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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.


Colonel Lewis Benedict, the subject of this sketch, son of Lewis Benedict and Susan Stafford, his wife, was born in Albany, New York, September 2d, 1817.

His early studies were prosecuted at Aurora, Cayuga county, N. Y.; but his preparation for college was made mainly at the Albany academy. In 1834, he entered the sophomore class at Williams college, and was graduated in 1837. Thence he went into the office of the late John C. Spencer, at Canandaigua, and read law. In January, 1841, in Albany, he was licensed as attorney at law, and subsequently was admitted as counselor in the State and Federal courts. In 1845, he was appointed city attorney; and was reappointed 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 county of Albany, for a term of four years, by a majority of seventeen hundred votes—his entire vote greatly exceeding the party strength. In 1849, he received the appointment of Judge Advocate General from Governor Hamilton Fish. In the fall of the year 1860, the Union men of his district nominated him for member of assembly, and elected him by a majority of nearly four hundred votes. He was the only Union candidate elected from the county at that time. This was the last public position of a civil character held by him.

Both the beginning and end of his life develop the same characteristics. As a boy, he was noted for zeal and diligence in study, and not less for enterprise in play. The records of the Albany Academy attest his successes in competitive examinations, and it is well remembered by many who shared in them, how, after sweeping the prizes for good 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 ambitious 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 classmates 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 incorrect use of terms, sooner than he." He graduated with distinction, and three years after was chosen to deliver the Master's oration.

While a student of 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 being engrossed by studies purely professional. His habits of critical investigation, of collation and analysis, are indicated by marginal annotations and references contained in his books. Indices rerum, diaries and memoranda of various sorts remain, that show his reading to have been varied, extensive, and always careful. They disclose 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. They exhibit a degree of acquirement, of intellectual power, and mental habitudes of such tendencies, as might have justified him in adopting literature as a profession. It is, perhaps, well to say, that not the slightest expression 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.

On his admission to the bar, Marcus T. Reynolds, then at the zenith of his professional fame and intellectual vigor, received him as his law partner, and elevated him at once to a position in the practice of law, 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 practitioner.

The City Attorneyship, which he held two terms, appears to have been the first political appointment he received. From that time he was actively and earnestly a political partizan. The tersest record of his political labors would be the history of every party struggle, State or National, that occurred between his entrance on political life and his joining the army. He was always a leader. He was often delegate to conventions, State and county; chairman of committees, local and general; a prolific author of addresses and resolutions, and a frequent speaker at political assemblages.

In this department of effort he was not without occasional success, although the general fortune of his party in his own district may be said to have been adverse. Even when defeated, he commonly had the compensation, if it may be called by that name, of appearing by the election returns to have received more than the vote of the party that nominated him—especially was this so, when he was elected Surrogate.

He was acute in his perceptions of the qualities of men, and accurate in his estimates of character. It is impressive to read, now, the memorials that exist of his early distrust of some who are infamous to-day, on account of the treachery and apostacy he dreaded and predicted.

It can hardly be necessary to say that the principles and objects for which he contended through life, were essentially the same as those in defence of which he died. Descended, as he was, from Puritans, who planted Liberty on this continent; from Patriots, who subsequently achieved American Independence; and the son of one of the most active and persistent of the founders of a party to preserve both, when both were threatened, his life was the natural result of his instincts; and his death attests his faith in his convictions, and the unselfishness of his was early convinced that the slaveholders meant war, and prepared his mind for that issue. He also regarded all attempts to conciliate them as very much worse than futile, and addressed himself to persuading others not to rely upon efforts in that direction. At the beginning of December, 1860, writing to a friend connected with the Government, he said: "The feeling here is, that one concession would but pave the way for another, until, without saving the Union, public sentiment would be demoralized." This he believed with the earnestness of a conviction, and on all occasions spoke and acted in the faith of it. As the rebellion became systematized and aggressive, the spirit of resistance rose within him: he toiled hard to arouse his fellow citizens to a sense of the necessity there was to provide for the public defence by suitable military preparations. The then Adjutant General of the State, John M. Read, Jr., hears testimony to the cordiality and energy with which Mr. Benedict seconded the efforts of the State administration to induce the Legislature to put the State on a war footing, early in January, 1861—that was, at the beginning of the session.

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 volunteers, he did not conceal his disappointment at the meagreness of the number invoked by the proclamation. 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 Government would be justified in demanding three hundred thousand, and the men would respond with delight. It is time that 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 of our Union disgraced, and our true brethren slain." This was addressed to a member of the administration.

