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Encyclopedia > Frederick Benteen
Frederick Benteen circa 1865
Frederick Benteen in his later years
Frederick Benteen in his later years

Frederick William Benteen (August 24, 1834-June 22, 1898) was a military officer during the American Civil War and then during the Black Hills War against the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne. He was in command of a battalion of the 7th U. S. Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links pd portrait image of Frederick Benteen File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1834 (MDCCCXXXIV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... The Black Hills War was a United States civil war between the Lakota Native American tribe and the United States government from 1876 until 1877. ... Eddie Plenty Holes, a Sioux Indian photographed about 1899. ... Cheyenne lodges with buffalo meat drying, 1870 The Cheyenne are a Native American nation of the Great Plains, closely allied with the Arapaho and loosely allied with the Lakota (Sioux). ... The 7th United States Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry unit, whose lineage traces back to the late 19th century. ... Combatants Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho United States Commanders Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse George A. Custer â€ , Marcus Reno, Frederick Benteen, James Calhoun â€  Strength 949 lodges (probably 950-1,200 warriors) 31 officers, 566 troopers, 15 armed civilians, ~35-40 scouts Casualties At least 54 killed, ~168 wounded (according to Sitting Bull...

Contents

Early life and career

Frederick Benteen was born August 24, 1834, in Petersburg, Virginia to Theodore Charles Benteen and his wife Caroline (Hargrove) Benteen. Benteen's ancestors had emigrated to America from Holland in the eighteenth century, settling in Baltimore. The family had moved to Virginia from Baltimore shortly after the birth of their first child, Henrietta Elizabeth, in October 1831. Frederick Benteen was educated at the Petersburg Classical Institute, where he was first trained in military drill. His family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1849. In 1856, he became acquainted with Catharine "Kate" Louisa Norman, a young woman recently arrived in St. Louis from Philadelphia. is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1834 (MDCCCXXXIV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Nickname: Location in the State of Virginia Coordinates: , Country United States State Virginia County Independent city Founded December 17, 1748 Government  - Mayor Annie M. Mickens Area  - City  23. ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ...


The election of Abraham Lincoln as U.S. President in 1860 polarized the country. Theodore Charles Benteen, an ardent secessionist, vehemently opposed his son's associating with Unionists. A family crisis was ignited when Frederick joined the Union Army on September 1, 1861 as a first lieutenant in the 1st Missouri Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. Frederick married Catherine Norman on January 7, 1862 at Saint George's Church in St. Louis. In July 1863, Catherine Benteen gave birth to the couple's first child, Caroline Elizabeth, but the daughter would die before reaching her first year. The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1861 (MDCCCLXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... First Lieutenant is a military rank. ... is the 7th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about 1862 . ...


Benteen participated in numerous battles during the Civil War, for which he was awarded the brevet ranks of major and then lieutenant colonel. Among his engagements were Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Vicksburg and Westport. On February 27, 1864, Benteen was promoted to lieutenant colonel and commander of the 10th Missouri Cavalry. Benteen was mustered out at the war's end in the spring of 1865, and shortly thereafter was appointed to the rank of colonel as commander of a "Buffalo Soldier" regiment, the 138th U.S. Colored Volunteers. He led the regiment from July, 1865 to January, 1866, when it was mustered out. Later that year, he was appointed a captain in the 7th U.S. Cavalry. Meanwhile, the Senate finally approved awards of brevets to distinguished veterans of the Civil War. Benteen received brevets of major for the Battle of Mine Creek and lieutenant colonel for the battle of Columbus. In the US military, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Combatants United States of America State of Missouri Confederate States of America Commanders Nathaniel Lyon Samuel D. Sturgis Franz Sigel Sterling Price Ben McCulloch Strength Army of the West Missouri State Guard and McCulloch’s Brigade Casualties 1,235 1,095 The Battle of Wilsons Creek, also known as... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Samuel R. Curtis Earl Van Dorn Strength Army of the Southwest, 11,000 men Army of the West, 14,000 men Casualties 1,349 (mostly killed and wounded) 4,600 (mostly captured) The Battle of Pea Ridge (also known as... Battle of Vicksburg Conflict American Civil War Date May 18 - July 4, 1863 Place Warren County, Mississippi Result Union victory The Battle of Vicksburg was an American Civil War siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on a well-fortified west-facing cliff on the Mississippi River. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Samuel R. Curtis Sterling Price Strength Army of the Border (22,000) Army of Missouri (8,500) Casualties 1,500 1,500 Cannon at Loose Park. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Saddle and accessories of the Buffalo Soldier. ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... 7th Cavalry Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia The 7th United States Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century. ... Battle of Mine Creek or Battle of the Osage Conflict American Civil War Date October 25, 1864 Place Linn County, Kansas Result Union victory The Battle of Mine Creek,also known as the Battle of the Osage was a calvary battle taking place in Kansas during the American Civil War. ...


