By W. N. Young
Read before the Bennett Family Reunion, Warren, IN August 31, 1919.
However, there is one trait, one angle, one characteristic, aside from all this, which I think should be of interest to all of us. It is of grandfather Thomas Bennett and his descendants and other relatives of the family as soldiers.
Thomas Bennett belonged to the Militia or North Carolina, more than a hundred years ago; he has often talked to me about his soldier career in the North Carolina Militia. It is also stated in Mr. Heiney’s biography that Thomas Bennett belonged to the Militia. Mr. Heiney also states that he was called out in the ware of 1812 and went as far as Eaton, OH, but was soon discharged, as the threat of an Indian outbreak soon subsided.
Let the solider of today contrast the present day soldier and his armament with that of a NC Militiaman of a hundred years ago.
Thomas Bennett was the father of ten sons and five daughters, as follows: Asa, Christopher, John, Lonis, Nelson, James, David, Michael, Thomas, Mary, Elizabeth, Rebecca Y., Hester and Barbara Bennett.
When the great Civil War, 1861 to 1865 was going on, five of these ten sons enlisted in the Union Army, namely: John, Louis, William, Michael and Thomas. In Heiney’s biography occurs the following statements. “Five of his sons and fifteen of his grandsons were in the service of the country in the late Civil War. Of these sons, one was taken prisoner and died in the infamous Andersville prison. One died of sickness in the army and one was wounded in the battle of Pea Ridge, MO, but lived through the war. The other two are still living. Of the grandsons some were killed in battle, some died of sickness in the army, some were wounded in battle, and some are still living that were not injured while in the army.” Such are the statements.
This was written in March, 1886, dictated by Grandfather Bennett, wholly from memory and while on his death bed.
I desire to correct a couple of errors in the above statements.
First: That one son was taken prisoner and died in Andersonville prison. This could only refer to Louis of G company, 73rd Indiana Infantry. There is no doubt but that he was taken prisoner and confined in that blackest, foulest and most loathsome spot in the whole civil war, Andersonville prison in Georgia. His whole regiment was captured in what is known as the General Streight raid. In fact, it was understood and believed, for nearly fifty years that Louis Bennett died in Andersonville prison, and of course Grandfather Bennett, at the time he dictated the biography to Mr. Heiney, was of the opinion that his son, Lonis, died there. We find, after nearly fifty years, that he died at Huntsville, AL, in February, 1864. For nearly fifty years we had thought that he had died in prison.
Second: That one son was wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge, MO, this is error. It refers to his son, John, who was in the 11th Illinois Infantry. He was wounded about the middle of February, 1862, at Fort Donelson, TN, and not at Pea Ridge. As a matter of fact Pea Ridge is not in MO, but in the northwest corner of Arkansas, where the battle of that name was fought.
I mention these two exceptions, noted in Mr. Heiney’s sketch, not with a view of criticizing its accuracy, but to express the simple facts.
Let us remember that when Grandfather Bennett dictated this biography, he was almost ninety-seven and one half years old, and on his death bed. His physical and mental condition and memory were necessarily impaired.
Sometime in 1862, when I was in the army, I received a letter from Uncle Robert Hendricks, stating that my uncle, John Bennett, was a soldier in the 11th Illinois Infantry, and that he had been wounded at Fort Donelson. I received the same information from members of his family. He, no doubt, served his term of three years in the army.
Louis Bennett enlisted at Logansport, IN, August 16, 1862, and was assigned to G company, 73rd Indiana Infantry, and died at Huntsville, AL, Feb 1864, while yet in the army, having served 18.6 months.
Michael enlisted at Noblesville, IN, July 14, 1862, and was assigned to I company, 75th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged from the service June 6, 1865, having served 34.8 months.
William, enlisted November 11, 1862, and was discharged December 8, 1863, in K company, 54th Indiana Infantry, having served 12.5 months.
Thomas enlisted in Dublin, Indiana, February 27, 1864, and died at Nashville, TN, April 28, 1864, having served two months.