Upon this call, Governor Morgan, by a special message, requested the necessary action of the Legislature; which responded by "An Act to authorize the embodying and equipment of a volunteer militia, and to provide for the public defence," passed April 16, 1861. This Act authorized the enlistment of thirty thousand men, and appropriated three millions of dollars for the purposes of the Act. To the perfecting and carrying out of these measures he devoted all his energies. Loyal men abounded in the House, and many, as ardent as himself, labored as zealously to the same end; still a minority was there also, whose hostility to warlike preparations was active and skillful enough to tax severely the strength and resources of the friends of the measure. In debate a member interrupted him thus: "I wish to ask the gentleman a question—if I imbrue my hands in my brother's blood, do I thereby promote the cause of liberty?" Mr. B.: "I will answer that question. Yes, Sir! I do promote the cause of liberty by slaying my brother, if, with traitorous and parricidal hand, he dare to tear down the flag of our common country."

The attack upon Fort Sumter had excited him sufiiciently, but the slaughter of Union troops by the traitors of Baltimore, and the cutting off the communication with the National Capital, greatly increased his indignation. He chanced, too, at this conjuncture, to visit the State whose blood, the first shed in the cause of the Union, was even then flowing; whose hills and valleys cannot be traversed by any lover of freedom, nor her people communed with, without being conscious of an access of fervor toward liberty, and of detestation toward everything opposing it. To a friend connected with the Government, he wrote, April 25th: "I am in New England for a short visit, and have imbibed the spirit of determined patriotism, which is breathing over every city, town and hamlet within the borders of Massachusetts.

"There is much apprehension growing out of contradictory reports as to the movements of troops, the strength of Washington and the fate of the Capitol. * * *

" Order Wool to widen the streets of Baltimore with cannon, so that our road to the capital will be free. Trust no Southern man who is a Unionist politician. They have played a game with our Peace Conference, and have lulled the North to rest, while the South perfected its traitorous designs.

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

While in the Legislature, it was signified to him that the Colonelcy of one of the early regiments would probably fall to him, if the power to appoint were left with the Executive, although he preferred and suggested another mode. Under no circumstances would he have accepted such a commission at that time. In his own judgment, he was not sufficiently advanced in military science or art, 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 declined promotion actually tendered, on this ground.

The New York Fire Department having made some progress toward recruiting the Second Fire Zouaves, in July, conferred upon him the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the proposed regiment. Subsequently, William R. Brewster, late Major of the Twenty-eighth N. Y. S. M., was chosen Colonel. The regiment was ordered to Washington, where it arrived July 24th, but it was not until the close of August that it joined its brigade, then at Good Hope, Maryland, forming part of Hooker's division. It assisted in building three forts, named, respectively, Carroll, Stanton and Greble, to command the approaches to Washington from the south. This regiment, at this time known as Fourth Excelsior, Second brigade. Hooker's division, was afterwards designated by the State of New York, as the Seventy-third Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry.

The winter was spent mainly in performing picket duty. It was found necessary to change the locality of the camp frequently. The roads were not only rendered impassalile by frequent rains, but it was difficult to find firm ground enough on which to drill the soldiers. During these seasons of discomfort, a deep attachment was growing between the regiment and its Lieutenant Colonel, and was often manifested by significant tokens of respect and gratitude. At one time he writes: "Our regiment never looked as well as it did to-day, on inspection. I love it. Its wild boys are full of ardor and activity, and are growing out of their careless "ways. The prospect of active service has brightened them up, and they are becoming ambitious to look well. Contact and contrast with other troops will stimulate them to excel, and they can if they try." His knowledge of the most potential means to influence men—the result of his almost intuitive perceptions, and long continued use of such appliances on a more peaceful theatre, served him efficiently in his new sphere of action. With an undoubting conviction that the best interests of the public service were identical with those of the regiment, he indulged the humane impulse of his nature while he executed the suggestions of his best judgment, and strengthened while he made more acceptable his naked military right to command, by investing it with appeals and claims to obedience that were neither legal nor technical, but stronger than either. He earned their regard and conhdence, by kind and considerate treatment, and was rewarded by an alacrity and cheerfulness of obedience, which is always yielded to power 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 the incidents of every day, while he held his place in the regiment; and never more touchingly than on the last, when some of his "wild boys" preferred to share the horrors of a rebel prison, rather than desert him in his helplessness on the field of Williamsburg.