In January 1867, Benteen departed for his new assignment with the 7th Cavalry Regiment and it's field commander Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. This would be Benteen's regiment for 16 years. Until 1882, except for periods of leave and detached duty, Benteen commanded Troop H of the Seventh Cavalry. On January 30, 1867, Benteen made a customary courtesy call to the quarters of George Armstrong Custer and his wife Elizabeth. On March 27, 1867, Benteen's wife gave birth to a son in Atlanta. Custer redirects here. ...


On 11 October 1867 a court martial sentenced Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer to suspension from rank and command for one year for leaving his post to see his wife without permission.


Following the Civil War, the Cheyenne Indians represented the greatest threat on the Kansas frontier. In late July 1868, Benteen led an expedition to provide security for the Indian agents near Fort Larned. On August 10, 1868, 200 Cheyenne warriors under Roman Nose massacred more than 100 Kansas settlers - men, women and children. On August 13, Benteen, commanding 30 troopers, encountered a Cheyenne raiding party along the banks of Elk Horn Creek near Fort Zarah. He charged into a force of what appeared to be about fifty warriors. To Benteen's surprise, he then discovered more than 200 Cheyennes raiding a ranch. Benteen pursued the Cheyennes without rest until dark, engaging them throughout the day without respite. This first undisputed victory of the 7th Cavalry brought Benteen a brevet to colonel and the adoration of the settlers of central Kansas. For other uses, see Colonel (disambiguation). ...


On October 13, Benteen and his men went to escort a wagon train loaded with weapons and ammunition meant for the regiment. They reached the wagon train just as a war party began to attack. Benteen drove off the warriors, saving the wagon train from capture. Later, the trail of the raiding party would lead the 7th Cavalry to a Cheyenne encampment on the Washita River in the Indian Territory. Indian Territory in 1836 Indian Country redirects here. ...


In response to the continued raids, General Philip Sheridan devised a plan of punitive reprisals. His troops would respond to Indian attacks by entering winter encampments, destroying supplies and livestock, and killing those who resisted. It would include the cavalry moving in the dead of winter through a largely uncharted region and required daring leadership. Sheridan turned to Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who was brought back early from his court-martial and given the mission. Sheridan trusted only Custer with such a deed, and in November 1868 Custer returned to the his regiment under special orders from Sheridan. Philip Henry Sheridan (March 6, 1831 – August 5, 1888) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. ...


On November 23, 1868, Custer left Camp Supply with the 11 companies of the 7th Cavalry, heading towards the Washita River. On November 27, the 7th surrounded a Cheyenne encampment at the river. Just before dawn, Custer launched a four-pronged assault on the village. Combatants United States Cheyenne Commanders George A. Custer Black Kettle†, Little Rock † Strength 7th Cavalry Regiment ~250 warriors and civilians (150 warriors, 100 civilians) [2]. The children were moved by Black Kettle in an other village downstream prior to the battle. ...


Benteen, as captain of H Company, led a squadron of Major Elliott's command during the attack. His horse was shot from under him by a son of Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle. The boy was about fourteen years old and was armed only with a revolver. Benteen called out that the boy's life would be spared if he dropped his weapon. Benteen made the peace sign. In reply, the boy aimed his revolver at Benteen and fired. The bullet missed, so the boy fired again, the bullet passing through the sleeve of Benteen’s coat. The boy then fired a third time, as Benteen continued to make friendly overtures. This bullet hit Benteen’s horse, killing it and pitching Benteen into the snow. When the Indian boy raised his pistol to fire once more, Benteen finally shot him dead.


Custer in his battle report to Sheridan made little reference to his own casualties, failing to mention that he had abandoned Major Joel Elliot and 16 troopers on the battlefield. Benteen wrote to a friend criticizing Custer over this, and the letter was passed to the St. Louis Democrat newspaper without Benteen's permission. On its publication Custer threatened to 'horsewhip' the author, but although Benteen admitted it was his work, Custer never attempted to carry out his threat.


Little Big Horn

During the Little Bighorn (“Sioux”) expedition in 1876, under Custer, Benteen again commanded Company H. Approximately 12 miles from the Little Bighorn River, he was assigned command of a battalion comprising Companies H, D, and K. Although Custer was uncertain of the exact location of the Indians, he assigned Benteen the task of defending the left flank. Benteen searched fruitlessly through rough ground for about two hours before returning to the trail of the main column. As he advanced toward the river, he was met by a messenger from Custer, soon followed by another, indicating that a big village had been found and that Benteen should come ahead. "Big village. Be quick. Bring packs." These packs contained the regiment's ammunition reserve. The Little Bighorn River The Little Bighorn River is a tributary of the Bighorn River in the United States in the states of Wyoming and Montana. ...