It is stated in his biography that Grandfather Thomas Bennett had fifteen grandsons in the Union Army. I am unable to find more than fourteen namely: Levi and Noah Bennett, sons of Christopher; William H Bennett, son of John; William H and Thomas Bennett, sons of Louis; John R, Thomas, Noah and Andrew J McCormick, sons of Mary (Bennett McCormick; William N (the writer), John L and Thomas J Young, sons of Rebecca Yergin (Bennett) Young; Thomas J and John L Bennett, sons of Asa. In all, fourteen grandsons, I am fuite certain these are all of the grandsons in the Army.
These grandsons served in the army as follows:
Noah Bennett enlisted December 18, 1862, at Cadiz, IN, in – Company, 57th Indiana Infantry, and died at Louisville, KY, January 17, 1862, having served one month.
Levi W Bennett enlisted August 19, 1862, Henry County, Indiana, in I company, 69th Indiana Infantry and was discharged July 5, 1865, by reason of the close of the war, having served 34.5 months.
William H and Thomas J Bennett, sons of Louis, served in G Company, 73rd Indiana Infantry, the same company and regiment their father served in, William H, enlisted at Logansport, IN, August 16, 1862, (the same date his father enlisted) in G Company, 73rd Indiana Infantry, and was discharged for the service July 1, 1865, by reason of the close of the war. I have understood that he was wounded. He died several years ago in Texas. He was in the army 32.5 months.
Thomas J was also a soldier in G Company, 73rd Indiana Infantry, the same company and regiment that his father and brother served in . He enlisted February 9, 1864, and died at Decatur, AL, April 1865, having served 14.5 months.
Thus, we note that of the father and two sons who were soldiers in G Company, 73rd Indiana Infantry, two never returned home, but died while in the army, the father and one son.
John R McCormick was a soldier in I Company, 69th Indiana Infantry, mustered into the service from Henry Co, IN, August 19th, 1862. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Richmond, KY, soon after being mustered into service. He died of wounds August 11th, 1863, received at Vicksburg, Mississippi. His body was buried at Mliken’s Bend, LA, and was afterward reinterred among the unknown dead in the National Cemetery at Vicksburg, Mississippi. It is fitting to state Post No 403, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of IN, located at Cadiz, IN, was named “John R McCormick Post,” in his honor, showing that his comrades of the vicinity in which he lived and was so wll known, thus bestowed upon their dead comrade the highest distinction in their power to confer. He served as a solder 12 months.
Thomas McCormick enlisted at Anderson, IND, August 30, 1862, in K company, 8th Indiana Infantry, and was killed May 21, 1862, at Vicksburg, Mississippi. His remains were buried on the battlefield, and afterwards reinterred among the unknown dead in the National Cemetery, at Vicksburg, Mississippi. He served 8.7 months.
Noah McCormick enlisted in Henry County, IN, August 27, 1861, in C Company, 36th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged from the service at Indianapolis, IN, September 21, 1864, having served 36.8 month. He was wounded at the battle of Shiloh, April 7, 1862, and was discharged as Corporal.
Andrew J McCormick was mustered into the army January 8, 1864, from Henry Co, IN and was assigned to E Company, 8th Indiana Cavalry, and was discharged September 11, 1865. He was captured by the enemy, near Franklin, TN, December 1, 1864. He was held in Cahaba and other prisons until March 1865. He is a survivor of the horrible Sultana disaster, which occurred late in April, 1865. The steamer, Sultana, on the Mississippi River, with about 2400 soldiers on board, mostly exchanged prisoners, suddenly blew up, a few miles above Memphis, TN, and about 1800 of these soldiers were killed by drowning, being scalded and mangled. The subject of this sketch managed to escape by jumping into the water, being rescued ten miles below the wreck. He served 20 months.