Early in April, the Seventy-third proceeded with its brigade to take part in such operations of the siege of Yorktown as were committed to the charge of Heintzelman's corps, to which it was attached; such operations comprising a principal share of the entire labor of investment. Though greatly fatigued and worn by severe picket and trench duty, the Seventy-third was vivacious enough to be the first to plant its colors on the ramparts of Yorktown, on the morning of Sunday, May 4th, 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 grave contingencies inevitable to the issue he anticipated, he wrote his mother: "I am pained to learn that so much apprehension 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, as 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 opportunity will be given me to furnish unmistakable evidence that I am animated by the noblest sentiments—that I can resign life that I love, that my country may again enjoy the blessings of peace and the development of its beneficent principles of government. 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 periled 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 Williamsburg, within the second line of works above Yorktown. 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 Tuesday, May 4, Hooker's division started in pursuit. The second 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, the men drenched, weary, hungry and cold. At six a. m., Monday, 5th, the rain still falling in torrents, the pursuit was resumed, and about 7-1/2 a. m. the first and third brigades encountered the enemy. The second brigade (Excelsior) was posted in reserve, and the first and third 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 which the origin and conduct of the battle of Williamsburg gave rise; but of facts which appear clear through the smoke and dust of the contention, it may not be improper to record one or two. Hooker's division was left without support from early morning until nearly nightfall, to contend with a vastly more numerous force, protected by formidable defences, while General Sumter was aware of the situation, and his corps of thirty thousand men was lying 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 general, McClellan, not arriving on the field until near the close of the battle. Hooker lost one in six—a loss proportionate to that of the allied armies at the Alma, the bloodiest battle in modern European history. The Excelsior brigade went into action with about two thousand four hundred men, and lost seven hundred and seventy-three, 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; hence the desperateness of the fighting. The Seventy-third and the Seventy-fourth 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 Lieut. Col. Benedict was taken prisoner. Col. Brewster, of his regiment, wrote: "From the position in which I last saw him, which was upon the extreme left of the regiment, when we were driven back some time before the ribht 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 Lieut. Col. Benedict was taken. It is in the densest heart of the abatis, and close in front of the rifle pits. The bark of the trunks and branches of the trees is chequered white with musket balls and grape. The idea prevailing in his regiment is, that he got to the front; that a charge drove his men back, and he was captured for his exchangeable value instead of being killed." His own account, written from Libby prison, was: "My horse was wounded early in the fight, though I rode him some time afterward. After I dismounted, we made our way into the felled timber, and, when our line was broken, I was taken prisoner."

A principal cause of his capture became known afterwards. While in Maryland, his horse had fallen with him, seriously injuring his foot and ankle. He was unable to walk without support when he went into action at Williamsburg, and the general judgment 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 well, 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 was studded with rifie pits, was more than four hundred feet in breadth, and when he and his men were overwhelmed by the enemy, it presented an insurmountable barrier to his retreat. There is reason to believe that some who were captured with him might have escaped, as others 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 parol, a slip of paper containing these words: " Good bye and good luck to the Seventy-third New York prisoners! It pleases me more to have you free, than it would to be released myself; for I know that 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 would allow. On his way thither, he was fortunate enough to be in the custody of humane and placalbe foes, who, in consideration of his inability to walk, suffered him to ride on horseback. The condition of affairs within the enemy's lines inspired him with something stronger than hope—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 ninth, he found himself, with many other Union officers, in the Rebel Capital, shut up in a filthy pork-packing establishment, since recognized and cursed as the Libby prison. Here he was first insulted and plundered.

A natural consequence of the physical exertions compelled by the exigencies of the battle and the capture, was, that the injured foot and ankle became immoderately swollen, and the seat of excruciating pain. It was always 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 wdiom were well known to him, who seemed to forget their own misery in assiduous attempts to alleviate his.

Under an expectation that the Union forces would take possession of the city, which the army of treason felt constrained to abandon, the rebel authorities, on the fifteenth of May, hurried the Union prisoners from this den to Salisbury, North Carolina. They were transported on uncovered platform cars, rudely fitted with rough board benches. Thus they were exposed at every point on the route, where there was rabble enough to deride and insult them. The place to which they were now transported, was found to be a much more healthful locality, 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 regulations, the prisoners were allowed to take air and exercise. Another grateful improvement upon the regime at Richmond was, that their rebel custodians exhibited some decency of demeanor, and although the fare was both meagre and scanty, supplies could be obtained from without by the payment of exorbitant prices.

Under date of June 28, 1862, writing from this prison, he said: "I have nothing agreeable to commnnicate, except that I continue in good health. Our hopes are raised on the slightest rumor or remotest incident, that we shall be soon paroled or exchanged; but we are constantly disappointed. This produces various effects upon those confined here. * * * I belong to another class, who, adopting the philosophy 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 a thought than I should be in nourishing the conceits of an exaggerated self-importance."

