louisiana, and skirmishing slightly on 
the way, it reached Alexandria, a distance of 160 
miles, on the 25th. The march was continued, on 
the 27th, to Natchitoches, where the Army encamped 
on the 31st, and awaited the arrival of the provision 
transports. General Banks and Commodore Porter, 
with his fleet, were at Grand Ecore, 4 miles above. A 
reconnoissance having ascertained with sufficient 
accuracy, as was thought, the strength and position 
of the enemy at and beyond Pleasant Hill, the entire 
Army marched from Natchitoches on the morning of 
the 6th of April. After an exhausting march through 
rain and mud. Colonel Benedict's Brigade arrived at 
Pleasant Hill on the evening of the 7th, and bivou- 



67 

acked ; the wagons not having come up. At 8 
o'clock the next morning, the 8th, it resumed its march, 
and in the afternoon encamped, with the rest of the 
Division, at Carroll's Mill, about 1 1 miles northwest of 
Pleasant Hill. 

The line of march is thus described by General 
Banks, in his official report: "General Lee, with the 
Cavalry Division, led the advance, followed by a de- 
tachment of two divisions of the loth Corps, under 
General Ransom, 1st Division, 19 th Corps, under 
General Emory, and a bris^ade of colored troops under 
the command of Colonel Dickey, the whole under 
the immediate command of Major General Franklin." 

General Banks further states: "The enemy offered 
no opposition to their march on the 6th. On the 7th 
the advance drove a small force to Pleasant Hill, and 
from there to AVilson's Farm, three miles beyond, 
where a sharp fight occurred with the enemy posted 
in a very strong position, from which they were 
driven with serious loss and pursued to St. Patrick's 
Bayou, near Carroll's Mill, about nine miles from 
Pleasant Hill, where our forces bivouacked for the 
night. We sustained in this action a loss of 14 men 
killed, 39 wounded, and 9 missing. We captured 
many prisoners, and the enemy sustained severe losses 
in killed and wounded. During the engagement, 
General Lee sent to General Franklin for re-enforce- 






68 

mcnts. and a brigade of Infantry was sent forward, 
but. the firinu' having ceased, it was withdrawn. The 
oflicers and men fought witli great spirit in this aflair. 
At daybreak on the 8tli, General Lee, to whose 
support a brigade of the 13th Corps, under Colonel 
Landrum, had been sent by my order, advanced upon 
the enemy, drove liim from his position on the o])po- 
site side of St. Patrick's Bajou, and pursued him to 
Sabine Cross Eoads, about three miles from Mansfield. 
The advance was steady but slow, and ' the resistance 
of the enemy stubborn. He was only driven from 
his defensive positions on the road by artillery. At 
noon on the 8th, another brigade of the 13th Corps 
arrived at the Cross Roads, under Brig. Gen. Ransom, 
to relieve the First Brigade. The Infantry moved 
from Pleasant Hill at daybreak on the 8th, the head 
of the column halting at St. Patrick's Bayou, in order 
that the rear might come up. I passed General 
Franklin's Head-Quarters at 10 A. M., giving directions 
to close up the column as speedily as possible, and 
rode forward to ascertain the condition of affairs at 
the front, where I arrived between 1 and 2 o'clock. 
General Ransom arrived nearly at the same time, with 
the 2nd Brigade, 13th Corps, which was under his 
command at the action at the Cross Roads. 

''I found the troops in line of battle, the skirmishers 
sharply engaged, the main body of the enemy posted 



69 

on the crest of a hill, in thick woods, on both sides 
of a road leading over the hill to Mansfield, on our 
line of march. 

"It was apparent that the enem}^ was in much 
stronger force than at any previous point on the 
march, and, being confirmed in this opinion by General 
Franklin, immediately upon my arrival, I sent a state- 
ment of the facts and orders to hurry forward the 
Infantry with all possible dispatch, directing General 
Lee, at the same time, to hold his ground steadily, but 
not advance until re-enforcements should arrive. Our 
forces were for a long time stationary, with some 
skirmishing on the flanks. It soon became apparent 
that the entire force of the enemy was in our front. 
Several officers were sent to General Franklin to hurry 
forward the column. Skirmishing was incessant dur- 
ing the afternoon. At 4.30 p. m. the enemy made a 
general attack all along the lines, but with great vigor 
upon our right flank. It was resisted with resolute 
determination by our troops, but overpowering num- 
bers compelled them, after resisting the successive 
charges of the enemy in front and on the flank, to fall 
back from their position to the woods in rear of the 
open field which they occupied, retreating in good order. 
The enemy pressed with great vigor upon the flanks as 
well as in front, for the purpose of getting to the rear, 

but were repulsed in this attempt by our Cavalry. 

10 



70 

"At tlio lino of woods a now jiosition won nssiimod, 
supportod l>v tlio od Diviision of" the loth Army Corps, 
under General Cameron, which reached this point 
about 5 r. m., and ibrmoil in line of battle under the 
direction of Major-General Franklin, who accompanied 
its advance. The enemy attacked this second line 
with great impetuosity and overpowering numbers, 
turning both flanks, and advancing heavily upon the 
centre. The assault was resisted Avith gallantry, but 
the troops, finding the enemy in the rear, were com- 
pelled to yield the ground and fall steadily back. The 
road was badl}^ obstructed by the supply train of the 
Cavahy Division, which prevented the retreat of both 
men and artillery. We lost ten of the guns of Ran- 
som's Division in consequence of the position of the 
train, wdiicli prevented their withdraw^al. Repeated 
efforts Avere made to reform the troops and resist 
the advance of the enemy; but, though their pro- 
gress was checked, it was without permanent success. 

"Brig. Gen. W. H. Emory, commanding 1st Division, 
19th Corps, had been early notified of the condition of 
afliiirs, and directed to advance as rapidlj- as possible, 
and form a line of battle in the strongest position he 
could select, to support the troops in retreat and check 
the advance of the enemv. The order to advance 
found him seven miles to the rear of the first battle 
ground. He assumed a position at Pleasant Grove, 



71 

about three miles from the cross roads, on the edge of 
the woods commanding an open fiekl sloping to the 
front. The 161st New York Volunteers, Lieut.-Colo- 
nel Kinsey commanding, were dejDloyed as skirmish- 
ers, and ordered to the foot of the hill, upon the crest 
of which the line was formed to cover the rear of the 
retreating forces, to check the pursuit of the enemy 
and give time for the formation of the troops. 

"General D wight, commanding 1st Brigade, formed 
his troops across the road upon which the enemy was 
moving, commanding the open field in front; the 3d 
Brigade, Colonel Benedict commanding, formed to 
the left, and the 2nd Brigade, General McMillan, in 
reserve. The line was scarcely formed when the 161st 
New York Volunteers were attacked and driven in. 
The right being threatened, a portion of McMillan's 
Brigade formed on the right of General Dwight. The 
fire of our troops was reserved until the enemy was at 
close quarters, when the Avliole line opened upon them 
with most destructive volleys of musketry. The 
action lasted an hour and a half The enemy was 
repulsed with very great slaughter. During the fight, 
a determined effort was made to turn our left flank, 
which was defeated. Prisoners reported the loss of 
the enemy in officers and men to be very great. Gene- 
ral Mouton was killed in the first onset. Their 
attack was made with great desperation, apparently 



7:2 



with the idvd that the dispersion ul" our Ibrces at this 
point would end the eampaiiin. and. with the aid of 
the steadily falling river, leave the lleet of transpoVts 
and gunboats in their hands, or compel their destruc- 
tion. Nothing could surpass in impetuosity the 
assault of the enemy but the inflexible steadiness and 
valor of our troops. The 1st Division of the 19th 
Corps, I)}- its great bravery in this action, saved the 
Army and Navy. But for this successful resistance to 
the attack of the enemy at Pleasant Grove, the 
renewed attack of the enemy with increased force 
could not have been successfully resisted at Pleasant 
Hill on the 9th of April. We occupied the battle 
grounds at night." 

In this action the loss of 1st Division, in killed, 
wounded and missing, was 13 officers and 343 men. 

To refer more particular!}^ to the movements and 
services of Colonel Benedict's Brigade on this occa- 
sion, it may be stated that, at about 4.30 p. m., the 
men being engaged in cooking their rations, orders 
came to prepare to move forward; and very soon 
it commenced a march at double quick time toward 
Sabine Cross Eoads, a distance of six miles, arriv- 
ing at 6 r. M., at the point selected by General 
Emory to cover the retreat of our discomfited troops 
and check the advance of the enemy. As this point 
was approached, the Brigade made its way through a 



73 

confused rabble of cavalry men, infantry, artillery 
men and camp followers, commingled with horses, 
mules, wagons and ambulances, the whole giving token 
of the seriousness of the situation. Entering the field 
to the left of the wood, his Brigade was rapidly 
deployed in the following order: the 162nd New 
York on the right of the Brigade, resting upon the 
left of the 2nd Brigade, the 173d New York on the 
left of the 162nd, both regiments being on the crest of 
a hill, with a ravine in front, the enemy occupying a 
similar crest opposite. The 30th Maine was posted 
in the rear of 173d New York on its left, and a few 
rods in advance. 

The Brigade was scarcely in position when it 
received the fire of the enemy; who, encouraged by 
previous success, came on, as if already the field was 
won. They were received, however, by such a fire as 
put their further advance out of the question, although 
they continued the attack, with great bravery and 
perseverance, at a fearful cost of life. The mainte- 
nance of his position by Emory was indispensable to 
the safety of the Army; of which emergencj^ the 
enemy appeared to be as conscious as himself. Hence 
their desperate determination to turn his left, held by 
Colonel Benedict's Brigade. One desperate effort, 
made towards night, was so bloodily repulsed, that 
the Rebels not only recoiled, but fled, leaving their 



74 

dead and wounded nvIutc they ("ell. In this repulse 
the lC)2nd ;uul ITod New York Avere niaiidy instru- 
mental, and it elosed the fighting at this point. 
Colonel Benedict was niueli commended for the 
eflective manner in which he handled his brigade. 
Gen. Banks, in his official report, says : 
" From Pleasant Grove, where this action occurred, 
to Pleasant Hill, was fifteen miles. It was certain 
that the enemy, who was within reach of re-euforce- 
ments, would renew the attack in the morning, and 
it was wholly uncertain whether the command of 
General Smith could reach the position we held 
in season for a second engagement. For this reason 
the Army towards morning fell back to Pleasant Hill, 
General Emory covering the rear, burjdng the dead, 
bringing oH' the wounded and all the materiel of 
the Army. 

" It arrived there at 8.30 on the morning of the 
9th, effecting a junction with the forces of General 
Smith and the Colored Brigade under Colonel Dickey, 
which had reached that point the evening previous. 
Early on the 9tli the troops were prepared for action, 
the movements of the eueni}' indicating that he was 
on our rear. A line of battle was formed in the 
following order: 1st Brigade, 19th Corps, on the 
right, resting on a ravine ; 2nd Brigade in the centre, 
and 3d Brigade on the left. The centre w^as strength- 



75 

ened by a Brigade of General Smith's forces, whose 
main force was held in reserve. The enemy moved 
towards our right flank. The 2nd Brigade withdrew 
from the centre to the support of the 1st Brigade. 
The Brigade in support of the centre moved up into 
position, and another of General Smith's Brigades 
was posted to the extreme left position on the hill in 
echelon to the rear of the left main line. Light 
skirmishing occurred during the afternoon. Between 
4 and 5 o'clock it increased in vigor, and about 5 p. ir., 
when it appeared to have nearly ceased, the enemy 
drove in our skirmishers and attacked in force, his 
first onset being against the left. He advanced in 
two oblique lines extending well over towards the 
right of the 3d Brigade, 19th Corps. After a deter- 
mined resistance, this part of the line gave way, and 
went slowly back to the reserves. The 1st and 2nd 
Brigades were soon enveloped in front, right and rear. 
By skilful movements of General Emory, the flank of 
the two Brigades, now bearing the brunt of the battle, 
were covered. The enemy pursued the Brigades, 
passing the left and centre, until he approached the 
reserves under General Smith, when he was met by a 
charge led by General Mower, and checked. The 
whole of the reserves were now ordered up, and in 
turn we drove the enemy, continuing the pursuit 
until night compelled us to halt." 



76 

Ceiu'ral Kiiu)rv. in Iii.s Oiliciul Eeport, says: 

"On reaching Pleasant ITill. Invent into line of 
battle, faced to the rear, in the following order : First, 
the 1st Brigade, General Dwight, connnanding on the 
right, resting on a ravine which runs to the north of 
the town ; Second, General McMillan, commanding 2nd 
Brigade ; Third, Colonel Bexedict, commanding 3d 
Brigade. General McMillan was posted in the edge 
of a wood, commanding an o^Den field in front, and 
Bexedict's Brigade in a ditch, his left resting in an 
. open field. 

" I sent word twice to request that Benedict's left 
might be supported b}'' a Brigade placed in reserve or 
in line of battle. 

" The 25th New York Battery was posted on the 
hill between the 1st and 2nd Briirades. The whole 
line was about one half a mile in advance of the 
town. 

" After establishing my line. General McMillan was 
withdrawn and placed on the right and rear, as a 
reserve, and his place was supplied by a Brigade of 
General Smith's Division. 

" My pickets were skirmishing, and the shots few 
and desultory through the day, and it was not supposed 
the enemy w^ould attack. However, about 5.15 p. m. he 
emerged from the woods in all directions and in heavy 
columns, completely outflanked and overpowered my 



77 

left wing, composed of the 3d Brigade and a Brigade 
of Smith's command, which broke in some confusion 
and enabled the enemy to get temporary possession of 
4 pieces of artiTlery of Battery ''L," 1st U. S. 

" My right stood firm and repulsed the enemy hand- 
somely, and the left, I think, would have done so, but 
for the great interval between it and the troops to the 
left leaving that flank entirely exposed and the 
fall of the gallant leader of the 3d Brigade, Colonel 
Benedict. 

" I immediately ordered General McMillan's Brigade, . 
from the right to the left, on the open space in the rear 
of the line of the 3d Brigade, and ordered him to 
charge the enemy. 

"Behind this line most of the 3d Brigade rallied, 
some joining themselves to McMillan's Brigade, and 
some to General Smith's command; all moved forward 
together, and drove the enemy's right flank more than 
a mile and a quarter. 

" Seeing their right wing driven in and thrown 
upon their left wing, they renewed their attack with 
vigor upon my right, but were repulsed with great 
slaughter; and, during the whole day, my right, which 
was in echelon in front of the rest of my line, held its 
ground against several determined assaults. 

" Our loss this day was in killed, wounded and 

missing, 28 officers and 473 men." 

