Henry Lewis Benning

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Henry Lewis Benning, "Old Rock," was born in Columbia County, Georgia, April 2, 1814, and was graduated from the University of Georgia (then Franklin College) in 1834. Moving to Columbus, Georgia, he studied law and was admitted to the bar, at which he had a notable antebellum career, including six years as associate justice of the Georgia supreme court. He was prominent in politics as a delegate to the Charleston convention in 1860 and as vice president of the later Baltimore convention which nominated Stephen A. Douglas for the presidency. He was also a delegate to the Georgia secession convention, and delegate from Georgia to the Virginia convention. Usually regarded as an extreme states rights advocate to which label his prior utterances, both judicial and political, had given color he nevertheless exhibited considerable reluctance to encourage secession until the die was absolutely cast, as evidenced by his support of Douglas. Benning's Confederate military career began with appointment to the colonelcy of the 17th Georgia Infantry. At this rank and subsequently as brigadier general, to rank from January 17, 1863, he was attached to Hood's division of the 1st Corps. He took part in many engagements from Second Manassas to Appomattox Court House, where he was paroled April 9, 1865. His nickname adequately testifies to his soldierly qualities. After the war he returned to Columbus to resume his law practice. He died on his way to court, July 10, 1875, and is buried in Columbus.

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Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.