The bitterest element in the cup of his captivity touched his lips, when it was nearly drained and was 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 by his release. More than a month before the sorrowful intelligence penetrated his prison, his father, whom he revered as well as loved, had died.

Under a cartel, he left Salisbury en route for the Union lines. Arriving opposite to Richmond, the prisoners were turned out on Belle Isle, and left to pass the night on the bare ground without shelter of any sort. This exposure of debilitated men to the damps and chills of the night, entailed consequences not immediately apparent. Thence they were taken to the Libby prison, well remembered by most of them for its filthiness and discomfort, which they found in a far more loathsome and pestilential condition than when they left it. The sick and wounded of our army, whose low condition 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 in the coarse prison rations, wretched in quality and wholly insufficient in quantity. This sorrowful sight so affected the exchanged officers, that they contributed money, and divested themselves of blankets, overcoats, and indeed of all their surplus clothing, for the relief of their suffering countrymen.

Under the impression that, in care of Federal authorities, shelterless nights in transitu from Richmond to Washington needed not to be provided against, he had devoted his last overcoat to the service of the sick and naked of Libby prison. He found himself, however, on a damp, misty night, on the open deck of the U. S. transport, on the James river, with insufficient clothing, afraid to lie down, and too weak to stand up. What wonder, then, that he sunk down where 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 other casualties of the war combined.

On the 20th of August he reached Washington. The effect upon his mind, of his southern experience and observation, is quite apparent in some statements extracted from him by reporters, and published at the time. " Col. 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 others too, that are with him, say, that the harshest measures towards the rebels are the best. He spurns conciliation, and cries, 'War to the knife,' He believes in emancipation as a means of crushing the rebellion. The slaves, he says, are all our friends, and show their friendship toward Union prisoners in all safe ways. * * * The confiscation and emancipation act is, in Col. Benedict's judgment, the most terrible weapon 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 Department, he received leave of absence for thirty days, in order to visit his home. On Saturday evening, August 23d, he reached Albany. In anticipation of his coming, his townsmen had arranged to receive him in a manner strikingly expressive of their approliation of bis conduct, and sympatliy with his sufferings, as well as their satisfaction at his return. The orator chosen for the occasion, his cherished friend, Hon. Lyman Tremain, with words of welcome on his lips, was in waiting with a numerous array of friends; but when he emerged from the car, trembling 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. His long subjection to the influence 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 burning with fever, and was at once carried home. It required skillful treatment and assiduous nursing to enable him to execute his fixed purpose, to return to the service at the earliest practicalde moment.

During this confinement, Gov. Morgan, in the kindest manner, tendered him the Colonelcy of the One Hundred and Sixty-second N. Y. V. Infantry, then in process of being recruited. His resignation of the Lieut. Colonelcy of the Seventy-third New York, was accepted, to qualify him to receive this promotion; and his exchange was announced, officially, September 30, 1862. On the 9th of September, though still quite infirm, he had proceeded to New York, to supervise the concerns of the new regiment. This was the third, raised under the patronage of the Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police. By the latter part of October, his regiment had attained proportions to entitle it to take the field; and for that purpose, on the 24th of that month, it was ordered to Washington. After spending some time in various camps in the vicinity of the city, he was directed to embark it at Alexandria, Virginia, for Fortress Monroe, the rendezvous of the forces assembled for what is commonly called the Banks Expedition.

To a brother he wrote: " I shall merit a good fate, if earnest endeavors will secure it; at any rate, I will always be consoled by knowing that warm hearts will exult in my honorable etforts, 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 subugation of secession—I will be coniident 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 entirety, of the authority of the Government, my life, and that includes all, is at the service of the Union, but not one hair of my head wall be given voluntarily for any modilication of it."

He sailed from Hampton Roads, December 3d, under sealed orders, not to be opened before approaching the mouth of the Mississippi; and 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 ordered to disembark his men at Camp Parapet, some eight miles above, and assume command of the post, which was garrisoned by several regiments and batteries.

About the 10th of January, 1863, he was ordered with his regiment to Donaldsonville, some sixty miles above New Orleans, to hold that place, while Gen. 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 Weitzel's absence in that quarter, might gain his rear, thus endangering him and our possession of the Mississippi river. Col. Benedict remained at Donaldsonville until the 25th, when Weitzel, having accomplished 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 since 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 commanders much besides professional duty. In so disturbed a state of society, military vigilance could not be relaxed, 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 mind; for there was neither code to prescribe, nor precedent to follow. He was fortunate enough, in this difficult position, to satisfy his superiors, by his diligence in military matters, and by his discretion in such affairs as were rather civil and administrative in character.