11 



78 

Some details, exliil)itiiig more particuliirlj the ser- 
vice of the ](] lii'iuade in tliis aetioii. are furiiislied by 
an ollieial report ot" Colonel (now General) Francis 
Fessenden, then of the oOtli Maine, who succeeded 
Colonel Benedict in the command of it. He sajs : 
" At 3.30 r. M., our cavalry skirmishers were driven 
in upon our left flank, through our infantry skir- 
mishers. The skirmishers in the woods in front of 
the Brigade were strengthened, and the line of battle 
of the Brigade changed from its position in the skirts 
of the wood, to a position 300 yards to the rear, behind 
a deep ditch, the edges of which were overgrown with 
weeds and underbrush, which partially concealed the 
troops when lying down. The ground sloped towards 
the ditch from the woods and ascended aaain to the 
rear. The regiments were posted in the following 
order : 165tli New York on the right of the Brigade ; 
ITod New York on the right centre; 162nd New York, 
on the left centre ; 30th Maine on the extreme left of 
the Brigade ; the Brigade being on the left of the front 
line of battle. The right of the Brigade was near the 
woods on the right of the open ground, while the left 
of the line rested in open ground and was entirely 
uncovered. The companies of skirmishers Avere di- 
rected to remain in the woods. Shortly after 5 p. m., 
a company of colored soldiers, deployed as skirmishers 
between the skirmishers of the Brigade and those of 



79 

the 16th Corps, who were in line in echelon some 400 
yards to our left rear, and in the woods beyond the 
slope in our rear, were driven in across the open 
ground on our left. Soon after, the skirmishers of the 
3d Brigade in the woods were driven in, and had not 
yet joined their regiments, when the enemy appeared 
in the edge of the woods, in front and beyond the left 
of the line. They advanced rapidly, in tw^o lines, 
obliquely, upon the left and across the front of the 
Brigade, extending towards the right. They advanced 
at a charging pace, delivering a very heavy fire as 
they advanced. Two companies of the 30th Maine 
deployed in the ditch, one in front of that regiment 
and the other between and in front of the 162nd and 
173d, opened a sharp fire upon the enemy without 
checking them in the least. These companies fell 
back, one upon its own regiment, and the other, 
between the 162nd and 173d. The enemy charged 
swiftly down the slope, and commenced crossing the 
ditch, striking at some of the skirmishers with the 
butts of their muskets. So rapidly did they advance, 
that Lieutenant Colonel Blanchard, of the 162nd, who 
had gone in front of his regiment to the ditch, for the 
purpose of seeing the position of the enemy, had not 
time to place himself behind his regiment, before the 
brigade line commenced retiring in confusion. The 
regiments fell back, beginning with tlie 165th on the 



so 

riiilit, tlio l-!nd k'ft ceiitiv. the ITod rii-lit centre, 
delivering their tire as they fell back." Though com- 
pelled by overwhelming numbers to fall back, the 
Brigade soon rallied upon General Smith's reserves, 
and. in conjunction with them, charged and drove the 
enemy to the low ground at the foot of the slope. 
Here, re-enforced by another line that advanced from 
the woods, the enemy attempted to reform, and 
delivered a fire that not only checked our advance, 
but to some extent reversed the movement. At this 
point the struggle was fearful and the slaughter very 
great, and success so ebbed and flowed that the event 
seemed doubtful. A movement by another line, the 
2nd Brigade, 1st Division 19 th Corps, which advanced 
on the right between General Smith's troops and 
Battery L, caused complete discomfiture to the enemy 
in that part of the field, and so aided the left that the 
Eebels were speedily driven over the open ground, 
through the woods beyond ; the Brigade pursuing them 
some miles, indeed until darkness stopped further 
pursuit. 

Another New England man, an officer in one of the 
New York Regiments, thus describes the battle from 
another stand-point: "The enemy, finding a strong 
force on our right and centre, massed a heavy body of 
troops on the left, where our Division (1st) lay, and 
about 5 p. M. drove in our skirmishers. We imme- 



81 

diately lay down and waited for them to come out of 
the woods. Just as they got to the edge of them, they 
halted and gave a most hideous yell, such as Texan s 
and Border ruffians alone can give; thinking that we 
would immediately fire and show our position. But 
in this they were much mistaken, for we lay still 
under cover of the bushes in the valley. At that 
moment our Artillery should have commenced firing, 
but it did not. Finding that we did not fire, they rushed 
out of the woods to the brow of the hill, and poured 
tremendous volleys upon us, at the same time rushing 
down the hill. Our Brigade poured several into them, 
but found them coming in such overwhelming force 
that we were obliged to fall back. The second line, see- 
ing us coming back in such confusion, began to break, 
but the officers succeeded in preserving the line until 
a few volleys were fired, when it, and part of the third 
line, broke. The Artillery then commenced firing, 
and we rallied and immediately formed a new line. 
By this time most of the Rebels were out of the woods 
and rushing upon us pell-mell. Now it was our time 
to have something to say about it. * * '"^ * 
Our massed column pressed on and drove the fright- 
ened Rebels two miles through the woods. In the 
mean time they opened on our right and found more 
than they expected there. They charged upon a Bat- 
tery and took it, but to their sorrow, for our Infantry 



82 

opt'iiod u[H)n tlieiii siuli a tcrriCic cross lire that they 
IMI like urnss Ix'lovc the scvtho. and wliat was left fell 
baclv. It was now so dark that it was impossible to 
distiiiii'uish one side from the other and the fmhtint!; 
eased. '' ''' ''' If they had (ired a little lower 
while we were lying in tlie valley, they would have 
killed or wounded one half of our Brigade." Another 
ollicer. a Captain, says: "While lying down, as we 
were ordered to do, whole volleys from the Rebel ranks, 
which came upon us five lines deep, yelling furiously, 
passed over us, as their aim was too high, and we 
could hear the bullets strike the knoll in our rear." 

In Major General Franklin's letter, printed in the 
Appendix, he whites: "Colonel Benedict came to 
m}- Head-Quarters about 12 m., on the 9th, to obtain 
permission from General Emory and myself to change 
the position of his line ; indicating another, W' hich, in 
his opinion, wae stronger and safer. We agreed to 
the change and it was made." Some merits of the 
new position are developed by the preceding extracts ; 
but a further, obvious advantage may be seated : 
the whole of the woods in front, and the slope from 
them to the ditch at the bottom, were left free and 
clear to be shelled hy the Artillery, without the 
slightest peril to the Brigade lying in the bushes along 
the ditch ; which indeed might have added its own fire 
to that of the Artillery. The silence of this Arm at so 



83 



critical a moment appears remarkable in the absence 
of any explanation of the fact ; and it is not easy to 
resist the belief that a main advantage expected 
from the change of position was not realized. 

The theatre of this battle may be described as a 
large open field that had once been cnltivated, 
but was then overgrown with weeds and bushes, 
many of the latter the red rose of Louisiana. The 
moderately elevated centre of the field, from which 
the name Pleasant Hill comes, is merely a long 
mound or ridge, scarcely entitled to be called a hill, 
that, from its crown, descends gently to the ditch of 
which mention has been made. Beyond the ditch, 
an easy acclivity rises to a belt of timber which 
encloses it, semi-circularly, on the side toward Shreve- 
port, and out of which the attacking forces came. 
The ditch, with its fringe of shrubbery, while it 
afibrded some cover, presented little or no obstruction 
to the passage of troops. The front of the position, 
occupied by Colonel Benedict's Brigade, extended 
along this ditch. It was on the Pleasant Hill side of 
this shallow valley that the final and decisive fighting 
took place. On his way up, this locality had attracted 
the Colonel's attention, and he expressed a belief that 
tliere the Rebels would be fought; and when some 
dissent was expressed, it was afterwards remembered 
that he argued the probability almost with vehemence. 



84 

Wliethor this impression was merely the result of 
his military perci'ptiou of the fitness of the place, or 
one of those shadows said to be sometimes projected 
by coming events, it is not worth while now to 
consider ; but certain it is that he was doomed to 
illustrate in his own body the correctness of either 
his convictions or his apprehensions. 

In the conflict on the slope, and perhaps in the 
melee of that critical moment when the reinforced 
enemv caused our line to hesitate and even to recoil, 
and the fortune of the day seemed doubtful ; when, 
by almost superhuman efforts on the part of the 
officers, the men were rallied to that frantic charge 
which gave victory to the Union Arms and saved its 
Army, its Navy and its Jurisdiction in the Southwest, 
Colonel Benedict fell. 

This at least is the opinion of those, who, from 
having seen him alive just before and his dead body 
just after, are best c^ualified to judge, but unwearied 
diligence has failed to find an eye witness of his fall. 
Colonel Fessenden, of 30th Maine, his successor in 
command of the Brigade, says : " 1 recollect that, just 
as the enemy emerged from the woods, I looked round 
and saw the Colonel sitting on his horse, on the brow 
of the slope, by the side of his Brigade Color. He 
was in full view of the whole attacking line of the 
enemy. The Brigade fell back over that slope and I 



85 

did not see him afterwards, but understood that he 
fell, somewhat in front of, and near the place wdiere 
I last saw him." Lieutenant Colonel Blanchard, who 
commanded his regiment, 162ud, in the action, states : 
" I was engaged in rallying my men, when Colonel 
Benedict rode up to me and gave me the following 
order : " Colonel, rall}^ your men and advance as 
soon as possible," Avhich w^as quickly done. These 
Avere the last words I had from him, and it was the 
last time I saw him alive. He rode quickly to the 
left of the line, and I advanced with the regiment." 
Lieutenant Wm. C. Hawses, also of his own regiment, 
concurs in opinion as to the time of his fall, and says 
further: "Colonel Benedict was w^ounded in the 
rio-ht arm, and his horse W' as wounded also ; but he 
still pressed on, and in a few moments w^as shot 
through the head and died instantly." Captain Samuel 
Cowdrey, likewise of his own regiment, referring to 
the same time, says : " At this time I did not see the 
Colonel ; but from every account he w^as then killed, 
at the head of his Brigade, endeavoring to rally the 
men. I did not see him fall, but, soon after, I dis- 
covered him alone with an Orderly, his head resting 
against a stump, and the Brigade Flag a few feet from 
him ; and saw that he, whom we all had learned to 
love and respect, was no more. Li vain I tried to 

arouse him, hoping he might not yet be dead ; iDut, 

12 



86 

alas. \\c was uoiu". lie was killed instantaneously, 
several Knllets liaviniz piereed liiin."" In point of fact, 
lie had reeeived five balls; one through each arm, one 
throuiih the rijiht leg above the knee, one through the 
left loot, and one through the head. The general 
impression ^vas that he had fallen at the time and 
under the eireumstances indicated ; and this belief 
probably rested upon testimony that, to this hour, has 
eluded the search of his friends, 

A most discordant result followed this decisive 
victory. A retreat, scarcely less precipitate than 
might have been enforced by a complete rout, was 
imposed on the victorious army. In the judgment of 
those who had the right to decide such questions, the 
general condition of affairs rerjuired this to be done. 
It was only by the prompt activity of Captain Cowdrey, 
one of his officers, that his body was rescued from the 
field, conveyed to a building, for the time appropriated 
to the uses of a hospital, and delivered to the Surgeon in 
charge. The transportation of the Division not being 
at hand, General Cameron, of the 13th Corps, on the 
application of Lieutenant John H. Yan ^Yyck, of the 
deceased Colonel's Staff, kindly permitted it to be trans- 
ported on one of his wagons, though having urgent need 
himself of all the facilities of the kind he possessed for 
the purposes of the retreat. Lieutenant Van Wyck 



87 

was detailed to deliver it to the family of Colonel 
Benedict, which duty he discharged with equal tender- 
ness and fidelity. 

In anticipation of its arrival, the Common Council 
of Albany had appointed a Committee of its members 
to receive the remains in New York, convey them to 
the city, and order the arrangements for their inter- 
ment. In the discharge of this duty, the Committee 
returned with the body on Saturday, April 30th; and 
in deference to the wishes of his family, laid it in 
sorrow in his desolate home, rather than in state at 
the Capitol, as had been designed. 

Its presence in that house dead, where his advent, 
living, had been so long hoped and prayed for, raised 
still higher the floodgates of anguish opened by the 
intelligence of his death. Some official expressions 
of the sympathy felt by the community in the grief 
of his family are recorded in the Appendix. 

On Monda}?^ the 2nd of May, 1864, his shattered 
bod}^, followed by sad hearts and weeping eyes, was 
removed from the dwelling of his mother lo the house 
of the Lord; whence, after appropriate religious ser- 
vices and an elocpient Commemorative Address, with 
becoming civic and military honors and many im- 
pTom]}tu manifestations of private regard and pul^lic 
respect, it was borne on its last earthly pilgrimage to 
the Al1)any Cemetery, And there, he was laid, for- 



88 

ever to rest, witliin the .shadow ol" his Ihtlier's 
iiioiuuiieiit; ixromul him. '' lii.s martial clonk" covered 
^^ itli the dust of battle, rent by bullets and stiflened 
with his blood. 



LINES 



ON THE 



DEATH OF COLONEL LEWIS BENEDICT. 



BY ALFRED B. STREET. 



We laid him in his last and patriot rest ; 

Dark Death but couched him on Fame's living breast. 

We twine the sorrowing cypress o'er his grave, 

And let the star-bright banner loftier wave 

At mention of his deeds ! In manhood's prime, 

Blossom the pinions waved by smiling Time. 

He left life's warbling bowers for duty's path, 

Where the fierce war-storm flashed its reddest wrath ; 

Path proud, though rough. Out rang the trumpet's blast : 

" To arms, to arms ! down to the dust is cast 

The flag, the dear old flag, by treason's hand ! " 

And the deep thundering sound rolled onward through the land. 



In the quick throngs of fiery life that rushed 

To smite for native land, till wrong was crushed 

And right stood planted firm upon its rock, 

None rose more glad, none bore the battle shock 

More brave; at blood-stained Williamsburg he drew 

First his good sword; his- eagle daring flew 

Into the storm so deep, it wrapt him round; 

But, scorning still to yield, he strove, till bound 

Fast^by the grasp of the admiring foe. 

Struggling, though in the toil, still striking blow on blow. 



90 



rent in dose prison walls lonj:. lontr Mack liours, 

Yet the strong, skyward-pinioned spirit cowers 

To naught ; that steel-nerved will the loftier towers, 

Treading the painful thorns like pleasant flowers. 

Free once again. War's trumpet-clangors ring 

The warrior to the birthplace of the Spring, 

Where the stern Mississippi sea-like sweeps 

To summer flowers, pine cones of wintry steeps. 

Into Death's eyes -again he fixed his gaze; 

Lo, where Port Hudson's deadly batteries blaze, 

Whose that tall form that towers when all lie low, 

Brow to the sun and bosom to the foe ? 

Brow to the sun, his brave sword in his hand, 

Pointing "There up and onward, patriot band!" 

Again I red batteries hurling awful hail 

Like the fierce sleet that loads the thundering gale. 

Ranks crushed beneatb showered shot and shell, like grain 

By that same sleet, across the heaped-up plain 

Full in the fort's hot, gaping hell, he leads 

His stormers : Slaughter drives his flashing; steeds, 

Trampling broad lanes amid the serried might, 

But on, bathed deep in battle's awful light, 

On that tall form, with lightnings all around; 

Firm his proud step along the streaming ground, 

Quaking with cannon-thunders; up his tread 

Up to the parapet, above his head 

The starry flag borne by a hand that falls 

Death-struck ; he grasps the flag the rebel walls 

See the waved stars in that strong clutch, till back 

The ebbing conflict drajrs him in its track. 



Once more in other scenes he meets the foe. 
O'ermatched, our columns stagger to their blow; 
Yain on their squares bold Emory's files ai*e hurled; 
Backward the dashing cataract is whirled, 



91 

Splintered to spray ; Oli. banner of the skies, 

Flag of tlie rising constellations dyes 

Of dawn not sunset shalt thou trail in dust? 

Shall blind, dead darkness hide our blazing trust ! 

On, braves I but no they pause they reel they break! 

Now like some towering crag no storm can shake 

Like some tall pine that soars when all the wood 

Bows to the winds some rock amid the flood 

Our hero stands; he forms each tottering square. 

Through them the blazing thunderbolts may tear, 

But vain; the bulwark stands, a living wall, 

Between the foeman and that banner's fall. 



Then, the dread last oh, woful, woful day ! 

Ah, the dinamed glory of that trophied frtiy ! 

Ah, the fell shadow of that triumph's ray I 

Hurling the foeman's might back, back, at last 

Onward he sweeps on, on, as sweeps the blast ! 

On through the keen, red, hissing air ah, wo, 

That ruthless fate should deal such cruel blow ! 

On, through the keen, red, hurtling air but see 

^hat form it reels it sinks 1 that heart, so free 

To dare the battle-tempest's direst might. 

Winged with the quick, fierce lightning of the fight, 

x\nd soarir^g through the victory's gladdening light, 

Up to untroubled realms, hath passed in instant flight ! 

Death, where he fell, in roses red iuurned'- 

His form war's hue and love's and they were turned 

To laurels at the touch, and one green twine 

From them the laud hath wrought to deck the hero's shrine. 

He fell in conflict's fiercest, wildest flame ; 
And now his loved and laurelled ashes claim 
Our heartfelt sorrow ! for among the brave, 



1 Colonel Benedict fell literally on a bed of crimson roses the wild Louisiana rose. 



'.>::! 



