Joseph Bennett Plummer


Joseph Bennett Plummer was born, according to the vital records of Barre, Massachusetts, on November 15, 1816. He seems to have taken a few years off his age, however, so as not to endanger an appointment to the Military Academy which he sought for at least two years. He attended the local high school and was apparently a universal favorite, since virtually all the prominent citizens and ex-citizens of the area, including Governor William L. Marcy, united in recommending him for appointment to the Academy. After teaching school for a time, he finally entered West Point in 1837 and was graduated in 1841 with a host of others who would become Civil War generals. Plum-mer's military career prior to the outbreak of the Civil War was unexceptionable: he stood garrison duty as an infantry subaltern at various middle-western posts, spent the first year of the Mexican War on sick leave, and did quartermaster duty on the Texas frontier from 1848 until 1861. Promoted captain of the 1st Infantry in 1852, he was advanced to major, 8th Infantry, in April, 1862. Meantime he was wounded in the battle of Wilson's Creek while commanding a battalion of Regulars; the following month on September 25, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the 11th Missouri Infantry. In the latter capacity he commanded the post of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, until March, 1862; and on March 11 was appointed brigadier general of volunteers to rank from October 22, 1861. Plummer commanded the 5th Division of John Pope's forces during the capture of New Madrid and was in command of a brigade of Stanley's division in the "siege of Corinth." Soon after, on August 9, 1862, while in camp near Corinth, he died "Of Wound And Exposure In The Active Field" and was ultimately buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.