Having suffered acutely for many weeks from an ailment, to be relieved only by a difficult surgical operation, on the 6th of March he obtained leave of absence to go north, to receive proper surgical treatment.

He arrived in New York March 16th, and at once underwent the needed operation, convalescing so rapidly that he reembarked April 23d, and joined his regiment May 11th at Alexandria, La. He had barely landed, however, and was receiving the congratulations of his friends, when he was knocked down by a frightened horse and his leg so injured that he was obliged to return to the boat, and remain in it while it made a trip to Brashear city and back.

His march to Alexandria was said to be a ruse on the part of Gen. Banks to induce the rebels to believe Shreveport was his objective point. On the 17th, the army retraced its steps to Cheneyville, and thence made a forced march to Semmesport, on the Atchafalaya, about ten miles from the Red river. At this point Col. Benedict came up with the army and took command of the brigade. The troops moved up the Atchafalaya to its source and the junction of the Red 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 the One hundred and tenth N. Y., two companies of cavalry, and a section of the Sixth 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 seen on the banks of the Fausse river, from which the point obtains its name. From its relative position, Port Hudson invested, this locality 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, beside offering a very eligible location for batteries. To prevent such or any use of it by the rebels was the duty he was sent 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 headquarters. His position was frequently shelled out without serious results, though some very narrow escapes were experienced.

Under orders he yielded this command to Gen. Sage, of the One hundred and tenth N. Y., and proceeded to join his regiment before Port Hudson, arriving in his camp June 13th, in the evening. He was immediately put in command of the One hundred and seventy-fifth N. Y., Col. Bryan, the Twenty-eighth Maine and Forty-eighth Mass., which, together with his own regiment, One hundred and sixty-second K Y., under Lieut. Col. Blanchard, constituted the Second brigade of the Second division of the Nineteenth corps, under command of Gen. Dwight. At twelve o'clock that night orders were issued for an attack at day-break by the entire line of investment. At one a. m. Col. 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 sallyport, and that the enemy's works were then quite practicable, Gen. Dwight ordered the left to assault at that point. By some miscarriage, orders failed to reach the Twenty-eighth Maine, and the brigade went into action with three regiments, numbering only five hundred and eighty-two men.

The attack was commenced by the First brigade, under Col. Clark, of the Sixth Mich., which in a few moments was thrown into disorder. Gen. Dwight then ordered Col. Benedict to advance his brigade to the assistance of Col. Clark, and to make the attack "in column of companies." On reaching the open ground, which rose gently towards 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 cross-fire of artillery that was almost insupportable. Still, he urged the column on, passing Clark's brigade, to the verge opposite to the sally-port, only, however, to find himself confronted hy a ravine between him and the enemy's works, made impassable by felled timber, and exposed to a withering fire of all arms. He halted the colnmn and ordered the men to seek cover—retreat threatening annihilation, while further advance was absolutely impracticable. Coolly surveying the hostile works from the brink of the ravine, he retraced the perilous road, for being without an aid for the purpose, he was compelled to report in person the critical situation of his command to Gen. DwiGPiT, 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 in this life by any who shared or witnessed them. From morning until 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 manner of the fighting. The casualties were numerous and severe. It was in this advance that the brave Col. Bryan, of the One hundred and seventy-fifth N. Y., fell. The One hundred and sixty-second N. Y., his own regiment, which led the brigade, lost, in killed, wounded and missing, fifty-one out of one hundred and seventythree in action. Major James H. Bogart was among the killed.

At seven p. m. the brigade was withdrawn. The calm bravery displayed by Col. Benedict on this occasion attracted much notice, and excited the admiration of all who beheld it; and partial as may be the pen that records this memorial of it, it is exceeded in strength of eulogy by many less interested commentators. An officer's letter to a friend says: " 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 second 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 anything more until I heard Col. Benedict say, 'Up men, and forward.' I looked and saw the regiments lying flat to escape the fire, and Col. Benedict standing there, the shot striking on every side about him, and he never flinching. It was grand to see him. I wish I was of iron nerve as he." Adjutant Meech, of the Twenty-sixth Conn., writing to his friends, says: "I saw Col. Benedict standing just in front of me, when I was wounded, on the edge of the ravine, looking intently at the rebel works, while the bullets and shells were flying about pretty thick. He walked to the rear as composedly as if out for a stroll."