None liravor ; ;iinl wlu'ii liattle loi't his 0}e, 

xSouc softer ! liot tlio stricken Nation sigh 

For siifh as lio who ju'iish by (lio way, 

Whik> up oil c-riiuson I'rct ^he toils to greet the day. 



Ah. tlie briglit liuur he came, though weak and low 
With prison languors ! Cheerily on were borne 
The merry clang of the bells; clang, clang, they rang! 
Joy in our hearts in jocund music sprang ! 
And all shone pleasureful. One long, long toll, 
One long, deep lingering sound that tells the goal 
Of some spent life, then moans along the air 
As sorrowing hands our hero's ashes bear 
To lie in honored state. AA'^e saw his form 
Sprinkled with blossoms breathing fresh and warm; 
That form so still, so peaceful to our gaze, 
That soared so grand amid the battle's blaze. 
Scorning the shrieking shell, the whizzing ball, 
Sleeping so still beneath his warrior-pall. 



We bore him to his sylvan home; there flowers 

Should o'er him smile ; but chief, the oak, that towers 

Unbent by blasts, and breaks but to the dart 

Of the red bolt, from that heroic heart 

Should spring ; for, mid his kindly graces soared 

A firm-knit will a purpose strong, that warred 

In deep disdain of Fortune's fitful breath, 

And only bowed its rock-clutched strength to Death. 

There shall he lie. When our new kindled sun 

Shall dawn, his first rejoicing rays shall run 

In gold o'er gi-aves like his Fame's gold that Time 

Shall brighten and his monument sublime. 

Oh seek it not in stone, but in piled hearts 

That loved him I the carved marble soon departs. 



93 



But the heart's token, sent through ages down, 

Warm in its living might, mocks Time's most withering frown. 



Blessed is he who suffers ; ^ and we know 
A solemn joy, that one whose manhood's glow 
Faded so soon, should die to mark how grand 
Above all fleeting life, to die for Native Land. 



1 Benedictus qui patitur. Motto of the Benedict Family. 



13 



APPENDIX 



EXPRESSIONS OF THE PUBLIC PRESS. 



\_Neiv Orleans Era.'\ 

Remains of Colonel Benedict. 

The corpse of the brave Colonel Benedict is now in 
this city. Of the vast number of officers and men that fell 
in this terrible conflict, none will be more gratefully remem- 
bered by his country. He died like a hero at his post, 
while gallantly leading his Brigade against the enemy. 



[Buffalo Uxpress.'] 

Colonel Lewis Benedict, 162d jST. Y. 

In the list of the killed at the late battle on the Red 
River is the name of Lewis Benedict, a man widely known 
and well loved throughout this State the second son of 
the late Lewis Benedict, Esq., of Albany. Colonel Bene- 
dict entered the army at the outbreak of the Rebellion, as 
Lieut. Col. in Sickles' Brigade. AVliile leading his raw 
regiment, sword in hand, into its first fight at Williams- 
burg, he was taken prisoner, and underwent a long 
confinement in the horrible Libby Prison. After his 
liberation, he was appointed Colonel of the 162d i^. Y. 



00 

A'ols., iiiul lias siiu'i' scTNX'd in J.ouisiana. Tlio deatli of 
tliis ainia1)li\ taU'iitod, Itravo man and patriotic soldier, 
Avill carrv i^rict" into an cxtonsivo taniilv circle, of wliicli 
lie was the idol. Xo better or bra\ er man lias laid down 
Ins life for his country than the Albany boy, "Lew. 
Benedict." Peace to his ashes ! He met the death he 
most coveted fell lighting for freedom. Let the patriotic 
men of his native city rear a fitting monument to the 
memory of one of its most chivalric sons. 



\_Nexo York 7V/6e.] 

Colonel Benedict, 

Among the good and true men whose lives have been 
freely given to save their country from disruption and 
overthrow, scarcelj- one has been or will be more justly or 
deeply deplored than Col. Lewis Benedict of Albany, 
who fell pierced with five bullets and lifeless while com- 
manding and leadins: the left wino* of the Union armv at 
the battle of Pleasant Hill, L^pper Louisiana, on the 9th 
inst. Col. Benedict was the son of the eminent merchant 
of like name recentlv deceased, after an active and influ- 
ential career of half a centuiy. His son, who inherited 
much of the father's eminent ability and positive, down- 
right character, volunteered for the War soon after the 
Rebels fired on Fort Sumter aiding to recruit and disci- 
pline the Sickles Brigade and has ever since been in 
active service. He was wounded and taken prisoner in 
the "hottest forefront of the battle " at Williamsburg, two 
years ago. Transferred to the Gulf, he there evinced 
talent and energy that commended him to the favor of his 
Commanding General, so that, though ranking as a Colo- 
nel, he commanded a brigade when he met death in the 



97 

desperate but glorious battle of Pleasant Hill. It -will 
somewhat console Ms many devoted friends to know that 
he did not fall till the sunlight of victory was gleaming on 
our charging columns, so that his last look of earth turned 
with pride as well as affection to the flag and the land for 
which, in his early prime, he joyfully laid down his life. 



[_N'ew York Commercial Advertiser.'] 

OBITUARY. 

Col. Lewis Benedict, 162d ISTew York Volunteers. 

The advices from I^ew Orleans give a partial list of the 
killed and wounded in the battles in Western Louisiana. 
Among the best known names is that of Col. Lewis 
Benedict, of the 162d j^ew York Volunteers. 

CoL. Benedict, who was a son of the late Lewis Benedict, 
of Albany, was born in 1817. He graduated at Williams 
College, and practised law in Albany. In 1861 he was a 
member of the Legislature, and in the Summer of that 
year entered the army as Lieut. Col. of the Fire Zouaves. 
At the battle of Williamsburg he was distinguished for 
bravery, and was taken prisoner. He entered that battle 
almost helpless from a sprained ankle, and leaning on the 
arm of an Orderly. A confinement of three months fol- 
lowed in the prison-house of Richmond and Salisbury, 
when he was finally exchanged, and was one of the officers 
that received an ovation in ISTew York with Col. Corcoran. 

In the Fall of 1862, Col. Benedict was appointed to the 
command of the 162d IsTew York A^'olunteers, which went 
out with the Banks Expedition. In the battles of the 
Department of the Gulf Col. Benedict has been conspi- 
cuous, and he has always borne the reputation of a brave 



soldier and ;iii lU't-'oiniilishcd ollicer. On tlie 14th of June 
last, he comniandod a rn-iii-adc whieli made an attack on 
Port Uudson. Ai tlu- storming of Tort Hudson, he and 
Col. Birge were designated as leaders of the Forlorn Hope. 
For some time past he has commanded the 3d Brigade of 
the 1st DiN-ision of the 19th Army C(3rps. In every 
capacit}' Col. Benedict has nobly acquitted himself, fully 
securing the tardy recognition of merit that, in many other 
instances, was all too swift to fall upon the undeserving. 
The country which mourns the loss of so many precious 
lives has need of such soldiers as Col. Benedict. 



^Albany Evening Journal.'] 

Death of Col. Lewis Benedict, 

The reported death of Col. Lewis Benedict is confirmed 
by letters froni. Grand Ecore, near the scene of the engage- 
ment. He was pierced by five balls, and instantly killed, 
while gallantly leading his Brigade in the final charge, 
!N^o braver man ever lived, and he died, as he wished to 
die, fighting for the Old Flag, with his face to the foe. 

Lewis Benedict was born in Albany, Sept, 2d, 1817, 
He graduated at Williams College, and studied law, in 
Canandaigua, with John C, Spencer. After his admission 
to the bar, he became a partner of Marcus T, Reynolds, in 
this city. He was Judge Advocate General in the Stafi' of 
Govs, Young and Fish; was subsequently elected to the 
oflice of Surrogate of the Count}^, and also to the Assembly 
of the State, 

When the War first broke out, he was still engaged in 
the practice of the Law, but, determining to give his service 
to his countiw, in .June, 1861, he was commissioned as 
Lieut, Col. of the 73d Regt., Excelsior Brigade, with which 



99 

regiment he went into the Peninsular campaign, shared its 
earher hardships and fought bravely at Williamsburg, 
where he was captured. He was taken to Eichmond, 
where, and at Salisbury, N". C, he was the companion of 
Cols. Corcoran, Wilcox, &c. 

After an imprisonment of several months, he was ex- 
changed, and, in September, 1862 (one month after his 
exchange), he was commissioned Colonel of the 162d (3d 
Metropolitan) Regiment. 

In October the Regiment proceeded to l!^ew Orleans, but, 
owing to various mishaps to the fleet, it did not reach the 
city until in December. 

In January, 1863, he was designated Acting Brigadier, 
and, in that capacity, was actively employed, rendering 
important service previous to the siege of Port Hudson, 
where he was conspicuous in most of the terrible fights 
during that memorable siege. He was foremost in the 
fearful slaughter of June 14, and when it was decided to 
storm the fort. Col. Benedict was given command of the 
2d Battalion selected to serve as the " Forlorn Hope." 
This selection was a tribute to his coolness and courage, 
and marked the estimation in which he was held by the 
General in command. 

From that time forward, he has followed Gen. Banks 
through all his marches and victories. His last command, 
the 3d Brigade of the 1st Division and 19th Corps, was 
composed of the 116th, 162d, and 165th iST. Y., two Maine 
Regiments, and an Independent Battery. Ko brigade 
fought more courageously, or did more to turn the tide of 
battle. Wlien its commander fell, the country lost one of 
its noblest soldiers, and the Brigade an ofificer whom they 
were proud to follow. 

Col. Benedict was a man of noble and o-enerous im- 
pulses. He loved his country with an intensity which 
forbade hesitation or compromise when its integrity or 






loo 

fi^lorv was involved. And ho was as brave as lio was 
patriotic. No man ever prt)lal)l_\ knew less of the sensa- 
tion of fear. Those who liave been with liini on tlie liehl, 
speak of bis bravery witli enthusiasm, and refer to bis 
cabnness in tlie lieat of battle with admiration. He had, 
in the highest degree,- all the elements of a hero, combined 
with the still greater qualities of a cool, safe and thoughtful 
leader in the deadly strife. 

The death of Col. Benedict is a sad blow to his sorrow- 
ing relatives, and tlieir grief will be shared by all who 
knew the deceased. But they have this consolation, that 
he died in the hour of Victory, at the head of his brave 
Brigade, while pursuing the retreating enemy. His name 
will go down to posterity among those who have given 
their lives to their Country, and his memory will ever be 
fragrant with those who appreciate true courage and 
exalted patriotism. 

Death of Col. Lewis Benedict. 

The rumor of Saturday, which pierced so many hearts, 
finds painful confirmation in to-day's intelligence. Col. 
Lewis Benedict, acting as Brigadier General, fell at the 
head of his Troops in the disastrous Battle of Pleasant 
Hill. 

This blow falls heavily upon a bereaved Mother, Bro- 
thers and Sisters, and grieves a large circle of warmly 
attached Friends. Col. Benedict, second son of the late 
Lewis Benedict, was " native," and to this " Manor born." 
Patriotic and chivalrous, in sentiment and impulses, when 
the Rebellion broke out, he tendered his services and as 
the sequel proves his life to his Country. In the early 
part of the War he was a Prisoner for several months in 
North Carolina. 

Soon after his exchange he was promoted to the com- 



101 

mand of the 162cl Regiment, with which he has done duty 
for a year in Louisiana. He was engaged in the assault 
upon Port Hudson, where his Regiment suffered severely. 
And now, having " fought his last battle," he has gone, 
where so many gallant Albanians have preceded him, to 
his final Review, 



\_A(las and Arffus-I 

Death of Col. Lewis Benedict. 

We forebore to speak of the death of Col. Benedict 
while the event was in doubt. An officer of the same name 
was in ser^dce in the West, and this had before been the 
source of some confusion. The sad event is confirmed, 
however, by details too clear to afford hope of mistake. 
The account of the third day's fight, on the Red River, says : 

" Our left, CoL. Benedict's Brigade, came into action 
first, and soon after our right and centre were engaged. 
The battle now raged fiercely, the air was full of lead and 
iron, and the roar of musketry and artillery incessant. 
The carnage on both sides was fearful, the men fighting 
almost hand to hand, and with great desperation. iSTothing 
could exceed- the determined bravery of our troops ; but 
it was evident Emory's Division was fighting the whole 
Army. Pressed at all points by overwhelming numbers, 
our hue fell back up the hill to the 16th Corps, which was 
concealed just behind the crest. 

" Taylor's Battery for a time fell into the hands of the 
enemy. 

" Gen. Smith made all preparations to receive the advanc- 
ing foe, and, as the human tide came rolling up the hill, he 
looked quietly on until the enemy were almost up to the 

14 



102 

muzzle of his gnus, when a sheet of flame flashed along 
liis lines, and, with the crash of \vn thousand thunders, 
musket halls mingled with grape and canister swept the 
plain liki' a besom of destruction. Hundreds fell dead 
and dvinjx before that awful fire. 

" Scarcely had the seethins; lead left the guns when the 
word " charge " was given, and seven thousand brave men 
precipitated themselves upon the shattered ranks of the 
enemy. Emory's Division, which had only pelded to 
superior numbers and remained unbroken, now rushed 
forward and joined the 16th Corps, driving the rebels 
rapidly down the hill to the woods, where they broke and 
fled in the greatest confusion and dismay, 

" Col. Benedict, ichile gallantly leading his brigade in the 
charge, fell dead, jnerced by jive balls. 

" The battle was fought and the victory won. Our trooj)s 
followed up the rebels until night put an end to the pursuit." 

The account goes on to say that " our victorious army 
slept on the battle field, which was one of the most glorious 
of the war." 

Among those who thus slept never more to wake was 
Col. Lewis Bexedict, commandino^ 3d Brigade, 1st Divi- 
sion, 19th Corps. He was acting as Brigadier General, and 
his name was before the Senate for promotion to that grade. 

Col. Benedict had, while quite young, been Surrogate 
of Albany county, which he had also represented in the 
Assembly. He was a successful lawyer, and might have 
found, in ci\'il and political life, ample opportunities of 
advancement. He had identified himself with the militia 
of the State in the Burgesses Corps, and the Albany 
Cavalry, which latter he first organized and when the 
civil war broke out, his inclination as well as his sense of 
duty and the fervor of his political sentiments called him 
into the seiwice. He was eminently suited to this career. 
A fine person, a vigorous frame, the habit of command, a 



103 

gallant demeanor, and honorable ambition, formed the 
elements of Ms success and advancement. 

Once in, he never turned back. The death of his father 
left him an adequate fortune, but he cast it aside to pursue 
the fortunes of war. He was wounded, was for six months 
a prisoner, suffering severe privations and dangers even 
then, and was struck down with malaria and all but 
wrecked in health ; but none of these things daunted his 
spirit. He might have sought and found inglorious ease 
in civil life, or in some semi-mihtary appointment remote 
fi^om danger. He preferred a soldier's grave ! 

Upon that grave, when he is gathered among his kins- 
men and fellow citizens, many a tear will be shed, and 
many a flower will be cast by hands that once clasped 
his in youthful friendship or in the glow of generous 
manhood. 



l^Albani/ Morning Express.'\ 

Col. Lewis Benedict Reported Killed. 

Our citizens were startled Saturday afternoon at the 
announcement that Col. Lewis Benedict, of this city, was 
killed in one of the recent battles in the Red River country. 
Col. B. was in command of the 3d Brigade, 1st Division 
19th Army Corps, and in the terrible and decisive battle of 
Pleasant Hill, when the Rebels were so signally defeated 
with frightful slaughter, held the left of the line. Accord- 
ing to the accounts received, his Brigade first engaged the 
enemy, and, although no particulars of his death have been 
received, it is probable he met a soldier's fate early in the 
fight. 