William N Young (the writer) enlisted August 28, 1861, at Connersville, IN, in H Company, 36th Indiana Infantry and was discharged as Corporal, with the regiment, at Indianapolis, IN, September 21, 1864, serving 36.8 months. He also enlisted March 16, 1865, in F Company 5th US Veteran Volunteers, and was discharged march 17, 1866, at Hartford, Connecticut, serving 12 months, or in all 48.8 months.
John L Young enlisted at Connersville, IN, December 19, 1863 in A Company, 124th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged at Greensboro, NC August 31, 1865, having been in the army 20.7 months.
Thomas J Young enlisted at Connersville, IN December 19, 1863 in A Company, 124th Indiana Infantry, and died at Altoona, GA June 10, 1864, having served 5.7 months. His remains probably were buried among the unknown dead in the National Cemetery at Marietta, GA. I visited this cemetery, but could find no trace or record of his remains among the known dead.
John L Bennett, son of Asa, enlisted at Logansport, IN, February 9, 1864, in G Company, 73trd Indiana Infantry, and died at Huntsville, AL April 24, 1865, while still in the army, having served 14.5 months.
Thomas Bennett, another son of Asa, was in the army, but I am unable to say what company and regiment he served in, nor how long he was in the army.
William H Bennett, son of John, was a soldier in the 11th Illinois Infantry, the same regiment that his father served in, and I can not say how long he served.
Alva L Young, a great grandson, was a solder in the Spanish-American war. He enlisted at Cumberland, MD May 2, 1898, in C Company, 1st Maryland Infantry, and trained at Pimlico, near Baltimore, MD. His regiment went from there to Camp Meade, near Harrisburg, PA; from there to Camp Mackenzie, near Augusta, GA, where he was discharged, February 28, 1899, having served 9.8 months.
Clifford Hendricks, a great grandson, enlisted in Fort Wayne, IN in 1907, and was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, United States Marine Corps. He trained at Washington DC, served in various parts of the United States and Panama, and was discharged at Washington DC after serving 48 months.
Amos Carl Garretson, a great grandson, served in the World War. He enlisted at Fort Wayne, IN, August 9, 1917, and was assigned to the Aviation Corps, and trained for duty at Fort Thomas, KY. He served with the 802nd Aero Squadron. Landed in England on Christmas Day, 1917; tow weeks later he landed in France; arrived in New York City on his way home, May 26, 1919, and was discharged at Camp Sherman, OH. He was promoted to First Sergeant December 10, 1918, and was discharged as such. He served 22 months.
Pliny M Bennett, a great grandson, served in the World War. He was called into the service June 7, 1917, at Portland, OR, and was assigned to the 8th Reserve Engineers, and afterwards transferred to the 446th Engineers; sailed for overseas August 9, 1917 and landed in France. He left France for home May 16, 1919, arrived in the United States and discharged June 21, 1919. He served 24.5 months.
Norman Quinn, a great grandson, was a soldier in the World War. He enlisted April 17, 1917, at Indianapolis, IN, in the First Field Hospital Corps, trained at Fort Harrison, and in August, 1917, was sent to Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and sailed for France September 17, 1917 and was there transferred to Lightning Division, No 38, and was an ambulance driver. He reached the United States May 27, 1919, and was discharged at Camp Sherman, OH in July 1919, having been in the army 27 months.
Lonis Quinn, a great grandson, a brother of Norman, enlisted at Indianapolis, May 14, 1917, in the Medical Corps, trained at the Great Lakes Naval Station, was transferred from there to the US Ship, Leviathan, April 14, 1918, and served as Third Pharmacist’s mate until discharged in January, 1919. He made seven trips to France, and three trips to England. The Leviathan is the largest ship in the world, and was originally the German Ship, ”Vaterland,” was taken from Germany by the United States. A crew of 2,200 is required to man the ship. Louis served 22 months.
Fred M Cook, a great grandson, was a soldier in the World War. He enlisted at Fort Wayne, IN, July 20, 1917, and was assigned to the 8nd Aero Squadron. He was accidentally killed at Hoboken, NH, while boarding ship to sail overseas. The full particulars and manner of his death are unknown. His remains were sent to Fort Wayne, IN, for burial. He was a solder 4 months.