The following day, June 15th, Gen. Banks called for a thousand volunteers to form a column to storm the enemy's works. Ofiicers who might lead the column were assured of promotion; and all, both ofiicers 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 Col. Lewis Benedict. Col., now Gen., Birge, of Mass., volunteered, and by virtue of seniority was assigned to command the First battalion of the stormers. Col. Benedict volunteered to lead the Second battalion, and his offer was accepted. The fall of Vicksburg, however, constrained the rebel Gen. 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 army. The safety of these stores, upon which that of the army depended, became imperiled by the aggressions of Logan's cavalry, and some small successes, in the way of plundering and burning, and it was apprehended that they might invite serious attacks by larger bodies of the enemy. The Second brigade having become reduced by casualties and details to a single battalion, Col. Benedict was relieved of that command and ordered to the protection of this important depot soon after the battle of the 14th of June. He had just completed a parapet for that object when the surrender of Port Hudson took place. He was in attendanie on the ceremonies of that surrender, and thus described some objects of peculiar interest to him, which the occasion gave him opportunity to observe: " We entered the works by the road over which we advanced to assault them on the 14th of June; and, as I rode along, I congratulated myself that our progress then had been checked, although the storm of grape and bullets cost my brigade the lives of more than a hundred of its best men, a Colonel, a Major and several other valuable officers. A glance at the ground showed that our assault must have heen 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, Col. 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 at New Orleans, Gen. Banks reorganized the army of the department. The One hundred and sixty-second N. Y., One hundred and tenth N. Y., One hundred and sixty-fifth N. Y. and Fourteenth Maine were constituted the First brigade, Third division of the Nineteenth army corps, and Col. Benedict was assigned to command it.

He reached his command at Baton Rouge September 1st, and on the 4th sailed in the R. C. Winthrop from New Orleans for the place of rendezvous for the vessels of an expedition, which was otf Berwick Bay. The land forces consisted of the Nineteenth Corps, and the transports were conveyed by a naval force, consisting of four light draft gunboats, the Clifton, Arizona, Granite City and Sachem, the whole under command of Maj. Gen. W. B. Franklin. It turned out that the object of the expedition was to capture and occupy Sabine City, at the mouth of the river of that name. The entire fleet was directed to make Sabine Pass by midnight of the 7th, in order that the attack might be made early on the morning of the 8th. This was not accomplished, however, for, owing to the absence of the blockading vessel, which was relied on to indicate the point, the fleet ran by in the night, and thus necessitated a change of both the time and manner of the attack, which finally took place on the evening of the 8th. The Pass proved to be sufiiciently fortified, and was defended with audacity 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 equally to the sorrow and disappointment of a multitude of 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 of operations.

Col. 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 Nineteenth 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 operations 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 Nineteenth Corps moved to Vermillionville.

Here it was reported to Maj. Gen. Franklin that the enemy was concentrating forces at or near Carrion Crow Bayou, and for the purpose of determining their numbers and position, he directed Gen. A. L. Lee to make a reconnoissance with all his available cavalry. The cavalry division, comprising two brigades of eight hundred each, started from Vermillionville for the Bayou in question, distant twelve miles, due north, at 6.30 a. m., November 11th, and soon commenced driving back the pickets of the enemy to their reserve of six hundred. A running fight then ensued for some six or eight miles, ending In Gen. Lee's charging them vigorously, and driving them back in confusion to a dense wood. Nimm's Light Battery of Flying Artillery was quickly brought up, and after it had shelled the woods, Gen. Lee advanced his whole force, in line of battle through the woods, and found the enemy drawn up in like order on the opposite side of a prairie, about two miles broad, numbering, as nearly as could be estimated, some seven thousand. Seeing that he was outnumbered four to one, and having accomplished the obect of his reconnoissance, Gen. Lee 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 First (Col. Lucas) brigade to protect the left, while the General in person remained with the main column in the road.

Col. Benedict had been ordered to advance his brigade about a mile beyond Vermillion Bayou, and hold himself in readiness to support Gen. Lee. After being in position an hour, he received a request from the General that he would advance upthe road. About four miles up he was met by a message, that Gen. Lee was retreating before a superior enemy, and directing him to take a position where his force would be masked, in order to give Gen. Lee an opportunity to turn and make a dash at the enemy's cavalry. Col. Benedict selected for this purpose the east side of a prairie, about twelve hundred rods wide, posting the men in the ditches—Nimm's battery in the rear of the left flank, and Trull's in the rear of the right, a position in which his eight hundred and odd could withstand five thousand. Gen. Lee retired behind the 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 suftering severely. Then failing in an attempt to out-flank, they sought the cover of the fences and retired. Col. Benedict's brigade was so well protected that it had but one killed and four wounded.

November 15th the army left Vermillionville, encamping for the night near Spanish lake, and the next day marched to New Iberia, where it remained in quarters until the close of the year. Col. B.'s brigade held the post of honor on the march, acting rear guard to 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 occupied by the enemy. A detachment was at once sent out, which surprised in their beds, and captured more than one hundred and twenty rebels.

