Brig. General Henry Washington Benham (USA)

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Brig. General Henry Washington Benham (USA)'s Geni Profile

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Henry Washington Benham

Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: CT, USA
Death: June 1, 1884 (71)
New York, NY, USA
Place of Burial: Washington D.C., DC, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Jared Benham, Jr and Rebecca Hill
Husband of Elizabeth Ann Andrews McNeil
Father of Elizabeth Maria Benham; Lilla Marion Benham; Henry McNeil Benham and Henry Hill Benham

Managed by: Private User
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About Brig. General Henry Washington Benham (USA)

Benham Family papers can be found at (info also on Gen John McNeil,Frederick Dielman, John C Fremont, Jefferson Davis, George B McClellan, and Edwin M Stanton. Are also of value to students of military & engineering history,cartography,the Mexican War, the Civil War, and family history of the nineteenth century.

Henry Washington Benham was born Apr 8,1813 in Connecticut, son of Jared Benham Jr and Rebecca Hill. After a year at Yale College in 1832 he was appointed to the US Military Academy. He graduated 1st in his class and was promoted to brevet 2nd lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.

From 1837 until the beginning of the Mexican War, he served as assistant engineer for repair and improvement of fortifications along the Atlantic seaboard. He was wounded at the Battle of Buena Vista in 1847 and cited for meritorious conduct. From 1848 til 1861 he was supervisor for seacoast defense from NY to Florida. He was also in charge of the US Survey Office in Washington DC and traveled to Europe to serve from 1853-1856.

He served on the frontier with Robert E Lee and George McClellan. From 1861-1865 he distinquished himself in several operations and by 1862 was in command of the Northern District of the South. He was supervisor of several famous pontoon bridges for the passage and retreat of Hooker's Army at Chancellorsville. He invented the intrenching tool called the 'picket shovel'.

At the end of the war he had attained the rank of brigadier general for gallantry leading to Lee's surrender as well as major general, US Army Volunteers, for his gallant service.

He retired from service in 1882, after serving for almost 50 years. He died in New York City on June 1,1884.

Henry W Benham married Elizabeth Andrews McNeil on October 3,1843, in Hillsboro, NH. Her mother, Elizabeth Andrews Pierce McNeil, was the dau of Gov Benjamin Pierce and her half-brother, Franklin Pierce, was President of the United States.

The Benhams had 4 children: Elizabeth Maria, Lilla Marion, Henry Hill, and Henry McNeil, although Henry McNeil died in childhood.

Benham published his Mexican War memoirs in the magazine, "Old and New" in 1871, entitled "Recollections of Mexico and the Battle of Buena Vista,Mexico, Feb 22nd and 23rd, 1847." He also published an article about his Civil War Experiences, "The West Virginia Campaign of 1861 by an officer of the US Engineers," in the same publication.

Henry Washington Benham (April 17, 1813 – July 1, 1884) was an American soldier and civil engineer who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Benham was born at Cheshire, Connecticut. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837. He was connected with various government works as a member of the Engineer Corps, and served in the Mexican War in 1847-48. From 1849 to 1852, he was superintending engineer of the sea wall for the protection of Great Brewster Island, Boston Harbor, and from 1852 to 1853 of the Washington (D.C.) Navy Yard.

In 1861 he was appointed engineer of the Department of the Ohio; in the same year he was promoted to be a brigadier general of volunteers and commanded a brigade at New Creek. He disobeyed orders and was subject to a court martial after the battle of James Island on June 16, 1862, at which he was in immediate command under Gen David Hunter. From 1863 to 1865, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, he was in command of the engineer brigade of the Army of the Potomac.

Benham was mustered out of the volunteer service with rank of brevet major general, U. S. Volunteers and the U. S. Army. Promoted to colonel in 1867, he was in charge of the Boston Harbor sea wall from 1866 to 1873, and of the defenses of New York Harbor from 1877 to 1882. He was an expert in the construction of pontoon bridges.

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Brig. General Henry Washington Benham (USA)'s Timeline

April 8, 1813
Age 30
Age 31
Age 33
February 28, 1858
Age 44
New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
June 1, 1884
Age 71
New York, NY, USA
Washington D.C., DC, USA