William Peyton, a great grandson, enlisted January 15. 1918, in the 4th regiment, Air Service, as a motor mechanic, and served to June 17, 1919, in France. He served 17 months.
Howard F Yergin, a great Grandnephew, was called into service from his home in New Castle, IN, March 26, 1918; went to the front in France, July 1918 and was there from July 1918, except that he was in the hospital a short time from the effects of being gassed. He was a corporal and first gunner on a 37 mm gun. He was in the midst of heavy fighting with the 4th division.
Earl V Yergin, a great grandnephew, was called into service from his home in New castle, IN September 21, 1917. He spent a little more than a year at Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in training for his duties as a soldier, and in training other soldiers. Shortly after reaching France he was placed in the Fourth division, the same division to which his brother, Howard F was attached. Thus the two brothers met in France, after having been separated for fourteen months. He was a corporal in the 39th infantry, 4th Division, A.E.F. Army of Occupation, recently stationed near Coblentz, Germany. He served 23 months.
James Kingery enlisted August 19, 1862 in Henry Co, IN in I Company, 69th Indiana Infantry, and died at Milikan’s Bend, LA, April 22, 1863; was buried there and afterwards reinterred in the National Cemetery at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in Section #, grave 1571. He was the husband of Francis McCormick Kingery, a granddaughter, and daughter of Mary Bennett McCormick. He was a solder 8 months.
Samuel H Pressnall enlisted in Henry Co, IN the latter part of August 1861, in C Company, 36th Indiana Infantry and was discharged with the regiment at Indianapolis, IN September 21, 1864. He was the husband of Elizabeth McCormick Pressnall, a granddaughter. He served 36 months.
William Harmon was a soldier in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry. I am not certain as to how long he served, but think it was three years. He is the husband of Sophia Bennett Harmon, a granddaughter, and daughter of John Bennett.
Jerome E Quinn served in the 123rd Illinois Mounted Infantry. I think he served 30 months. He was the husband of Louisa Bennett Quinn, granddaughter, and daughter of John Bennett.
Edward Peyton, was mustered into the service September 25, 1861, in I Company, 74th Ohio Infantry, and served until December 12, 1862. He was the husband of Francis McCormick Kingery Peyton, a granddaughter, and daughter of Mary Bennett McCormick.
Montgomery Gronendyke, a nephew, enlisted August 15, 1862 at Pendleton, IN, in A Company, 8th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged August 15, 1864, at Indianapolis, IN having served 24 months. He also enlisted August 10, 1864, in A Company, 5th Veteran Reserve Corps, and discharged therefrom July 5, 1865, serving in this organization 10.7 months. He is past 91 years of age and now lives at the Soldiers Home, near Marion, IN. It is of interest to note that this soldier was a participant in what is known as the Border Ruffian War, or otherwise known as the Kansas-Nebraska War, which occurred a few years previous to the great Civil War. This border warfare was readily the entering wedge that led to the Civil War. He had two sons in the Spanish-American War, Frank A and Forest Gronendyke.
William B Buck, (or Bock), a nephew, was a soldier in G Company, 84th Indiana Infantry, enlisted August 22, 1862, in Henry County, IN and was discharged June 14, 1865. He served 33.4 months.
Christopher C M Buck, a nephew, enlisted August 19, 1862, in I Company, 69th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged Mrach5, 1863, serving 6.5 months.
Mahlon Hendricks, a half nephew, enlisted in Henry Co, IN August 27, 1861, in C Company, 36th Indiana Infantry and was promoted through the various grades to First Lieutenant. He was a superb soldier and was killed at Kennesaw Mountain, GA June 23, 1864. He served 33 months.
Miles Hendricks, a half nephew, enlisted August 19, 1862, in Henry County, IN in H Company, 69th Indiana Infantry, an was discharged August 18, 1863, on account of disability, having been a soldier 12 months.