January 2d, 1864, he arrived at Franklin, La., where the army was concentrated. Here was organized what is known and generally deplored as the Red River Expedition. Col. Benedict was assigned to the command of the Third brigade of the First division of the Nineteenth army corps. Maj. Gen. Franklin commanded the corps. Brig. Gen. Emory the division.

March 15th the division moved to enter upon the Red River campaign, traversing the rich flats of Lower Louisiana, and skirmishing slightly on the way; on the 25th it reached Alexandria, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles. On the 27th the march was continued to Natchitoches, where the army encamped on the 31st, and awaited the arrival of the provision transports. Gen. Banks and Com. Porter, with his fleet, were at Grand Ecore, fourmiles above. A reconnoissance having ascertained the strength and position of the enemy at and beyond Pleasant Hill, with sufficient accuracy, as was thought, the entire army marched from Natchitoches on the morning of April 6th. After an exhausting march through rain and mud. Col. Benedict's brigade arrived at Pleasant Hill on the evening of the 7th, and bivouacked, the wagons not having come up. At eight 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 eleven miles northwest of Pleasant Hill. Hence it was summoned to Sabine Cross Roads, to cover the retreat of the cavalry and the Thirteenth corps, which had been routed, and to check the advance of the enemy. The brigade was scarcely in position when it received the fire of the enemy, who, encouraged by previous successes, came on, as if already the field was won. They were received, however, by such a fire as put further advance out of the question, although they continued the attack with great bravery and perseverance, at a great cost of life. The maintenance of his position by Emory was indispensaible to the safety of the army, of which emergency the enemy appeared to be as conscious as himself. Hence their desperate determination to turn his left, held by Col. Benedict's brigade. One vigorous etfort that was made towards night, was so bloodily repulsed, that the rebels not only recoiled but fled, leaving their dead and wounded where they fell. In this repulse the One Hundred and Sixty-second New York and the One Hundred and Seventy-third New York were mainly instrumental, and it closed the fighting at this point. Col. Benedict was much commended for the effective manner in which he handled his brigade.

"From Pleasant Grove, where this action occurred, to Pleasant Hill," says Gen. Banks in his official report, "was fifteen miles. It was certain that the enemy, who was within reach of reinforcements, would renew the attack in the morning, and it was wholly uncertain whether the command of Gen. 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, Gen. Emory covering the rear, burying the dead, bringing off the wounded and all the material of the army.

"It arrived there at 8.30 on the morning of the 9th, effecting a junction with the forces of Gen. Smith and the colored brigade under Col. Dickey, which had reached that point the evening previous. Early on the 9th the troops were prepared for action, the movements of the enemy indicating that he was on our rear. A line of battle was formed in the following order: First brigade, Nineteenth corps, from the right resting on a ravine; Second brigade in the centre, and Third brigade on the left. The centre was strengthened by a brigade of Gen. Smith's forces, whose main force was held in reserve. The enemy moved towards our right flank. The Second brigade withdrew from the centre to the support of the First brigade. The brigade in support of the centre moved up into position, and another of Gen. Saiith'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 four and five o'clock it increased in vigor, and about five p. m., 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 Third brigade, Nineteenth corps. Alter a determined resistance, this part of the line gave way and went slowly back to the reserves. The First and Second brigades were soon enveloped in front, right and rear. By skillful movements of Gen. Emory, the flank of the two brigades, now bearing the brunt of the battle, was covered. The enemy pursued the brigades, passing the left and centre, until he approached the reserves under Gen. Smith, when he was met by a charge led by Gen. 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."

A New Englandman, an officer in one of the New York regiments, thus describes the battle: "The eneny, finding a strong force on our right and centre, massed a heavy body of troops on our left, where our division (First) lay, and about five p. m. drove in our skirmishers. We immediately lay down, and waited for them to come out of the woods. Just as they arrived at the edge of them, they halted and gave a most hideous yell—such as Texans 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 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 seeing 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 frightened 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 battery and took it, but to their sorrow; for our infantry opened upon them in such a terrific cross-fire, that they fell like grass before the scythe, and what was left fell back. It was now so dark that it was impossible to distinguish one side from the other, and the fighting ceased. * * * If they had fired a little lower while we were lying in the valley, they would have killed or wounded one-half of our brigade. Another officer, a Captain, in connection with this latter statement of opinion, 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 on the knoll in our rear."