Col. Benedict, Gen. Sickles says, was as brave a soldier 
as there was in the Army. Where danger was the most 



iU4 

imininont there coulil he he I'ouml ill the moment oi" peril, 
cheerina: his men to the performance of their duty, and by 
his own intrepidity and fearlessness setting an example 
of devotion to country and patriotism, that his men felt 
proud to emulate. lie was beloved and respected by 
officers and men alike, and tliere will be no more sincere 
mourners in the circle of his home acquaintances than can 
be found in the ranks of the Brigade over which he acted 
as Commandant, 

Col. Benedict was a lawyer by profession, and aban- 
doned it to enter the Army, accepting the Lt. Colonelcy of 
the 73d Regt. jS". Y. S. Y., Excelsior Brigade. He served 
one term as Surrogate of the County, and represented the 
Second District of the Countj^ in the Legislature of 1861. 
After being admitted as a lawyer he became jmiior partner 
of the then well-known firm of Reynolds & AVoodrufi' 
Marcus T. Reynolds and Samuel M. AYoodruif taking 
the entire charge of the office or j^ractice business. It was 
at this time that the writer commenced the study of the 
law, acting as clerk to the late Col. B., and being asso- 
ciated ^^^th him several years. He w^as, formerly, a promi- 
nent T\Tiig politician, and of late years, was a member of 
the Republican party. He was, for many years, one of the 
most active members of the old Burgesses Corps, and was 
one of the founders of the Citv Cavalrv, an oro;anizatiou, 
at one time, second to no other of the kind in the State. 
He was perfectly conversant with military tactics when he 
entered the army, and soon became distinguished in the 
brigade as one of its most competent officers. 

The news of his death, of wdiich we regret to say we 
fear there can be slight doubt, will be received with sorrow 
and sadness by his very many friends in this cit)- not only, 
but in different sections of the State. He was a man of 
e:enerous impulses and fine mental acquirements. He was 
a warm friend, and in his deahngs with his fellows, was 



105 

ever the gentleman. By Ms deatli tlie country lias lost a 
gallant officer. Rest to liis spirit. 



\_Alhan)j Knickerbocker .'\ 

Death of Col. Lew Benedict. 

The telegraph, on Saturday, brought the sad intelligence 
that Col. Lew Benedict, of this city, was among the slain 
at the battle in Western Louisiana. It was sorrow^ful news 
indeed. But few men were better known in Albany than 
CoL. Benedict. It was the home of his birth, his boyhood 
and riper years. ~Eo man was more loved, esteemed and 
respected than our departed friend. He was frank, noble, 
generous attributes that attached to him many warm and 
devoted friends who will mourn his loss. Col. Benedict 
was a thoroughly educated and accomplished gentleman. 
He graduated at Williams College, studied Law in this city 
with Marcus T. Reynolds, held the offices of City Attorney, 
Surrogate and Member of Assembly, and was honored 
with the nomination of Recorder and many other places by 
his party. He was among the first on the breaking out of 
the Rebellion to offer his services to the Government. In 
the campaign on the Peninsula, at the terrible slaughter at 
Williamsburg, Col. Benedict was made prisoner, and for 
nearly a year was confined in the Libby Prison. Xo sooner 
was he paroled and exchanged than he again entered the ser- 
vice, and has been one of Gen. Banks' most true and tried 
officers in the campaign in Louisiana. He took an active 
part in the reduction of Port Hudson ; twice he led his 
Brigade up to " the jaws of death." The men under him 
believed that he " bore a charmed life " and could not be 
struck with rebel missiles, so bold, daring and reckless was 
he in the hour of danger. The Army had few braver men 
than Col. Lew Benedict. 



100 

\^Standard and Statesman.'] 

Death or Col. Lew Benedict. 

It is with heartfelt sorrow that we announce the death 
of Col. Lew Benedict. He was killed on the Red River 
while o-allantly fiirhtino^in defence of the Old Flas;. Colo- 
NEL Benedict was one of the most popular young men ever 
born in this city. He was a man of large talent, large 
heart and generous sentiment. He has held the office of 
member of Assembly, Surrogate, Alderman, &c. He 
made a splendid officer cool, daring and effective. The 
service could not have sustained a more serious loss. 



[TVmfs and Courier.] 

Death of Col. Lewis Benedict. 

Among the victims of the recent battles on the Red 
River, we are grieved to find the name of our well-known 
townsman. Col. Lewis Benedict, of the 162d Xew York. 
CoL. Benedict entered the service shortly after the break- 
ing out of the "War, and, with the exception of a brief 
furlough to recruit his shattered health after his long 
imprisonment at Salisbury, was constantly engaged in 
active duty up to the time of his death. Shortly after his 
release from imprisonment, he went to New Orleans with 
the Banks expedition, and participated in all the hardships, 
perils and glories of the army of the Southwest. He leaves 
a ^^'ide circle of sorrowing friends by whom his memory 
will be preserved for his pati'iotism, his bravery, his suffer- 
ing, and his final death in the cause of his country. 



107 



PROCEEDINGS IN REGARD TO THE 

FUNERAL. 



Common Council. 

Monday, April, 25, 8, p.m. 

Present Aids. Amsdell, Barliydt, Corning, Cowell, 
Gould, Johnson, Kennedy, McCarty, McCollum, Mclntyre, 
Mulcaliy, Nolan, Orr, Quinn, Reynolds, Rodgers, Sill, 
Tracey, Wilson. In tlie absence of tlie Mayor and Re- 
corder Alderman Johnson was chosen to preside. 

Alderman Rods-ers offered the following Resolution : 

JResolved, That his Honor the Mayor appoint a committee 
of three for the purpose of making and perfecting all 
arrangements necessary to pay due honors and respect to 
the remains of Colonel Lewis Benedict (who fell in lead- 
ing his Brigade in the late battle of Red River) on their 
arrival in Albany. 

Adopted. 

And Aids. Rodgers, Gould and Sill were appointed. 



Head-quarters Twenty-fifth Regiment 
N. Y. S. N. G. Albany, April 30, 1864. 



} 



General Orders, No. 5. 

The Colonel commanding is pained to announce to his 
command the death of another gallant officer, Col. Lewis 
Benedict, of the 162d New York Volunteers, who fell at 
the post of duty as Acting Brigadier General in the late 
disastrous battle on the Red River. 

Col, Benedict, formerh' a Captain in our Regiment, 
like our former Colonels, Frisby and Bryan, and scores of 



108 

other bravo officers, formerlv iiioinbors of the Twenty-fifth 
Regiment, has given liis life to his country and we are 
now called upon to pay to his remains the last tribute of 
respect due to a fellow-soldier. 

He was able, generous and l)rave as the bravest. In 
honor of Ids memory, the Regiment is hereby ordered to 
assemble at the Armory, on ^Monday, ^lay 2d, 1864, at 1 
o'clock, fully armed and equipped, to attend his Funeral 
and escort his remains to their last resting place. 

The Colonel most earnestly enjoins upon the Command- 
ants of Companies to use every eifort to appear with full 
ranks. It is due to the deceased as a 'chivalrous and gal- 
lant patriot and as our former associate. 

By order of CoL. "Walter S. Church. 

J. M. Kimball, Adjutant. 



ORDER OF ARRxVNGEMENTS 

Of the Funeral Ceremonies of the Late Col. Benedict, to 
take place this afternoon, May 2. 

ORDER OF PROCESSION. 

Police, under command of Chief Johnson. 

schrieber's band. 

25tli Regiment, National Guard, State of X. Y., Col. Church. 

HEARSE. 

Flanked by Company A, Capt. Pochin, as Guard of Honor. 

Relatives of deceased. 

Military Mourners Officers of 10th Regiment,iSr.Y.S.KG., 

and Officers of U. S. Volunteers. 

Governor and Staff. 

State Officers. 

Mayor and Common Council. 

BRIGADE BAXD. 

Fire Department, under Chief McQuade. 

Ci^'ic Societies. 

Citizens. 



109 

The 25tli Regiment will form on Chapel street, left rest- 
ing on Maiden Lane. 

Military mourners will form in Pine st., right on Chapel. 

The Fire Department vnW form on Pine street, left of 
military mourners. 

The Civic Societies will report to the Grand Marshal, at 
1 o'clock, p. M. 

The Procession will move precisely at 2 p. m., from the 
Second Presbyterian Church, down Chapel to State street, 
down State to jS'orth Pearl, up Korth Pearl to Clinton Ave- 
nue, thence to Broadway, up Broadway to the north bounds 
of the city, where carriages and cars will be in waiting. 
By order of Col. "Walter S. Church, 

Grand Marshal. 



Proceedings ix the Supreme Court. 

Albany General Term of the Supreme Court, May 2, 1864. 
Present, Hons. R. W. Peckham, Theodore Miller and 
Charles R. Ingalls, Justices. 

Judge Wright, of Albany, addressed the Court as follows : 

3Iay it please the Court I rise to make a motion in rela- 
tion to an event which has already been announced by the 
public journals, an event which has caused as deep a 
sensation of sorrow, and as profound a regret, as any 
other of a similar character which has affected this com- 
munity since the commencement of this unholy, and 
accursed Rebellion. 

This is not the first, nor the second time that the Bar of 

this City has been called on to manifest its respect for those 

who have gone forth to battle for their Country, and to 

sympathize with the friends of those who have fallen in its 

defense. 

15 



no 

Among tlio gallant and patriotic men of onr own circle 
who have fallen, none occupied a. higher position, none 
presented a stronger claim for our respect and admiration 
than Col. Lewis Benedict, whose funeral obsequies are 
this day to be solemnized by a sympathizing and grateful 
community. 

I knew the deceased as a student at Law. I knew him 
as a practitioner after his admission to the Bar ; and since 
the commencement of this war I have known him as a 
brave and gallant soldier, fighting for the preservation of 
that Constitution, and that Union, which we all so dearly 
cherish. In all these relations I have respected and 
honored him. But on this occasion, it is to the unselfish 
and patriotic sacrifice of his life to aid in the salvation 
of his country, that I especially refer. Upon these quali- 
ties I will not now dwell. I trust that another and more 
fitting opportunity will be afforded to the Albany Bar, to 
express their high appreciation of his character as a man, 
and their unqualified admiration of his gallant bearing, 
and chivalrous character as an officer. 

I beg leave to submit the following Resolution, and 

request that it be entered on the minutes of the Court : 

Resolved. That this Court do now adjourn, in order to give its 
members, and the members of the Bar in attendance thereon, an 
opportunity to unite in the funeral ceremonies of CoL. Lewis 
Benedict, who lately fell in the State of Louisiana, whilst gallantly 
leading the brigade he commanded to battle and to victory, to 
sustain the Constitution, and to preserve the LTnion. 

]Mr. Justice Peckham, the presiding Judge, after some 

impressive remarks, expressive of his high appreciation of 

the character of Col. Benedict, as a citizen and a soldier, 

stated that the Court concurred in the propriety of the 

resolution, and directed it to be entered on the minutes, 

and adjourned the Court accordingly. 



WOEDS SPOKEiT AT THE OBSEQUIES 



OF THE 



LATE COLONEL LEWIS BENEDICT. 



BY THE REV. C. D. W. BKIDGMAN. 



An unusual occasion has opened these doors, which turn 
to only sacred uses, and drawn us to this house of prayer. 
Flags waving so lowly from every staif the martial tramp 
of those who gather in the street below to a solemn and 
impressive ceremonial -^ this vast assembly, of aspect so 
grave and sad the group which set apart, fenced in by 
thoughts and griefs into which only the omniscient One can 
look the mournful strains of the choir, intermingled 
with the pathetic, beseeching, but submissive lament of the 
organ, as though itself felt an agony and at the same time 
an inspiration from the Comforter : all indicate that calamity 
has fallen here that an overwhelming sorrow has burst 
upon us, the waves of which ^an be rolled back only by 
Him whose presence so often is invoked in this holy place. 

A man has fallen whom most of you well knew : gifted 
and generous, honorable and brave an honored son of 
this ancient capital, whose family name is written high on 
the roll of her citizens a brother of ours, in whom the 
natural elements of manliness were mingled in due propor- 
tion, and who, through his maturing years, swept a wide 
circle of influence in this city and State a soldier worthy 
of his name, and the record of whose fidelity to duty, of 
sacrifices cheerfully endured for our common weal, is his 



11-^ 

coiniuniuliiig- c\:\\\\\ to he assoeintod with the accomphshed 
lieroes wlioni onv tild, iiiipi rial Stair has freely otlbred to 
tlu' liazards ot" tliis great struggle, and whose blood has 
been the price of her self-renouncing devotion. 

Of Lewis Bexedict, whose eniptj- tabernacle lies here 
before us emptied of all that gave it comeliness and made 
it dear let me speak in but few words : not in the style of 
impassioned panegyric, as when the Athenian father pro- 
nounced the oration over his son who liad fought valiantly in 
the battle, but with the brevity befitting one who forms 
his estimate only from the testimony of others, and ^vith 
the soberness which ever becomes us in the sanctuary of 
God and in the presence of death. 

Born in this city, of a pure and honored parentage, his 
youth was full of grace and duty, and expressed, in con- 
stant testimony, the rare devoteduess of his filial love. 
Earnest in his studies as he was zealous and enterprising in 
the amusements wdiich relieved his sober pursuits, he was 
soon prepared for a higher instruction than our city afforded, 
and, at an early age, w^as registered as a student in Wil- 
hams College. Shaping his course with care and energy, 
he was honorably graduated in the year 1837, and returned 
three years thereafter to deliver the Master's oration. 
Devoting himself to the profession of law, he entered upon 
its study in the ofiice of the late Mr. Spencer, with the same 
ardor of pursuit as when he seized the prizes in our 
Academy and earned the honors" in his collegiate career. 

Shortly afterward, he became associated with a gentle- 
man then in the zenitli of his professional fame and intel- 
lectual vigor, and was elevated at once to a position in the 
profession not attained, perhaps, as often as it is deserved. 
But, having risen to this height, and given such promise 
of a brilliant career, and being possessed of a sufficient 
inheritance, his former stimulus seems to have failed him ; 
and, where others regarded the profession as an agency for 



11 



o 



the accumulation of wealth or winning a wide^ enduring 
fame, lie looked upon it rather as a manual of intellectual 
exercise. Turning his thoughts, at this time, from subjects 
purely legal, he engaged himself in the study of those poli- 
tical questions which were then commanding the popular 
attention, and, by a diligent reading, fortified in him those 
principles his father had so faithfully adhered to and 
defended, and which have become the controlling princi- 
ples in our national policy. Though possessed of a highly 
cultivated taste, that was shocked by rude appeals with 
a mind enriched by a varied reading and observation, and by 
intercourse with refined society at home and abroad there 
was that social, generous nature underneath which toned 
away the scholar's dignity and gave such an easy grace to 
every accomplishment as that they interposed no barrier 
between himself and the humblest one he knew. Of such 
easy access, so cordial in his treatment of all, it is not strange 
that soon he should have been appealed to by his political 
friends to serve for their candidate, nor that from this time 
he should be met less often in the forum than in the arenas 
where public questions furnish the themes of debate, and 
political action becomes definitely determined. With a 
varied fortune, he continued the career thus opened to him, 
until the nation's hour of peril came ; and, when the alarm- 
trumpet was sounded, waking us all from our dull, strange 
apathy, it fell on his quick ear as an imperative summons 
that he could not shut out. 

Upon the adjournment of the Legislature of which he was 
then a member, he gave himself, with the devotion his later 
life so constantly illustrates, to the service of his country. 
The cause that then seemed to him as it now seems to 
all the cause of human liberty, engaged his earnest acti- 
vities ; and, to serve it intelligently and well, in the only way 
our enemies permitted, he strove, by a diligent study, to 
prepare himself for the duties of the position to which he 



was vAv\y roinmissioiiocl. 'I'lu' old stiiiiiiliis asi'aiii is felt 
his Ibnnor habits arc revived, W'ritinj;- to liis father, with 
rotereiu-e to this, ho says: " T liavc followed your advice 
about t*tudy, or rather I anticipated it, for since my deter- 
mination was formed to take an active pftrt in tlie Avar, I 
have felt that one assuming any command incurs a grave 
responsibility." 

