William Plummer Benton

William Plummer Benton was born in New Market, Frederick County, Maryland, on December 25, 1828. When he was four months old his father died; his mother moved to Richmond, Indiana, in 1836, where he received his early education. At the age of eighteen he enlisted for Mexican War service and as a private in the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen participated in the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec, and the capture of Mexico City. He returned to Indiana to finish his legal studies and was admitted to the bar in 1851. During 1852-54 he served as district attorney of Wayne County and from 1856 to 1858 was judge of the common pleas court. Reportedly the first man in the county to respond to Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand volunteers, he was unanimously elected captain of the 8th Indiana Infantry (three-month regiment) on April 27, 1861, and colonel of the same regiment on September 5 of that year upon its reenlistment for three years or the duration of the war. After service in the western Virginia campaign in the summer of 1861, Benton's regiment was ordered to Missouri in September. He is said to have commanded a brigade at Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge), although the Official Records show another officer, not later promoted to brigadier, in command of the brigade of which Benton and his regiment were a part.  On April 28, 1862, Benton was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and fought at the battles of Port Gibson, Jackson (where he was slightly wounded), Champion Hills, Big Black River, in the siege of Vicksburg, and in the campaign against Mobile. For his services in this last campaign he was brevetted major general on March 26, 1865. At Vicksburg he commanded a brigade of the XIII Corps, first under the politician John A. McClernand and subsequently under the professional Edward O. C. Ord. Mustered out in July, 1865, Benton resumed his law practice in Richmond. The following year he went to New Orleans as an agent of the government, but died of yellow fever .on March 14, 1867. He was buried there in Greenwood Cemetery.

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