When Benteen reached a point overlooking the river, he encountered the battalion commanded by Major Marcus Reno. It had been severely routed with heavy casualties in its attack on the Sioux village, and the tattered remains of the battalion struggled to cross the river and climb the bluffs. As Reno's units were still under fire and low on ammunition, and since Reno was technically Benteen's superior officer, Reno ordered Benteen to share his battalion's ammunition with him. Reno was visibly shaken, and his ability to effectually command was diminished. Within a few minutes, loud firing to the north was heard by the men on the bluffs, and the Sioux began to turn away from the Reno/Benteen units and head towards the firing. These volleys signified that Custer was engaged, but to what extent Reno and Benteen had no idea. They did not advance to find out, which would later create a controversy regarding an alledged abandonment of Custer. (General in chief Nelson A Miles made an accusation to that effect.) Marcus Reno Marcus Albert Reno was a career military officer in the American Civil War and in the Black Hills War against the Lakota (Sioux) and Northern Cheyenne. ...


The Lakota and Cheyenne quickly destroyed Custer’s battalion and then turned their attention to Reno and Benteen, driving them back to a position now called the "Reno-Benteen defense site". It was a horseshoe-shaped perimeter on the bluffs near where Reno and Benteen had met. During the next 24 hours, Benteen assumed virtual command. He led two charges which drove the Indians back just as it seemed the soldiers would be overrun. Benteen was wounded in the thumb, and the heel was shot off one of his boots.


Benteen was later criticized for his slow travel between the time he was sent to secure the left and the time he reached the bluffs overlooking the river. However, the route he was ordered to scout is much more rugged terrain than the gently descending North Fork of Reno Creek that Custer's command had ridden down at full gallop.


His decision to remain with Reno, rather than continuing on to seek Custer, was also questioned by critics.


Later activities

Benteen participated in the Nez Perce campaign in 1877, later being brevetted brigadier general on February 27, 1890 for his actions at the Canyon Creek fight, as well as for his earlier actions at the Little Bighorn. He testified at the Reno Court of Inquiry in 1879 in Chicago. Benteen was promoted to major, 9th U.S. Cavalry, in December 1882. In 1887, he was suspended for drunk and disorderly conduct at Fort DuChesne, Utah. He was convicted and faced dismissal from the Army, but President Grover Cleveland reduced his sentence to a one-year suspension. Benteen retired on July 7, 1888, citing disability from rheumatism and heart disease. The Nez Perce (pronounced ) are a tribe of Native Americans who live in the Pacific Northwest region (Columbia River Plateau) of the United States. ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs in Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country State Counties Cook, DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908), the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States, was the only President to serve non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897). ... is the 188th day of the year (189th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the toll-free telephone number see Toll-free telephone number Year 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Frederick Benteen died ten years later on June 22, 1898, leaving his widow Kate and a son Frederick. He was buried in Westwood Cemetery in Atlanta, his pallbearers included Georgia Governor William Y. Atkinson and Charles Collier, the mayor of Atlanta. Benteen's remains were later reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery. is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the state capital of Georgia. ... For other uses, see Governor (disambiguation). ... William Yates Atkinson, the governor of Georgia from 1894 to 1898, was born in Oakland, Georgia, on November 11, 1854. ... Charles A. Collier Categories: American politician stubs | Mayors of Atlanta ... A mayor (from the Latin māior, meaning larger, greater) is the modern title of the highest ranking municipal officer. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


References

  • Evans, D. C. Custer's Last Fight Volume I, Battle of Little Big Horn. El Segundo, CA: Upton and Sons, 1999
  • Graham, W. W. The Custer Myth Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1986

Further reading

  • Hammer, Kenneth, edited by Ronald H. Nichols, Men with Custer: Biographies of the 7th Cavalry June 25, 1876, Hardin, MT: Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association, 2000.
  • Mills, Charles K., Harvest of Barren Regrets: The Army Career of Frederick William Benteen, 1834-1898, Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1985. ISBN 0-87062-160-2

External links

  • Find-A-Grave profile for Frederick Benteen

  Results from FactBites:
 
Frederick Benteen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1038 words)
Frederick Benteen was born August 24, 1834, in Petersburg, Virginia to Theodore Charles Benteen and Caroline Hargrove Benteen.
Benteen participated in numerous battles during the Civil War, for which he was awarded the brevet ranks of major and then lieutenant colonel.
Benteen participated in the Nez Perce campaign in 1877, later being brevetted brigadier general for his actions at the Canyon Creek fight of that war, as well as for his actions at the Little Bighorn.
Benteen (703 words)
Frederick Benteen died 100 years ago and almost exactly 22 years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in which Lt Col George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry battalion were annihilated by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors on June 25, 1876.
But Benteen's only surviving grand-daughter, Maria Luisa Benteen Steves, 91, and her husband, Myron, 86, who still attend battle conventions, says it's time the sniping halted and the heroism of their most distinguished family member was universally recognised.
Benteen, once described as the "almost ideal cavalry troop commander", retired in 1888 and was brevetted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1890.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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