N'ot from hasty impulse did he gird on the harness of 
the soldier not from a blind frenzy, or feverish ambition ; 
but as one who detected the deep meanings of this strug- 
gle, and whose soul was afire with love and duty, toward 
our Government and liberties. Cheerfully he threw his 
life into the struggle, without a scruple with the ancient, 
judging it sweet and decorous to die, if need be, for his 
country's safety. As an expression of the sentiment that 
ruled him, let me read to you an extract from a letter to 
his mother, written whilst the siege of Yorktown was in 
progress; " I am pained to learn that so much apprehen- 
sion for my safety is mingled with the gratification you feel 
at my being in a position to do service to my country. 
I know it is impossible for a mother to forget her son ; but 
I would, if I could, insjDire you with the pride I feel in 
devoting my life to the cause of Freedom and the Union. 
Thus far, though I have endeavored to do, as far as my 
frail nature would permit, my duty to man " and the 
truth of this, his carefulness for the interests of his men 
most constantly aifirms "I know I have not forgotten 
myself as I should in many instances have done ; but, in the 
struggle to be soon inaugurated here, the opportunity will 
be given me to furnish unmistakable evidence that I am 
animated by the noblest sentiments that I can resign life, 
which I love, that my country may again enjoy the bless- 
ings of peace and the development of its beneficent prin- 
ciples of government. Politically acting, I have sought its 
weal personally, my life belongs to it in its woe : so that 



115 

I view the result of the battle with complacency. If I 
survive as I hope I will no fortunes in future life can 
destroy my consciousness of having periled life for right ; 
and, if I fall, through all the grief which you and our dear 
ones will feel, will breathe the consolation that I was a 
soldier, fighting in a just cause. Let that feeling, dear 
mother, console you, as it reconciles me to the chances of 
this war." 

What patriot ever has penned nobler words than these ? 
Who among us has risen to a more illustrious height of 
patriotic devotion? Above the voices of home and 
congenial companionships he hears the awful trump of 
duty, and that is the incitement by which he marches 
the imperious summons to self-renunciation, and possibly 
to death. Shortly after those words were traced, he was 
taken a prisoner ; but returned from the enemy's hands 
only to give himself anew for the work to which he had 
given himself with so entire a consecration. Although 
greatly impaired in health, he accepts a new command, 
and leaves again for a more distant field, where he is 
called on to assume a larger responsibility than is strictly 
involved with his commission. But his intelligence and 
wisely-regulated zeal, and subsequent successes, attest 
that the honor was properly awarded, and attracts the fre- 
quent commendations of those above him in the command. 
In charge of the brigade to which he was assigned, he 
was engaged in that thus far unfortunate expedition, 
wherein so many have made their final sacrifice; and, 
while gallantly leading it against the enemy on the third 
day of that fierce struggle, he fell passing away in one 
swift pain another victim in this awful strife. 

So suddenly this light is quenched, and our glowing 
hopes transformed to sad remembrances ! So suddenly 
is the voice of mournino- wakened in the home where 
so recently it had been stilled, as the son goes from 



IIG 

mortal followsliip to rojoin the father, in the silent land. 
Ilis ouloijv niav not lie \vovcn from these simiiK', hurried 
words of mine, hut from these siii'nals of the ijeueral woer 
Ft is the silent homaii;e to liis worth of which this concourse 
is the devout expression it is the unhounded confidence 
and love of his companions in arms, and their pathetic 
testimony to his merits as a man and soldier it is the 
memories cherished in the grateful hearts of those who 
knew him best, of how tenderly he fulfilled the offices of 
sou and hrotlier, and with what generous action he 
responded ever to the calls of outward need and suffer- 
ing. On this bright spring day when nataire is speaking 
only of renewal, we mourn him as among our early dead. 
The l)attle was soon over with him the contest and 
assault the pain and the privation the weary marches 
and vigils of the night ; and, with these sprinkled flowers 
upon his breast, we bear him hence, from the cross to the 
sepulchre, and sufl:er it to fold him in forever from our 
mortal sight. Such as this are our sacrifices, beloved 
but they are our glories, too. Fidelity to our convictions 
and li^dng as we believe, at whatever cost of substance or 
existence, are the only glories we are equal to ; and he has 
but lowly views of the grand meanings of human life who 
weighs comfort or fortune or peace for a moment in the 
scale with honor and duty and the public weal. AVhat is 
your flesh and blood or mine in comparison with loyalty 
to principle? "Wliat is your life or mine compared with 
the integrity of a nation into which have been garnered 
the hopes of humanity, and which alone among the nations 
is the city of refuge from ancient tyranny ? But for more 
than for national integrity are these young lives, so full of 
glowing promises, laid down in sacrifice. If this were all, 
then Denmark may give the same emphasis to the calls 
upon her youth to-day as America to hers. But the Pro^n- 
dence that has controlled our movements and shaped our 



117 

policy by his superior intention, has made our cause 
identical with the cause of human freedom, and hound 
inclissolubly together the patriots' self-surrender and the 
philanthropists' self-sacrifice. Our love of liberty our 
loyalty to those rights which belong to every man, as an 
equal son and heir of the Infinite Father is now appealed 
to by every whirl of the conscription-wheel and in every 
exaction of the tax-list ; and until these liberties, so auda- 
ciously imperiled, are established beyond every hazard 
in the future and for evermore, we are enjoined by all the 
sufferings of those who, in dungeons and on scaftblds, paid 
the price of their devotion to the same cause by the 
memories of our heroic and sainted fathers by all the 
hopes we have derived from it for our children and child- 
ren's children to carry on this contest to a triumphant 
issue. And the grandeur of such a struggle a struggle 
reaching backward to Sidney's scaffold, and beyond, to 
where men felt the first faint inspirations of such a cause : 
for which Hampden died for which our fathers left their 
bloody impress on the snows of Valley Forge, and endured 
the privations which made our Revolutionary annals so 
glorious and inspiring for our study; the grandeur of such 
a struggle invests these frequent deaths with a meaning 
most sublime, and demands the enrolment of these humble 
names in the grand, historical obituary of those who have 
suffered for the dear cause of liberty in the ages of the past. 
In a coming day, when the clouds shall have been 
lifted, and present ignorance and prejudice no longer shall 
distort the popular vision, with what a lustre these names 
will shine on the historic roll, and how closely will they be 
pressed againt the nation's heart ! Already, what heraldry 
on palatial walls is more glorious than the uniforms torn 
by the bayonet and cut by the bullet, hung in all those 
homes where the dead soldier comes no more ? What 
words more eloquent, or preserving a prouder fact, than 

16 



lis 

those wliifli are ottcii rccitiMl above tliese swiftly-rising 
moumls in all our eenieteries : "lie fought and fell in tliis 
war for the Union and tor Freedom?" Oh I sleep, sleep, 
ye uiartvrs, in 3'our (piiet graves ! Our spirits have heen 
reinforced hy your sublime example ! By the fervor of 
vour love of freedom vou have kindled ours, and out of 
your graves shall spring a better harvest tlian sickles 
straisi'liteued into swords have ever cut for our humanitv ! 
We are not cast down by our defeats. We are not moved 
away from this great contest by a despau* as to its issue. 
The sacred standard will not be lowered, but be kept 
proudly aloft by those who are inspired by their hereditary 
trust and devoted to the common cause. Xathan Hale 
dies: but the cause was not thwarted. Warren dies: and 
it seems as though the bullet that blasts his life shatters 
the cause of the people ; but the cause does not slacken, 
though he is borne helpless from the field. It marches 
on if to new defeats, yet to grander successes ; and, onlj^ 
widened in its scope, lives here to-day, marshaling a 
nation's armies in its interest, and pressing forward to a 
triumphant issue. All the sacrifices in the past have only 
prepared us for sacrifices richer and ampler in the future. 
The hostile stroke recoils. The blood that has run red- 
dening from these veins, apparently to stop still and be 
clotted as a pool on the earth, will run back somehow and 
be reinfused into the people. As the tree dies, but in its 
very decay nourishes the roots of the new forest; as the 
silkworm dies, but his fine fabric does not perish ; as the 
wave .wasting along the strand, in its recession completes 
the fullness of the one succeeding; as the damp sprinkling 
at the mouth of the furnace kindles the fire it but super- 
ficially quenches to a hotter glow ; so no vital current at 
present flowing can be so mighty for our triumph as that 
which has been spent and spilt like water in these red 
furrows of our civil strife. 



119 

From our very sacrifices, tlierefore sacrifices ofiiered 
in these homes, of comfi)rts and of treasure ; sacrifices in 
the field, of our lovely and winning youth, our noble 
manhood, our brave leadership we prophecy success; 
against our very war-sky we trace out our ^-ision of hope. 

All the great landmarks of modern freedom Magna 
Charta, Reformation Protests, Declaration of Rights, De- 
claration of Independence have been sealed with blood. 
Philosophy and science have pined in dungeons and bled 
under the axe before putting on their immortal robes and 
ascending to thrones. Religion, in all its humbler forms, 
has " sweat great drops of blood, running down to the 
ground," and in its highest expression is crimsoned and 
warmed with the blood of the Son of God. The law is 
universal and inevitable that all things valuable are secured 
and consecrated by blood alone and so must we as a 
nation buy our redemption from our past iniquities and 
seize that richest possession equal and impartial freedom 
for the human brotherhood by these fierce pangs and this 
bloody sweat. And if the blood shed so generously by all 
our brave ones, whilst cementing anew the walls of our 
Republic shall wash away our national reproach ; if, when 
we sing in grandest concert our thanksgiving hynm over 
the return of peace, a captive people sings of Freedom as 
one, already, of them has been prepared to sing by him we 
mourn, will there not be a consolation flowing for us from 
that glorious result ? 

Before this cofiin, then, my hearers, in the very valley of 
this our sorrow, let us devote ourselves, with no outward 
ritual, but in the deep recesses of our hearts, to this our 
cause as it was his, the cause of " Freedom and the Union," 
with the solemn resolve of a perfect consecration. Then, 
as on the battle field, so here, the death of this brave 
soldier shall minister strength unto our souls, a fresh ardor 
and energy to all our exertions. May God direct His 



1 20 

i'rov'uk'iH'C to such an i;?siu', mid whilst inspiring us vouch- 
safe to those wlio more deeply mourn the abundant conso- 
hitions of His grace. May they he felt to-day by the 
mother who breathes her long and deep lament, by the 
sisters wbo sob their tender an2;uish, by the brothers Avho 
look sA'ith regretful memories on the " vacant chair," by 
all who weep and mourn for the beauty of our Israel slain 
upon the desolate places of battle. 



[From the City Press.] 

Funeral of Col. Bexedict. 

The funeral of the late Col. Lewis Bexedict took j)lace 
yesterday afternoon and created a deep sensation through- 
out the city, where the deceased, as boy and man, had been 
so well kno"uni and so generally beloved. The flags of the 
city were at half-mast during the day. At noon the bells 
began tolling and citizens to throng the streets, business 
for the time being generally suspended. 

At 1 p. M. the body, attended by the family and friends, 
was conveyed from the residence of the deceased to the 
2nd Presbyterian Church, where funeral services were per- 
formed. The crowd was great. Every inch of space availa- 
ble in the edifice was occupied, while hundi'eds were unable 
to obtain admittance. The Governor and Staflf, the Mayor 
and City Authorities and many fi'iends of the deceased from 
ditferent parts of the State, were present and participated in 
the solemn services of the hour. 

The Prayer, full of tenderness and touching pathos, was 
offered by the Eev. Dr. Sprague and was followed by an 
earnest and eloquent Address by Rev. C. D. W. Bridgman. 
He paid a glowing tiibute to the memory of the deceased, 



121 

spoke of Ms gallantry as a soldier and the large and honored 
place he held in the affections of this community. His 
allusion to his love for his mother, and the quotation from 
a letter written to her a short time before his death, deeply 
affected his hearers. Singing by the choir and a Benedic- 
tion by Rev. Dr. Pohlman closed the exercises in the church. 

The remains were then given in charge to the Military, 
carried from the church, and placed upon a catafalque 
drawn by four white horses. The coffin was covered with 
the American flag and upon it laid the sword, cap, &c., of 
the deceased, surrounded by a wreath of white flowers. 
The funeral cortege was imposing. Minute guns were fired 
during the movement of the procession, which passed down 
State and through Xorth Pearl streets, followed by a dense 
array of citizens. At the north bounds of the city the 
Bearers took carriages, and the Military and others the cars, 
for the Cemetery, where, after a most impressive reading 
of the sublime funeral service of his church, by Rev. Dr. 
Henry 1^. Pohlman, the body of the hero and patriot was 
entombed, the Military paying the tribute prescribed for 
such occasions. 

The 25th Regiment, under command of Col. Church, 
(whose arrangements were in excellent taste), was out with 
full ranks, a graceful testimonial of their admiration of 
the worth and services of the deceased soldier. 



riiOCEEDINGS 



ALBANY B A R 



On Saturday, the 7tli of ^lay, 1864, the members of the 
Albany Bar convened at the Capitol. 

The Hon. Rufus W, Peckham was appointed Chairman, 
and Messrs. "SVolford and Edwards, Secretaries of the 
meeting. 

Messrs. Johnson, Gansevoort, Parker, Cooper and Coch- 
rane, were appointed a committee on resolutions. The 
committee, through their chairman, Mr. Johnson, reported 
the following: 

Resnhcih That the members of the Bar of the city of Alban^^, 
have heard witli profound regret, of the death of Colonel Lewis 
Benedict, whilst gallantly leading the Brigade he comiiianded to 
battle and to victory. 

Rewlved, That while we are called upon to mourn the loss of so 
many of our professional brethren who have offered their lives as a 
sacrifice in the desperate struggle in which we are engaged for the 
preservation of our Constitution and our Liberties, and the perpe- 
tuity of our Union, we have great reason to be proud of the honor 
which their unselfish patriotism, their unwearied devotion, and their 
gallant bearing, have conferred upon us. 

Resolved, That while we duly honor, and will ever gratefully 
cherish the memory of each and every one of our professional 
brethren who have given their lives in their country's cause, and 
for their countr^^'s defense, none presents a stronger or a higher 
claim to our gratitude and respect than Colonel Lewis Benedict. 
While each one has bravely and nobly performed the duty assigned 
him, none has acquired a higher rank, or secured a higher reputa- 
tion for military capacity and gallant bearing, than he whose deeds 
we have met to honor, and whose memory we seek to perpetuate. 

Reaoh-ed. That we deeply sympathize with the relatives and 
A'iends of Colonel Benedict in their bereavement; and while we 



128 

ask to be permitted to mingle our regret, and our grief with theirs, 
we trust that they may find, as we certainly do, consohxtion in the 
reflection that he died as a brave and gallant soldier in the defense 
of a just and holy ca^ise. 

Resolved, That the Secretaries of this meeting transmit a copy 
of these Resolutions to the family of Colonel Benedict. 

The Hon. Lyman Tremain, moved tlie adoption of tlie 
resolutions, and spoke as follows : 

Mr. Chairman : I do not rise to pronomice an elaborate 
eulogium upon the life and character of our deceased friend 
and professional brother. But, having been well acquainted 
with Col. Benedict for many years, I should fail to do jus- 
tice to my own heart, if I omitted to say a few words on 
this melancholy occasion, in honor of his memory. 

The Bar has always maintained an honorable position in 
every great struggle for popular rights and human liberty. 
The general tendency of their pursuits and studies is 
towards a safe conservatism on the one hand, while on the 
other, the spirit of resistance to oppression and wrong 
for which their occupation so well prepares their minds 
and their intelligent capacity to appreciate, at an early 
period, the true nature of the pending contest, have com- 
bined to place the members of our profession in a command- 
ing and prominent position, wherever the old warfare 
between aristocracy and democracy has broken into a flame. 

In the English Hevolution and in all those fierce con- 
tests between the Commons and the Crown of England, 
which have resulted, in the main, so auspiciously for the 
cause of constitutional liberty, the lawyers of England 
have furnished many brilliant and noble examples. Every 
educated man will readily recall the names of great English 
lawyers which have become historic by reason of their 
identification with such struggles names that have been 
handed down to us by history and tradition names which 
grow brighter and purer as time rolls on names which 
have become memorable in the council, at the forum, on 
the field, and even upon the scaffold. 



