Brevet Major Benjamin F. Rittenhouse (USA)

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Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Berwick, Columbia, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: March 06, 1915 (75)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Arlington, Arlington, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse and Henrietta Waring Rittenhouse
Husband of Emily (Hurry) K. Rittenhouse and Elizabeth SHAPTER
Father of Norris Rittenhouse; Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse, Jr.; Sterling RITTENHOUSE; Elizabeth Caldwell RITTENHOUSE and Basil Norris RITTENHOUSE
Brother of Henrietta Waring Wilson; Mary Davidson Woods; Helen Murray Rittenhouse; Clementina Crawford Cissil; James Hall Rittenhouse and 7 others
Half brother of Elizabeth Scott RITTENHOUSE; Sarah Emily RITTENHOUSE and Isobel Laurie RITTENHOUSE

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About Brevet Major Benjamin F. Rittenhouse (USA)

Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse (December 15, 1839 – March 6, 1915) was a U.S. Army 1st lieutenant during the American Civil War.

Early life

Rittenhouse was born in Berwick, Pennsylvania to Benjamin Franklin and Henrietta Waring (Davidson) Rittenhouse, the third of nine children. He joined the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War as a 2nd lieutenant in Battery D, 5th United States Artillery commanded by 1st Lieutenant Charles E. Hazlett.


On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Hazlett's Battery (3rd Division, V Corps), consisting of six 3-inch 10-pdr Parrott rifles, was rushed to the top of Little Round Top by Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. Maneuvering the guns by hand up the steep and rocky slope of the hill was a difficult achievement. However, this effort had little effect on the action of July 2. The artillerymen were exposed to constant Confederate sniper fire and could not work the guns effectively. More significantly, they could not depress the guns' barrels sufficiently to defend against incoming infantry attacks. During the intense fighting, Hazlett was mortally wounded and command of the battery passed to Rittenhouse.

BG Henry Hunt, the Union chief of artillery, was with Rittenhouse when the Confederate cannonade of July 3 began. They tried to estimate the number of Confederate guns. Later, Rittenhouse was able to fire into the flank of Pickett's Charge with two guns, enfilading the right of the Confederate force. He remained in command of the battery for the remainder of the war.

In August 1864, Rittenhouse was brevetted to captain and to major in March 1865.

Post-war & personal life

Rittenhouse was married to Elizabeth Shapter (1842–1904) in 1868 and together they had four children: Benjamin Franklin (b. 1869), Sterling (1873–1875), Elizabeth Caldwell (b. 1877 - d. 1904), and Basil Norris (1879–1945). Rittenhouse retired from the United States Army in October 1874 at the rank of captain. He and his wife are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Brevet Major Benjamin F. Rittenhouse (USA)'s Timeline

December 15, 1839
Berwick, Columbia, Pennsylvania, United States
June 26, 1869
Age 29
June 11, 1873
Age 33
Fort Adams,Rhode Island,,,,
May 7, 1877
Age 37
August 15, 1879
Age 39
New Jersey
March 6, 1915
Age 75
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Arlington, Arlington, Virginia, United States