Joel Hendricks, a half nephew, served 36 months in the 8th Indiana Infantry.
John A Yergin, a grand nephew, enlisted in D Company, 167th Ohio Infantry, May 2, 1864, and was mustered out with his company September 8, 1864. He was a soldier 4.2 months.
Josephus Lacy, enlisted at Pendleton, IN, August 15, 1862, in A Company, 8th Indiana Infantry, and as I am informed, served 36 months. He died about two years ago at the Central Branch, NHDVS, at Leavenworth, KS. He was the husband of Elizabeth Gronendyke, a niece.
Frank A Gronendyke, a grand nephew, enlisted in the Spanish-American war, at Indianapolis, IN April 26, 1898, in D Company 158th Indiana Infantry, and was discharged November 4, 1898, having served 6.4. months.
Forest Gronendyke, a grand nephew and brother of Frank A, served in the Spanish-American War. I am unable to find the company and the regiment he served in, nor how long he served.
The soldiers above referred to served as follows:
In the Civil War – 32
In the Spanish-American War – 3
In time of Peace – 1
In the World War – 8
Total – 44
Of the 19 sons and grandsons in the Union Army, 8 never returned, 2 sons and 6 grandsons, one was killed, one died of wounds, six died of disease while in the army. Their remains now sleep in the beautiful National cemeteries in the sunny south, where their graves will be kept green as long as the American flag floats.
We find them engaged in battle at Shiloh, Perryville, Stone’s River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face, Knoxville, Dalton, Resaca, Kennesas Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Richmond, KY, Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, Black River, Jackson, Miss., Vicksburg, and other places.
The thirty-two soldiers enumerated above, as being in the Union Army, were a part of an army, greater than the army sent to France by the United States. General Sherman in his memoirs states that five thousand soldiers of all arms, properly apportioned, in marching order, will occupy one mile. Upon such a basis the Union Army marching in review at the rate of fifteen miles per day, would require several days to pass the reviewing stand. One might think the last man would surely be past at the end of ten days. But not so. Let them pass for ten days more and the end is not yet. Let them pass for another ten days and the end is not yet in sight, but requires six days more before the last platoon passes. Such was the magnitude of the great Union Army.
The world has never known such an army. The valor of the boys in gray was equally good, and their fighting qualities of the best. No discount on a fighting Johnny.
There were no deaths in the War With Spain, nor in the World War in the Bennett Family, except the death of Fred Cook.
The thirty-two solders of the Civil War served 688 months or more than 57 years, being an average of 21.5 months.
It has taken the world 5,000 years to get the American flag – the flag that marches on, slowly at this time, yet marching on.
These forty-four soldiers of the Bennett family were all engaged in wars of a righteous character. They offered their all, some gave their all, their lives, the last full measure of devotion.
They did not have any affliction with that detestable animal named the “Slacker”. They were 100 percent American. They “Slacker’ should be made to get mighty lonesome. The person living in this country who is not a genuine American, has no rights that should be respected. He should be made to hunt the tall timber.
You people who are, and have been related to these solders, should be proud of them. A soldier is one who stands between his country and its enemies. All “Slackers” are enemies of our country.
A father who had two sons in the World War writes to me as follows: “We are proud of our two soldier boys and still prouder that we have two soldier boys that can return; they have neither ever asked to be released or ever offered any excuse for not doing their full duty but have always said: “We will stand until peace is sighed, without a word.” What a fine tribute from parents to their solder boys. We can easily understand where these parents and their soldier boys will stand in any future crisis of our country; always with the flag.
Every parent of the boys who fought in France should feel, and no doubt does feel a just pride and admiration for their soldier sons.
Creeds, religions, doctrines, politics and other issues are side issues, and have no place whatever in conflict with opposition to 1000 percent Americanism.
There is a common ground upon which all Americans can and will stand, and that is under the American flag, as did the 44 soldiers of the Bennett family.
Let us all stand there like adamant so that our “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish form the earth”.
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