121 

Tn tho Avar \'ov Amorican iiulcpciKlenee, tlie lawyers of 
Aiiioru-a rotlocte'd lustre upon tlieir profession. Wlicncvor 
our tlionglits are direeted to that great contest, we recall, 
instinctively, the names of John Adams, James Otis, 
Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Ham- 
ilton, lawyers, who exercised greater influence upon the 
colonies, than any equal num1)er of men, from any and 
all other occupations, and whose services will be gratefully 
remembered and cherished while American literature 
endures. 

The civil war in which we are now engaged furnishes 
no exception to the general rule. The lawyers need not 
be ashamed of their record. Albanv need not blush for 
her Bar. Our roll of honor is bright and glorious. To the 
honored names of Jackson, Hill, Strong and Benedict, the 
lawyers of Albany can point "with melancholy pride. In 
proportion to the number of onr little band, no other 
profession, occupation, or calling in our city, noble and 
loyal as we admit them to be, can furnish a better or a 
nobler list of patriot-martyrs. 

Col. Lewis Benedict was not an ordinary man. He 
was not induced to become an active participant in this 
war by fanaticism, or bigotry, or personal malevolence to 
any portion of his countrymen. On the contrary, he was 
a gentlemen of fine culture, general attainments, a high 
order of intelligence, and a man of the world. He had 
college friends, personal and political associates, to whom 
he was warmly attached, scattered all through the seced- 
ing states. His mind was entirely free from personal 
bitterness or a vindictive spirit, and his nature was wholly 
kind, genial and generous. 

He entered the field, however, from the noblest and 
most patriotic motives. He appreciated, at the commence- 
ment of hostilities, the true character of the contest. He 
understood that it was to be a fierce and bloodv war. He 



125 

knew that it was an issue no less grand and important, 
than to determine whether the Union and our free institu- 
tions shouki be perpetuated and preserved, or whether 
they should forever perish. 

He believed the struggle was between despotism on one 
side and a republican form of government on the other; 
between the masses, and the privileged few ; and he saw, 
in the defeat of the Union, the destruction of the funda- 
mental principles of a republic, and the ruins of the cause 
of free labor and popular sovereignty. 

He believed that the success of the rebellion would 
throw back the cause of civilization, and place in peril all 
that had hitherto been gained in the cause of freedom 
and humanity. With such ^uews, he drew his sword, and 
entered the service of his country. 

Receiving a commission, he made himself master of his 
official duties, and labored, with fidelity and success, to 
promote the welfare, safety and comfort of the soldiers 
who were placed under his command. The touching 
letter to his mother, an extract from which was read at 
his funeral, reveals his views on this point, in a light most 
honorable to himself, and well worthy of adoption by all 
other officers in the Army of the Union. 

He was taken prisoner while bravely fighting the enemy, 
and was confined for many months in the southern prisons. 
After being exchanged he returned to his home in this city, 
where he was met by crowds of his fellow citizens eager to 
give him a public reception, which was declined by him on 
account of his impaired health. 

He remained here a few weeks, an invalid, and on 
recovering his health, he was ofl:ered and accepted the 
command of a new regiment which had recently been 
raised in the city of ISTew York. His commission, as colo- 
nel, was well earned by him, and was tendered to him in 
recognition of his meritorious services in the field. 

17 



126 

Ifo part'u'iitatod in tlio siou'O oi" I'ort IIiulsoii. I lioanl 
an oflioor who saw him on tlial occasion, speak in terms 
of tlie warmest admiration of Benedict's bravery in 
marching, pursuant to orders, at the head of his Brigade, 
across the plain up to the enemy's battery, in full range 
of his guns, and while men were falling all around him. 

lie had the satisfaction of seeing that proud fortress, 
with its vast military stores and brave defenders yield to 
our victorious arms. 

In the recent disastrous battles in Louisiana, Col. 
Benedict, on the third day of the fight, while victory was 
perching upon our banner, fell with his face to the foe at 
the head of his brigade, pierced by several bullets, showing 
that he was at the post of danger, and in the performance 
of his duty. 

Col. Benedict seemed at Port Hudson to possess a 
charmed life, but at last " the silver cord was loosed, and 
the golden bowl was broken." The citizen soldier has 
" fouo-ht his last battle." His remains have been brought 
back to the city of his nativity and his affection. The 
funeral oration has been pronounced ; the honored coffin 
ha* been placed in the tomb ; the solemn strains of martial 
music have ceased ; the crowds of mourning citizens have 
returned from the funeral ceremonies, and he, than whom 
a braver officer never drew the sword, sleeps well in his 
new made grave. 

By the death of Lewis Benedict, our city has lost an 
active and influential citizen, our profession a talented 
and respected member, and our army and the country a 
useful and valuable officer. 

We sympathize deeply with the mourning relatives and 
friends, and especially with the mother who has been 
bereaved of her son. But, it is allotted to all men to die, 
and what nobler death can there be than that of Lewis 
Benedict ? 



127 

He proved Ms sincerity by tlie highest tests, and sealed 
with his hfe-blood, his devotion to his country. Prompted 
by the noblest ambition, he left his father's house for the 
field of dano'er and of death. Had he remained an inac- 
tive spectator of the distant struggle, his years might, 
perhaps, have been prolonged for an indefinite period, but 
what comparison then and now in his closing career and 
his final death? What real friend of Benedict would 
reverse, if he could, the decrees of an all-wise Providence, 
or desire that he should exchange a few years of unevent- 
ful sloth, for a death met in the discharge of duty, while 
bravely defending his country against its enemies? 

Shall the sacrifices like that we this day lament, be made 
in vain? We are on the eve of mighty events. The 
country is trembling with hopes and fears. Great armiee 
are menacing each other on the soil of Virginia. Eivers 
of blood may yet flow, and thousands of noble lives be 
sacrificed in the approaching collision, upon the altar of 
our beloved country. Shall all these precious offerings 
prove unavailing ? Forbid, it Heaven! 'No, it cannot, 
must not, shall not be ! The cause of iiumanity must 
not roll backward. An enlightened American civilization 
shall not succumb to an effete and antiquated barbarism. 

The closing struggle will be terrific, and the destruction 
of property and life awful. But, in the language of an 
orator of our revolution, " I see, or think I see, clearly 
the end of this day's business." 

In our vast resources, in the strength and intrinsic jus- 
tice of our cause, we occupy a position of immense supe- 
riority over our enemies. A rebellion, the elements 
composing which consist of all human crimes, cannot 
succeed in this age against the American people, with a 
just God upon the throne. Sooner or later the authority 
of this Union will, I doubt not, be restored. "When peace 
shall again return with unnumbered blessings, then will 



128 

our people remember, wirli lively grntitiule, tlirongli all 
coming time, the warriors by wliosc blood a permanent 
peace was secured. Then will the names of Benedict 
and those other brave heroes who may have fallen in this 
war, be spoken with grateful aftection, and their memories 
be honored and cherished by a free and happy people. 



Remarks of Hon. John K Porter. 

"We all felt a sudden sinking of the heart, when, with 
tidin<rs of the victory of the southwestern army, on the 
9th of April, came the startling rumor that Lewis Bene- 
dict was dead. "U^e knew that if he had fallen, it had 
been in the van of battle ; but he had so strong a hold 
upon us all that we refused to credit the message of death. 
^e were not long in suspense. He had fallen, like T\"olfe, 
in the hour and on the field of victory. 

TVe were connected with him by the ties of private 
friendship and professional brotherhood ; and having united 
with his companions in arms, with the public authorities 
and the citizens at large, in the sad office of committing 
his bloodless remains to their resting place, we feel that we 
do honor to ourselves, no less than to him, by convening 
at the Capitol to pay a special tribute of respect to his 
memory. 

Xo man whom Albany has produced has fulfilled more 
nobly, in the close of his career, the brilhant promise of 
youth and early manhood. In his case, as in many others, 
the civil war, which now convulses the country, has given 
occasion for the complete development of powers, rarely 
called into full exercise in periods of peace. 

Few entered active life under more propitious circum- 
stances. Distinguished by rare talents and attainments 
during his collegiate course, he had the advantage of pur- 



129 

suing Ills subsequent professional studies under tlie guid- 
ance of Jolm C. Spencer, and, on his admission to the bar, 
became the partner of jSIarcus T. Reynolds, wlio fully ap- 
preciated his manly character and marked forensic ability. 

Independent in his circumstances, "with a keen zest for 
social intercourse, with habits of literary culture which 
soon gave place, in a great measure, to the more absorbing 
interest that beguiles so many from the bar to the arena of 
political strife he was known as a clear-headed and able 
lawyer, capable of taking any rank in the profession to 
which he might aspire, but too little emulous of the forensic 
honors which lay within his reach. He needed more than 
the stimulus of mere personal ambition. He did not care 
to meet the ceaseless exactions of the law to sow while 
others sleep, and reap the fruits of that intellectual toil 
which knows neither relaxation nor repose. "VYith a healthy, 
vigorous and well-stored mind, he found it easy to discharge, 
with skill and fidelity, the duties he owed to his clients, 
and was content vnih. a manlv and honorable but unambi- 
tious professional career, l^o better evidence could be fur- 
nished of his thorough legal training and rare judicial 
ability, than the fact that while he was surrogate of the 
county of Albany, no decree pronounced by him was re- 
versed in any appellate tribunal. 

His generous impulses and strong convictions naturally 
made him an active and ardent participant in public affairs ; 
and it was a marked characteristic of the man, that, though 
as a political leader, he won commanding influence and 
merited distinction, he took more pleasure in advancing 
the fortunes of others, than in putting himself in the line 
of preferment. He accepted public honors, but only when 
they came unsought. 

At the outbreak of the rebellion, he held a prominent 
position in the Legislature, and by his counsels, his speeches 
and his votes, he rendered effective aid in perfecting the 



mo 

nicnsuros devised l>y that ]i:iti-i(>ti(' body to ronsctlic people 
and nnn the state. Uut Avhrn the session i-losed, and our 
Ihig needed armed defense, no one who knew liini donhted 
that he would he among the foremost of its defenders. 

The maidv and e:enerous tributes to his memory bv life- 
long- political opponents, are alike honorable to them and 
just to him. lie was true to the principles he professed, 
iuAvrought as they were with his deepest convictions. lie 
felt that in a war waged by Southern caste against JSTorth- 
crn democracy in an armed rebellion of slavery against 
law and libertj^ his proper field of service was the battle- 
field. He could not be unconscious of his high qualifications 
for command, but in the spirit of true patriotism, which 
exacts no conditions, he tendered his services in that 
position, be it what it might, for which there should be no 
more fitting applicant. 

He was on the eve of marriage, but at the call of his 
country he postponed all that was personal to him^self until 
the event should prove whether he was to sleep in a soldier's 
gi'ave. 

Calmly and unostentatiously he announced his purpose, 
and made his arrangements, not for three months or three 
years, but for the war. The ties of filial and fraternal love 
bound few men with equal strength; but all who knew 
his father will readily believe that on an issue involving 
the honor of the country and the maintenance of the govern- 
ment, he could not hesitate to dedicate to the cause either 
his own blood or that of the cherished son who bore his 
name. 

"\\"e have since followed that father to the grave, at the 
age of nearly four score years. The noble impress of his 
character was developed by subsequent events in the son, 
then captive in a rebel prison. I have known no man 
more worthy to be held in honored remembrance than 
Lewis Benedict, the elder. In the grandeur of his person. 



131 

no less than in tlie earnestness of Ms purposes, lie realized 
my conception of the iron-willed barons who extorted 
from the Crown the great charter of English liberty. His 
very presence gave assurance of the balanced elements of 
perfect manhood. The masculine vigor of his understand- 
ing, his broad and enlightened views, his clear perception 
of the right, his rugged and inflexible sense of justice, com- 
manded our respect and admiration. Yet this lion-hearted 
old man, open, frank and downright in speech, had a warm, 
generous and loving nature, which yielded to friendship 
and affection with almost womanly gentleness and sensi- 
bility. He was loyal, faithful and true incapable of 
falsehood incapable of fear. He was in many respects 
a much greater man than others whom,mth confiding and 
unselfish devotion, he aided in building up to greatness. 

The son entered the service in a spirit worthy of the 
father. Too many were looking to the war as an opj3ortu- 
nity to achieve private fortune or personal advancement. 
The path of these led toward Washington ; his led toward 
the field of battle. He received an early appointment as 
Lieutenant-Colonel in the Excelsior Brigade ; and, aided in 
no small degree by his executive ability and energy. Gen. 
Sickles was soon in the field at the head of a body of men 
who "will receive in historj^ a generous share of the honors 
du^ to the Army of the Potomac. 

No ofiicer in the army, of equal rank, proved more 
effective in command than Col. Benedict. 'None rose 
more rapidly in the confidence of his superior ofiicers, 
and, though a rigid disciplinarian, he won the personal 
affection and devotion of every man in his regiment. 

In the memorable battle of Williamsburg he refused to 
be kept from the field, though crippled by a recent injury. 
He held his brave troops close up to the line of duty and 
of death, when, others fell back in dismay ; and when at 
last cut off, by a sudden movement of the enemy, from 



132 

tlic TiKiin body of his iiieii, ho refused to surrender his 
sword, and was foreibly disarmed by command of a rebel 
otHcer, who was too much won by his gahantrj to permit 
a wounded foe to be cut down in unequal combat. 

Relieved from captivity by exchange in August, 1862, 
he returned to Albany to recruit his wasted strength, and 
to visit his mother's home and his father's grave. In three 
weeks, while still convalescent and barely able to walk, he 
was commissioned as Colonel of the 162d regiment, and 
soon after sailed with his troops for the Gulf. 

In January he was assigned to the command of a brigade. 
His services in that capacity for the remaining fifteen months 
of his life were such as won the admiration of all who XVit- 
uessed them, and the regard of all who served under him. 
'We have among us the returned veterans who have made 
his name familiar in the households of the rank and file, 
as the soldier's friend, and the bravest of the brave. "We 
have the public record of his distinguished services and his 
dauntless bearing in the memorable siege of Port Hudson. 
"VVe heard with increased joy of the surrender of that fort- 
ress, because it superseded the intended assault by the 
" Thousand Stormers," in which he was tp lead a forlorn 
hope scarcely more "forlorn," however, than one 
he had already led against the same fortifications on the 
14th of June a day which clothed our city in mourning. 

As we follow him from scene to scene in that dark drama 
of war, we find him everywhere charged by the general in 
command with trusts of the highest responsibility, and, in 
the disharge of each duty, developing resources and ability 
which demand the grateful recognition of the country. 
Recommended by General Banks for promotion to the 
rank, of which he performed the duties and assumed the 
perils, he was passed by at "Washington, to witness, in some 
cases at least, the preferment of those who were seek- 
ing the honors, which he was content to earn, Xo such 



Loo 

omission will occur in tlie historic roll, to be made up here- 
after, of the heroic leaders who have baptized with their 
blood the fields on which our national honor was redeemed. 

Col. Bexedict had eminent qualifications for command. 
To a mind of admirable clearness and perspicuity he added 
the self-reliance imparted by conscious strength and the 
steady energy of a calm and resolute will. He had the rare 
power of organization, with the still rarer faculty of inspir- 
ing the confidence and winning the hearts of masses of 
men. He had the buoyant and elastic strength which 
always rises with the emergency, equal to the demands of 
the hour. Beside all this, he held every faculty under com- 
plete control a qualification which, in the case of one of 
his favorite marshals, !N"apoleon likened to the complete 
command of his steed by a trained and fearless rider. 

Wlien, at the historic battle of Pleasant Hill, the tor- 
tunes of the day rested for the time on the bearing of this 
chosen brigade of the 19th Army Corps, every man in his 
command knew that, whoever else might fail, Lewis Bexe- 
dict would not fail and that in the bloodiest crisis of 
battle, his pulse would be even, his voice firm, his vision 
clear, his judgment poised, and his heart true. It was 
only such a man in command of our left wing, who could 
have held that devoted band, a living breastwork, from 
which the advancing column of the rebel army more than 
once recoiled and who in the end, could move those 
ranks, unbroken save by death, to -the final charge which 
bore our banner to victory. In that charge he fell, leav- 
ing a record which imparts. lustre to his name, and confers 
honor on the city of his birth. 