Maj. Gen. Franklin writes: "Col. Benedict came to my headquarters, about 12 m. on the 9th, 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 it was made." Some merits of the new position are developed by the preceding extracts; but a further obvious advantage may be stated. The whole of the woods in front, and the slope to the ditch at the bottom, were left free and clear to be shelled by the artillery without the slightest peril to the brigade lying among 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 critical a moment, appears remarkable, 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 cultivated, but was then overgrown with weeds and bushes—many of the latter were the red rose of Louisiana. The moderately elevated centre of the field, from which the name Pleasant Hill was derived, is merely a longmound 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 semicircularly on the side towards Shreveport, and out of which the attacking forces came. The ditch and its fringe of shrubbery, while it afforded some cover, presented little obstruction to the passage of troops. The front of the position occupied by Col. 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 there the rebels would be fought; and when some dissent was expressed, it was afterwards remembered that he argued the probability almost with vehemence. Whether this impression was merely the result of his military perception of the fitness of the place, or one of those shadows said to be cast before coming events, it is not now worth while to consider; but certain it was, he was doomed to illustrate in his own body, either the soundness of his judgment or the correctness of his apprehension.

In the conflict on the slope, and perhaps in the melee of that critical moment, when the reinforced enemy caused our line to hesitate and even 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 of the southwest, Col. Benedict fell.

It was only by the prompt activity of one of his officers that his body, pierced by five balls, was rescued from the field. Capt. Samuel Cowdrey, of the One Hundred and Sixty-second, aided by one man, conveyed it to a building, for the time appropriated to the uses of a hospital, and delivered it to the Surgeon in charge. Lieut. Van Wyck, of the deceased Colonel's staff, was detailed to deliver it to the family of Col. Benedict, which service he performed with equal tenderness 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 interment. In the discharge of this duty, it returned with the body on April 30th, and in deference to the wishes of his famil, 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.

On Monday, May 2d, 1864, his shattered body, followed by sad hearts and weeping eyes, was removed from the dwelling of his mother to the house of the Lord; whence, after appropriate religious services and an eloquent commemorative address, with becoming civic and military honors, and many impromptu manifestations of private regard and public respect, it was borne on its last earthly pilgrimage to the Albany Cemetery. There, he was laid forever to rest, within the shadow of his father's monument; around him, "his martial cloak," covered with the dust of battle, rent by bullets and stiffened by his blood.

The foregoing Sketch is mainly extracted from a Memorial, prepared for the use of the family of Col. Benedict, to which access has been kindly permitted. The following Letters have been received from distinguished Generals of our Army who knew Col. Benedict, and can speak of him from personal knowledge:

Washington, October 14, 1864

My Dear Colonel: * * * I knew Col. Benedict well, and was near his brigade when he fell. He died bravely and nobly in a battle which was terrific in its progress, and where our success saved the army, the fleet, and gave us the continued possession of the Mississippi and New Orleans. Had we failed at Pleasant Hill, we could not have maintained our power with the loss of the army and fleet of gunboats.

Col. 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,
Major General Commanding

To Col. N. N. Lee Dudley
Portland, Me., July 25, 1864

My Dear Sir: * * * I was quite intimate with your brother, Col. Lewis Benedict, of the One Hundred-and Sixty-second New York Regiment. He was under my command from August, 1863, until the time of his death. I, like 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 Nineteenth Corps.

He retained command of this brigade on the march from Franklin to Alexandria and Natchitoches, and commanded 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 headquarters about twelve 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 toward saving the day.

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

There was one universal expression of sorrow among all his comrades when it became certain that he was killed. He had endeared himself to all of them. I am sorry that I am able to give you no more reminiscences 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 respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Major General U. S. Volunteers

Henry M. Benedict, Esq., Albany, N. Y.

Head Quarters Nineteenth Army Corps,
Camp Russell, Va., November 29, 1864

Henry M. Benedict, Esq.:

Dear Sir—We are still in the field, and I do not know that this compaign, 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 opportunity to refer to the statistics of his military history. Under these circumstances, 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 Red River Campaign, where, on account of his well known gallantry and high character as an officer, I selected him to command a brigade. 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 Third Brigade, First Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, during the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, where we were brought into action after the Thirteenth Corps and the Cavalry had been routed; and he there aided in checking and driving 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, very truly yours,
W. H. EMORY, Brig. Gen.

Dover Mines, Goochland County, Va.
March 15, 1866

Henry M. Benedict, Esq.

Dear 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 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 affection of those with whom he was associated.

His presence in the command always gave me both confidence and pleasure; and his death was to me the most saddening personal event of the campaign in which he fell. In this feeling, I believe all in the Army of the Gulf participated.

With great respect, I am, dear sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Formerly Brig. Gen. and Chief of Staff, Dep't of the Gulf

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