Colonel of the 37th & 34th Mississippi Infantry Regiments
Mortally wounded in action during the Atlanta campaign
(1820-64) Born in Williamson County, Tennessee, he was the nephew of U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton. He later settled in Holly Springs, Mississippi where he became a prominent lawyer, politician, and publisher of The Mississippi Times newspaper. He served in the Mississippi State Legislature and was a member of the 1861 secession convention where Mississippi voted to secede from the Union. When war broke out in early 1861, he served as captain of the old 9th Mississippi Infantry, a 12 months regiment. Elected colonel of the 37th Mississippi Infantry in early 1862, later reorganized as the 34th Mississippi Infantry, he served under General Earl Van Dorn during the Corinth, Miss. campaign, and the battle of Shiloh, Tenn., where Benton and his regiment earned high praise. The 34th Mississippi Infantry then accompanied General Braxton Bragg's army to Chattanooga, Tennessee in July 1862, then in August they joined Major General William J. Hardee's Corps in Middle Tennessee, and into Kentucky, where they fought at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky. The 34th again fought gallantly but at a great cost. Benton was wounded, and his lieutenant colonel and major were both permanently disabled. After recovering from his wounds, Benton was back in command at the Battle of Lookout Mountain, where the regiment was on the picket line at the base of the mountain. The 34th was overrun by four columns of Union infantry, and around 200 men were captured. In the Atlanta Campaign, he commanded the 29th, 30th and 34th Mississippi Infantry Regiments at the Battle of Alt's Gap, then the 34th in Major General Edward C. Walthall's brigade at the Battle of Resaca. The brigade was flanked by Union artillery, and the war has few if any cases of greater losses (unit-proportional) by artillery fire than Walthall's Brigade at Resaca. But the brigade was immovable and gallantly defended the position for two days. When Major General Walthall was promoted to division command, Colonel Benton was given command of the brigade. At the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864, while commanding the brigade, he was severely wounded in the chest by a shell fragment and wounded in the right foot, causing the loss of his leg. He died six days later at a hospital in Griffin, Georgia. He had been promoted to brigadier general two days before his death, but the promotion never reached him before he died.
Antique silver print photograph, 2 3/8 x 3 3/8. Chest up view in Confederate uniform. No imprint. Circa early 1900's. Scarce general to find any photographs of.