18 



134 



IJkmafvKS of ITo\. ri..\rK "B. CorilKANE. 

AVliilo I cannot, in justice to my own feelings, or to the 
promptings of this occasion, Avhich nvc well nigh irrepres- 
sibh^, remain entirely silent, I shall attempt little else tlian 
present my sincere offering of personal- respect and grati- 
tude to the memory of Lewis Benedict. Certainly, I am 
quite unable to add anything to what has been so well and 
so eloquently said, touching the distinguished life and 
ser^^lces of our departed friend. He was a member of this 
bar, and we meet, as is becoming, to give public expression, 
to the sorrow we feel at the loss of a cherished professional 
brother. He was our fellow-townsman, and in the honor 
which his recent marked and brilliant career has reflected 
upon his native city, we may properly claim, in some sense, 
to share; for those generous and manly qualities which he 
exhibited, as our companion and acquaintance ; for those 
resolute and inherent traits of character which made the de- 
ceased a representative of the higher type of our American 
manhood ; for that heroic love of country, which constrained 
him to break from every other tie and postpone every other 
affection, and peril life itself in her defense ; for the skill 
and courage in the field which had secured the confidence 
of officers and men, and for that undaunted intrepidity, 
singularly displayed amid the appalling scenes which were 
his last, we may express our admiration and here record 
our profound and grateful remembrance. Beyond this, 
there is nothing for us to do. ^o language of panegyric 
which we can employ, can add anything to the fame of Col. 
Bexedict. This is already secure. The achievement is his 
alone. He was the architect of his own fame. He rose to 
position and eminence by the vigor and strength of his own 
character. His life-work, in the new theater of action for 
which he left us, rising rapidly into public view, to-day 
stands out clear and distinctive in its noble proportions, 



.35 



and tliougli we may commemorate the finished structure, 
the voice of praise can add nothing to its essential grandeur. 

Gifted by nature with those rare endowments which quali- 
fy men for great and perilous employments, imbued with that 
spirit of devotion which the love of country can alone inspire, 
he entered the field of patriotic duty, and though arrested 
in middle life and in mid career, he had lifted, by force of 
his own right hand, his name and reputation to position, 
and placed them upon an eminence above the anxieties of 
friendship, and beyond the reach of detraction. A hero by 
inheritance, born with elements for command, trained to 
habits of self-reliance and schooled in the knowledge of men, 
he found in the stern occupations of war, to which his im- 
periled country called him as a leader, a theater fitted to 
the development of his powers. Cool amidst every danger, 
skillful in the disposition of his forces, attentive to the wants 
and careful for the safety of his men, lion-hearted on the 
day of battle, distinguished in every conflict, tried in both 
extremes of military fortune and equal to either, and at last 
when his hour came, met death like a true soldier in the 
face of the enemy, leading his brave columns to victory. 
This is the simple record of Col. Benedict. What can any 
of us do what can we all do bettei", than " leave him alone 
in his glory ? " Ambition cannot covet a nobler death, or 
patriotism own a holier sacrifice. His countrymen, not 
simply his class, recognize his services and dej)lore his loss. 

Before his body had reached our city, before the flag, 
for which he died, had been lowered in token of the sacri- 
fice, before even the bereaved mother had heard the fate 
of her son, in the chances of the battle, his name had 
been enshrined in the nation's heart. There it ^^^lll remain 
forever. The tears shed by kindred upon his bier had 
been anticipated by the tears of his companions in arms, 
shed when the stern conflict was ov-er. Ere the " little 
earth," now set apart by private ajffection as the final rest- 



136 

lug place of his ashes, had Ikh'h distiirhed, loyal iniHioiis 
had eoiiseeratrd the spot w lirre the i^atriot soldiiT fell. 

Siieh is the homaii-c and such the award whicTi a (grateful 
couiitrv can never tail to pa^^ to the memory of those who 
Slitter and bleed on her behalf. The name and deeds of 
onr fallen brother, identified with his country in her heroic 
struggle for life and cherished traditions, and hereafter to 
become historic, shall endure in honored remembrance, so 
long as patriotism and valor shall continue to be classed 
amono; the virtues of mankind. 

This sad event presses upon us with peculiar emphasis. 
"We are again most forcibly reminded how many and how 
great are the sacrifices made and being made to uphold 
the integrity of the government, and defend the institu- 
tions and liberties of our fiithers. That of our late friend 
is but one of the thousands of valued and cherished lives 
which have been freely offered to the holy cause of the 
Union to maintain the honor and empire of that flag 
which, amid all the vicissitudes that have attended the 
growth and fortunes of this people, by night and by day, 
at home and abroad, on the land and on tlic sea, has been 
the protector, equally of those who defend and those who 
now with wicked hands assail it. So, also, in the light 
reflected from those fearful and bitter experiences, the 
guilt and infamy of the rebellion are seen in deeper and 
blacker shadows. The faithful pen of history, a part of 
whose mission it will be to record the names of the heroic 
dead, whose blood, on the 9th of April, mingled with the 
soil of Louisiana, shall hand down this bloody conspiracy, 
by whose hand our brother perished, to the common and 
irreversible execration of mankind. 

Let our enemies and the enemies of free government, 
at home and abroad, read in the unprecedented ex]')endi- 
ture of blood and treasure in defense of threatened nation- 
ality, in the deeds of our brave and the endurance of our 



137 

people, tlie deep and earnest significance of our watchword 
and inspiration, " one country, one flag, one destiny." 



Eemarks of Hale Kingsley, Esq. 

Mr. Chairman : A sense of duty bids me add my hum- 
ble tribute of respect to the memory of the member of our 
profession, whose death has occasioned this meeting of the 
Albany Bar. I render this tribute in the sincerity of a sad 
and sorrowing heart. 

For a brief period associated with him in business, and 
for many years proud to claim him as an intimate personal 
friend, I think I may say that outside of his own circle of 
relatives, none loved him more or knew him better than 
myself. 

Others of our brethren have gone down to the grave, 
crowned with more professional honors ; others have 
departed to the world beyond, who have achieved more 
distinction and reaped more emoluments from the contests 
of legal strife ; but none have gone hence, never to return 
more, with a stronger claim upon our aftections, our esteem 
and respect, or left a more honored memory to be cherished 
and preserved, than Lewis Benedict. 

Possessed of a vigorous, strong intellect, highly nurtured 
and cultivated by a liberal education, his early years 
of practice in our profession gave promise of a life of 
distinguished usefulness at the bar. An almost intuitive 
knowledge of, and insight into, human nature, a rare 
faculty of reading the motives by which men were go- 
verned, combined with strong common sense and far-seeing 
judgment, peculiarly fitted him for becoming a brilliant 
ornament to the profession. 

But an incident, of which only a few of his intimate 



138 

personal tnonds knoAV, made liim careless of winning pro- 
fessional distinction and renown, and lie loved not the 
profession for the ]icruniary I'nioluments which it might 
have aftbrded him. 

He therefore sought, in the contests of political life, if 
not its honors, the right and privilege of advocating and 
advancing those principles, the success of which would 
most surely tend to the promotion of his country's welfare 
and prosperity. The large vote cast for him, in excess of 
his party, when elected to the otiice of surrogate of this 
county, testiiies how, thus early in his political career, he 
had won the popular heart by those manly qualities, which 
have since grown brighter and brighter as they have been 
tried in the fire. 

The present unhappy war found him enjoying the 
generous confidence of the people of his native cit)^, with 
ample means to make life pleasant and to be longed for, 
surrounded by a charming family circle of beloved and 
loving relatives, and possessed of a gentlemanly courtesy 
and l)reeding that were a passport to the best society of 
the land. 

But full of love for the institutions of the land of his 
birth, actuated by the purest patriotism, and moved by a 
controlling sense of duty, he sacrificed all, as the sequel 
proved, to die for his country. 

I need not speak of his military career, for his abilities, 
his patient endurance of sutfering and hardship, his de- 
voted patiiotism, chivalrous courage, gallant daring and 
noble heroism, are household words in the citv of his 
birth. 

Oh ! how I dreaded, when I first heard of the fatal 
battle in which he fell, that disaster would he his. I knew 
him so well. I had occasion to know, before the fire of 
battle proved it, how brave a heart he carried in his 
bosom. I knew that where duty called, or honors were 



139 

to be won in tlie service of his country, lie would be no 
laggard. He fell, as I believed he would fall, if fall he 
must, viith. " his back to the field and his feet to the foe." 

"With a heart as kind, as gentle and loving as a woman's, 
ever open and responsive to every appeal for charity and 
sympathy, with a sense of honor as fine as ever found 
lodgment in a human bosom, he had a courage as cool, 
a spirit as chivalrous, a soul as brave as ever dwelt in 
mortal tenement. 

Is it a wonder that such a man died for his country ? 

Blessed be his last sleep ! Forever cherished, among 
us and the people with whom he lived, and in whose cause 
he died, be his memory ! 

The sad events of this war have taken from among the 
members of our profession many of the gifted, brave and 
devoted, whom we were wont to meet in fraternal relations. 
It may be that other sacrifices are called for, and that 
others still may find time to die for their country and the 
right. If this be so, he who is called will be fortunate 
indeed if he is only partially successful in emulating the 
virtues, the patriotism, the heroism, the courage and 
devotion of the law;)'er whose memory we seek to per- 
petuate to-day the soldier over whose bier has been fired 
the last volley but whose name and fame will be ever 
warmly cherished by a grateful community. 



Remarks of Isaac Edwards, Esq. 

Mr. Chairman: "We speak of the living with fearless 
criticism, in spite of the social temptation we are under 
to strengthen friendship, and conciliate opinion. But 
when we meet, as on this occasion, to commemorate the 
life and services of one who has but just entered into 



14(1 

the city of tlic dead, onr natural reverence subdues the 
haste of speech, that scorns not iiuq^i^roprinto on ordi- 
nary occasions. 

"^Ve all knew Col. Lewis Bknedict, most of us for 
many years, and have ourselves witnessed his bearins: in 
the profession, in business, political and social life. Every 
one, friend and foe, knew him as a frank, generous and 
brave man one who combined in himself the elements 
of strength that attract attention and secure respect. 
Some of us in former years, doubtless, opposed him in 
political principle or action, and found in liim a manly 
opponent, tenacious of opinion, and resolute and deter- 
mined in the maintenance of those views of public policy 
which commended themselves to his judgment. We saw 
that he did not vacillate between contlicting opinions, 
and showed no misgivings of the popular favor. We saw 
that his character, like that of his father, was solid and firm, 
strong enough to stand steadfast, as the mast of a gallant 
ship on a storm-beaten sea. 

Fairly to appreciate him, we have to bear in mind 
the outline of his life, the opinions he formed in early man- 
hood, the changes since wrought in the public mind, the 
convictions which he entertained in common with those 
who succeeded in the general election of 1860, and the 
civil war which ensued and still desolates the land. So 
directly alhed as we are to the past and intensely interested 
in the present, it is impossible for us here and now. to think 
or speak with the candor and breadth of view that may be 
looked for in the coming years of rest and peace, which, I 
trust, lie not far beyond us in the future. This much, how- 
ever, we know, from the magnitude of the struggle and the 
nature of the principles involved in it, whatever may be 
the precise issue of the present war, the influence of it will 
flow on through the history of the continent for a thou- 
sand years. 



141 

I will not now speak of the marks of confidence, the pub- 
lic offices of dignity and trust that were conferred upon the 
deceased tokens of the estimation in which he was held 
in this community. ISTor will I now dwell upon his en- 
lightened and liberal sentiments, his genial manners, 
noble candor, and veracious spirit, qualities that "sprang 
naturally from his large heart and ^dgorous brain. 

Long before the war began, he was at the head of a mili- 
tary company, and everybody saw that he possessed quali- 
ties and habits that fitted him for command. Every man in 
the company claimed him as a friend, and was proud of 
him. 

"When the war broke upon us, the undaunted spirit of 
Col. Benedict rose to meet the occasion. He saw and 
felt that the Rebellion was set on foot to reverse and 
annul with the sword the solemn verdict of the American 
people, to uproot the foundations of the Government and 
destroy, utterly, the fair fabric of our institutions. He 
saw that it was to be a war of arms resting upon a war of 
opinion, a contest between proud and brave soldiers on 
either side ; and he voluDteered to bear his part in the 
struggle. He felt, as we all did, that the success of the 
Rebellion would dissolve the Union as with the touch of 
Ithuriel's spear, put an end to the peace and tranquility 
of our home-life so long enjoyed under the joint protec- 
tion of a great people, and cashier the Republic from her 
high rank among the nations. AVe know that these 
thoughts, great and ennobling inspirations of duty, 
occupied his mind as he went fortli to the service, and 
that he gave his life for his country. There are certainly 
other scenes of faithful service, and other trials of the 
courage and constancy of the citizen; but there is in 
these days no surer test of the human spirit than that 
which Lewis Benedict endured again, and again, on the 
field of battle; and it does not diminish our admiration 

19 



142 

tor liim to know tlmt liuiulrods and thousands of our 
vouuir niou have i>assed tliroiiij^li tlie same ordeal, as 
gold tried by tire, AVe read short and imperfect details 
of the skirmisli and the battle, at a distance from the 
scene of conflict ; but we do not see the soldier marching 
into action, knowing that he may at any moment ex- 
change the present for another life, advancing steadily 
upon the dread realities of life and death, upon whatever 
is most appalling, in the devilish enginery of modern 
war ; and we can but slightly appreciate the stern trial of 
such an hour. Let us then honor these men, and count 
the heroism of him that fell at the head of his brigade as 
one of the titles to honor, which attach to the city of his 
birth and home. 



Eemaeks of Hon. C. L. Austin. 

31r. Chairman : Esteeming myself among the humblest 
among the distinguished men whom I see around me, I 
would feel myself incapable of adding anything worthy of 
the occasion to the encomiums already passed upon the 
name and services of our deceased brother. 

It seems to me, however, that there is a peculiar fitness 
in my adding, at least, the expression of my heartfelt con- 
currence in all that has been said of him. Four years 
ago we were competitors for the otRce which I have just 
vacated. In that competition it did not happen to him to 
be successful. It was for an office entirely and peculiarly 
belonging to our profession as members of the bar. 

And as it would be folly for me to attempt to gild the 
refined gold of eulogy which has just been bestowed ujDon 
his character in the profession in which he has fallen a 



143 

martyr, it gives me tlie greater pleasure to speak of him 
in liis cliaracter of judge and magistrate, whicli he held for 
several years among us. 

In that office he was as bold and brave as he was in the 
field. With a strong instinct of justice to guide him, he 
was ever fearless in deciding the questions before him 
according to his sense of right. 

I have seen the humble and undistinguished members 
of our profession contending before him with the strongest 
and the most honored, and in such contests no one had to 
fear that human respect, or the weight of professional 
reputation would turn the scales against a just cause, 
when held in the hands of Lewis Benedict as surrogate of 
the county of Albany. I do not approve the taste, sir, on 
occasions of this character of alluding to faults or to 
blemishes. Being mortals, we are none of us free from 
them. And I would not now mention the word, except 
for the purpose of saying that in him, such as he had, 
partook of the quality of virtue, because they were all 
swallowed up in his distinguishing characteristic of open- 
ness, manliness and courage. 

That such a character entering into the military service 
of his country should have illustrated itself by bold and 
heroic action, by self-sacrifice, even unto death, was only 
to have been expected ; and as I followed his body to its 
last resting place, on the last day of the term of that office 
for which, a few years before, we had contended against 
eacli other, I could not but reflect that the result of 
that rivalry, though, for the moment, an apparent reverse 
for him, had, like all reverses of which men of courage 
and conduct know how to make account, brouo-ht in the 
end a triumph for his name and memory in the resj^ect 
and honor of the country. 

The resolutions were then unanimously adopted, and 
the meeting adjourned. 



144 

Ai,j;anv, Ma>i lOlh, 1804. 
aMks, Lewis Benedict. 

Dear 31adam: 
The Bar of the city, convened at the Capitol on the 7th 
instant, directed ns, tlie Secretaries of the meeting, to 
present you witli a copy of the enclosed Resolutions, ex- 
pressing their higli regard for your gifted, heroic and 
lamented son. In discharging this duty, permit us to add 
our sense of the public loss, and our profound personal 
sorrow to the burden of bereavement which must be so 
keenly felt in the home of Col. Benedict. 
"With great respect, we are, 

Yours Truly, 

George "Wolfgiid, 
Isaac Edwards. 



SCHOHARIE COUNTY. 



The Late Colonel Benedict. 

At a meeting of the Bar and citizens of Schoharie 
county, assembled at Cobleskill, on hearing of the death 
of the lamented Col. Lewis Benedict, of Albany, Charles 
Holmes, Esq., was chosen Chairman, and JST. Degraff, 
Esq., Secretary. 

On motion, W. H. Young, G. "W. Smith, D. W. Darrow, 
L. Cross, and A. Loucks, were appointed a Committee to 
report resolutions expressing the sense of this meeting. 

H. Smith, Esq., of Albany, in appropriate remarks, 
recounted the social qualities, the legal acquirements, the 



145 

enviable positions, the personal sacrifices, patriotic devotion, 
and excellent traits of character of the deceased. 

"W. H. Young, from the committee, reported the fol- 
lowing resolutions, which were unanimously adopted : 

Resolved., That we have learned with sincere and profound regret 
of the death of CoL. Lewis Benedict late of the city of Albany 
while at the head of his Brigade, bravely and gallantly leading his 
men forth to " battle for the cause of his country." 

Resolved., That his cheerful sacrifice of the ease and luxuries of 
home, the society and associations of numerous personal and social 
friends, for the hardships and dangers of a soldier's life, bespeak for 
him an enviable position in the list of heroes. That his loss is a 
source of deep regret to his friends, his regiment, and country. 

Resolved., That the proceedings of this meeting be published in 
our county papers. Atlas and Argus, and Albany Evening Journal. 

Charles Holmes, Chairman. 

N. Degrafp, Secretary. 



REGIMENTAL TRIBUTE. 



At a meeting of the OflScers of the 162d Regiment, N". 
Y. V. I., held, June 4, 1864, in camp, at Morganzia Bend, 
La., Resolutions were passed expressive of their high regard 
and respect for the character and memory of their deceased 
Colonel, Lewis Benedict, and tendering their condolence 
to his bereaved family. 

The following ofiicers were appointed a Committee, and 
instructed to communicate the Resolutions to the family 
and to cause them to be published in the Albany and ]^ew 
York papers. 

Samuel Cowdrey, Capt. Co. I, 162d K Y. V. L 

J. W. Seaman, Capt. Co. D, " " 

- John H. Van Wyck, 1st Lieut. Co. G, " " 



1 IC. 



Wll.LlAxAlS COLLEGE. 



Of the Annual Meotinii' of tlir Aliiinni in Anunist, 1864, 
tlio WiUianis Collog-e Mii^cellany says: "The Ahimni met 
on I'liesday mornhic:, lion. Tlionias Colt in the chair. 
I'lie ohituavy notices were read by the Secretary, and 
among the names -who received the liighest enlogies we 
notice those of Professor llnunons, of the class of 1818; 
Col. Benedict, of the class of 1837 : Hon. John A, 
Walker, of the class of 1840 ; and lion. Luther Bradish, 
of the class of 1804." President Andrews, of Marietta 
College, Ohio, Hon. Erastus C. Benedict, of New York, 
and Hon. James D. Colt, of Pittsfield, paid eloquent and 
touching tributes to the character of Col. Benedict and 
sketched his career during the war. Two of the speakers, 
draA^-ing upon their memories, reproduced scenes and inci- 
dents of the days when he was an inmate of the college, 
that were intensely interesting. 

On this occasion steps were taken toward the erection 
of a Monument to perpetuate the memory of the sons 
of Williams who had fallen in the war. 

At the Annual Meeting of August, 1865, the Alunmi 
held dedicatory services around the Monument, which was 
far advanced toward completion. Prayer was offered by 
President Hopkins and speeches were made by Hon. James 
T>. Colt, of Pittsfield, Hon. Joseph White, of Williamstown, 
Judge Abm. B. Olin, of Washington, D. C. and Hon. 
Emory Washburn, of Worcester. 

The Monument is of red sandstone and reflects the 
highest credit upon the taste and skill of the architect. It 
will be completed by placing upon it a bronze statue of a 
soldier. 



147 



ACTION BY THE PRESIDENT AND SENATE. 



The President, on tlie recommendation of tlie Secretary 
at War, nominated, for Brevet Brigadier General, U. S. 
Volunteers : 

" Colonel Lewis Benedict of tlie One Hundred and 
Sixty Second New York Volunteers, for gallant conduct at 
Port Hudson, Louisiana, to date from March 13, 1865." 

This nomination was confirmed by the Senate, July 23, 
1866. 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



Washington, Oct. 14, 18G4. 
My Dear Colonel : 

I knew Colonel Benedict well and was near Ms Bri- 
gade when lie fell. He died bravely and nobly, in a battle 
wbicb was ten-ific in its progress, and where onr success 
saved the army, the fleet, and gave us the continued posses- 
sion of the Mississippi and ITew Orleans. Had we failed 
at Pleasant Hill, we could not have maintained our power 
with the loss of the army, and the fleet of gun-boats. 

Colonel Benedict did not die in vain ; and the close of 
his career was as glorious as its progress had been upright 
and honorable. 

We were, at once, upon making acquaintance with each 
other, on a confidential footing and I was often surprised 
and delighted with the general intelligence and knowledge 
of men which he always exhibited. I read, at the time of his 
death, the discourses pronounced at his funeral and by the 
Bar of which he was a member. They did no more than 
justice to the many virtues which distinguished him. 

Very truly yours. 

To CoL. K K Lu. Dudley. K P. Banks, M. G. C. 



Portland, Me., Jubj 25, 1864. 
My Dear Sir : 

* * * I was quite intimate with your brother. 

Colonel Lewis Benedict, of the 162d IST. Y. Regiment. He 

was under my command from August, 1863, until the time 



149 

of his death. I, hke every one else who knew him, was 
exceedingly attracted by his social qualities, and I enjoyed 
his society extremely. I saw a great deal of him, during 
the winter of 1863-64, while I commanded at Franklin, 
La. At this time he commanded a Brigade in Brig. Gen. 
Emory's Division of the 19th Corps. 

He retained command of this Brigade on the march 
from Franklin to Alexandria and Natchitoches, and com- 
manded it in the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, April 8, 
1864, and of Pleasant Hill, April 9, 1864. In the last 
named battle he was killed. 

I know little of his conduct in the battle of the 8th of 
April. I do know, however, that his Brigade, which held 
the left of the line, was severely attacked by the enemy ; 
that it behaved exceedingly well, entirely repulsing the 
attack, and that it held the ground until nightfall, when 
the battle ended. My position on that day prevented me 
from knowing any more than what I have told above. 

On the 9th of April, at Pleasant Hill, his Brigade formed 
the left of Gen. Emory's line. He came to my Head- 
quarters about 12 o'clock, M., to obtain permission from 
Gen. Emory and myself, to change the position of his line, 
indicating another, which, in his opinion, was stronger and 
safer. "We agreed to the change, and he then left, and the 
change was made. In this new position his Brigade was 
attacked by the enemy, and after a gallant fight was driven 
back. It was, however, rallied very soon, returned to the 
fight, drove the enemy in turn, and did a great deal towards 
saving the day. 

It is my impression that your brother was killed while 
his Brigade was advancing after he had succeeded in rally- 
ing it ; but I am not certain of this, nor is it material now. 
"What is certain, is, that he handled his Brigade v^ell; that 
he fought it as well as it was possible to fight it, and that 
he died performing his duty like a noble soldier. 

20 



150 

Thoro Avns one nnivcrsal expression of sorrow among all 
his comrades Avlien it became certain that he was killed. 
He had endeared himself to all -of them. 

I am sorry that I am ahle to give you no more reminis- 
cences of him. I have told you all that I now recollect, 
but events crowded on so fast just at the time your brother 
was killed, that I have doubtless forgotten much that I 
would otherwise have remembered. 

Very Eespectfully, 

Your Obd't Serv't, 
W. B. Franklin, 

Maj. Gen. U. S. Vols. 
Henry M. Benedict, Esq., 
Albany, N. Y. 



H'd. Qrs. 19th A. C, Camp Russell, Va., 1 

Nov. 29, 1864. j 
Henry M. Benedict, Esq., 
Dear Sir : 

"We arc still in the field, and I do not know that this 
campaign, unsurpassed for its activity, is yet ended. This 
has been, and is still, my excuse for not doing what has 
been nearest my heart, writing some account of your 
brother. Col. Benedict, who fell under my command. I 
have not had, nor have I now, the opportimity to refer to 
the statistics of his military history. Under these circum- 
stances you must forgive me for being brief. 

Col. Benedict was honorably engaged in the siege of 
Port Hudson, where he exhibited his most distinguished 
military characteristic, personal courage. His first field 
service under me was during the Eed Biver campaign, 
where, on account of his well known gallantry and high 



151 

character as an officer, I selected liim to command a bri- 
gade. Of his noble and patriotic death I cannot speak in 
terms of too great admiration, although I am now too much 
engaged to give a detailed account of the circumstances 
under which it occurred. 

He commanded the 3d Brigade, 1st Division 19th Army 
Corps, during the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, where we 
were brought into action after the 13th Corps and the cavalry 
had been routed ; and he there aided in checking and driv- 
ing back an overwhelming force of the enemy, flushed 
with temporary success. The next day, at Pleasant Hill, 
still in command of the same brigade of my division, he 
fell at the head of his men bearing the brunt of that 
bloody battle. 

I am, my Dear Sir 
Yery truly yours, 

W. H. Emory, 
Brig. Gen. 



Dover Mines, Goochland County, Va., 1 

March Uih, 1866. J 
Henry M. Benedict, Esq., 
Deal' Sir : 
* * * It gives me sincere pleasure to have an 
opportunity to express the high appreciation which I have 
of the character and services of your late lamented brother, 
whom it was my good fortune to meet often during our 
service in the Department of the Gulf. 

He joined, to a high order of capacity and fine soldierly 
qualities, a warm heart and most genial manner, so that 
while he inspired confidence in his ability to command, he 
also gained the warm aftection of those with whom he was 
associated. 



152 

Ilis prosoiioo ill the coinmaiid always gave me Loth 
contidence and pleasure : and his death was to me the most 
saddening personal event of the campaign in which lie fell. 
In this feeling I believe all in the Army of the Gulf 
participated. 

AVith great respect, 

I am, Dear Sir, 
Yr. Mo. Obd't. Serv't, 

Chas, p. Stone. 
Formerly Brig. Gen. and Chief of Staff, 

Dept. of the Gulf. 



Portland, Me., Jane 29, 1864. 
Sir : 

* * * I did not see the Colonel myself after the 
enemy attacked. * * * p^^ both actions, of 
Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Ilill, Col. Benedict sent 
his orders to me by his Aides, and it was too dark during 
the first battle for me to see him. * ^: * 

The 3d Brigade was in a hard position, with its left en- 
tirely unprotected. It received alone the full force of the 
Enemy's attack,' which compelled it to fall back. The 
gi'ound was very open and Col. Benedict much ex- 
posed. As the three other Eegiments retreated towards 
the right, while I retreated towards the left, I could not 
see Col. B. and the remainder of the Brigade, and in the 
general advance it was difficult to distinguish anything. 
Col. Benedict was a most gallant soldier and fell in the 
thickest of the fight. He, with his Brigade, repulsed an 
attack on our left, at Sabine Cross Roads, and saved the 
army fi'om being turned at that point. 



153 

My intercourse with your Brother was of the most 
agreeable character. When I first arrived in Franldin, 
La., he supphecl me with a horse, accompanied me to a 
good camp ground, which he had previously chosen for 
my Reg't., and in various ways evidenced his forethought 
and care. Such attention was unexpected and pleasant, 
for, in my previous experience, I had always been left to 
find my own camp ground and everything else. Our 
acquaintance, thus happily begun, continued till we became 
good friends. I sympathize with you in your great loss. 

I recollect that just as the enemy emerged from the 
woods, I looked around, and saw the Colonel sitting upon 
his horse, near the brow of the slope and by the side of his 
!Brio:ade color. He was in full view of the whole attack- 
ing line of the enemy. The Brigade fell back over that 
slope. I did not see him afterwards, but understood that 
he fell somewhat in front and near the place where I last 
saw him. 

I regret that I can give you no more explicit informa- 
tion. 

I am very truly 

Your Obd't. Servant, 
Henry M. Benedict. Francis Fessenden. 

Brig. Gen. U. S. V. 



Saratoga Springs, 
December 16, 1865. 



} 



Henry M. Benedict, Esq. 
Dear Sir : 
* * * I was well acquainted with your Brother 
before the "War, but did not meet him in the Army until 
the advance on Alexandria, La., during the Red River 
Campaign in 1864. 



154 

Oil i1r' iiinix-li. lio passed me several times on his way 
Irom till' roar to tlie front, and, sometimes, when my com- 
mand was marching on liis tiank, I had opportunities to 
converse with him for hours. He was commanding: a 
Brigade of Infantry. He expressed himself veiy confident 
of success when speaking of the final result of the Union 
cause, hut did not seem over sanguine as to that of the 
campaign. 

After we left Alexandria, I did not see him until the 
morning after the battle of Sabine Cross Eoads, when, by 
chance, he rode into my camp, at Pleasant Hill, about 
2 A. M, I had received orders to saddle, and was taking my 
coffee when he came up to my fire and took breakfast with 
me. He gave me a full account of that fight, and said his 
men had behaved splendidly. 

I left him at 4 o'clock that morning, and did not see him 
again until the afternoon when I saw him lifeless. He had 
been killed in his front line while repelling a charge of the 
enemy. He was greatly beloved by his men, and equally 
respected by his superiors in command. There was no 
braver man, no warmer friend, than Col. Lew. Benedict. 
He has joined the thousands who gave their lives for their 
country, and History, I trust, will do him justice; l)nt, if 
it should not, he will receive it from many who saw him 
standing as a mark for the sharpshooters of the enemy, 
charging in three lines, and heard, above the roar of battle, 
his last words : " Steady, Boys ! they must not pass this 
line ! Charge ! " 

In that charge he fell. 

I am, very Respectfully, 
Your Obd't. Servt, 

Morgan H. Chrysler, 
Col. 2d X. Y. Yet. Cav., 

and Bv't. Maj. Gen. U. S. Y. 



155 

Head-Quarters Excelsior (2nd) Brigade 
4th Division, 2nd Army Corps, 
April 28(h,'[SQL 
Dear Sir : 

I was deeply pained yesterday to hear of the death of 
your brother Colonel Lewis Benedict. 

I trust that the intimate relations which existed between 
the late Colonel and myself, during his term of service as 
Lieut. Colonel of my Regiment, will warrant me in express- 
ing to yourself and the other members of your family, the 
sincere and heartfelt sympathy not only of myself, but of 
every ofB.cer and soldier in the 4th Regt. Excelsior Brigade 
in this hour of your affliction. 

For more than a year, the late Colonel and myself were 
comrades in arms; frequently occupying the same tent, 
sleeping under the same blanket during that time our 
relations were ever of the most kindly nature. 

As a soldier he was brave and gallant as a man, true in 
every relation of life as a son, a brother, a citizen and 
friend. His many noble qualities of mind and heart, 
endeared him to all. He was an oihcer whose loss to the 
service is iri'^parable. His influence and exertions were 
always given to elevate the tone and standard of the Vol- 
unteer service in camp, while his patriotism and gallantry 
have been conspicuous in the field. 

He has moistened with his life's blood the tree of Liberty. 

May Almighty God grant that all the sons that have been 

given, and the blood which has been poured forth in the 

defence of our glorious flag may not have been given and 

shed in vain. 

I am. Sir, 

Very Respt'fy Yours, 

Wm. R. Brewstee, 



To E. A. Benedict, Esq., 
l^ew York. 



Col. Comd'g Brigade. 



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