Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/736

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

army of Northern Virginia was deprived of one of its most useful brigade commanders.

Brigadier-General Samuel Benton, another one of the patriot dead of Mississippi who gave all that men can give, life itself, for the cause that he deemed right, early in 1862 entered the field as colonel of the Thirty-seventh (afterward called the Thirty-fourth) Mississippi. Soon after Shiloh we find him in command of two regiments, the Twenty-fourth and Thirty-seventh Mississippi, attached to Patton Anderson's brigade, of Ruggles' division. The greater part of his service during 1862 and 1863 was in north Mississippi and middle Tennessee. On the 11th of May, 1864, he relinquished command of the Twenty-fourth and Thirty-seventh Mississippi to Colonel McKelvaine of the Twenty-fourth, and took charge of his own regiment. During the battle of Resaca the Thirty-fourth was on the right of Walthall's brigade and near the center of the general line. The high ground in front of their position ran around them in semi-circular form. They were therefore exposed to an enfilading fire from artillery on the left. For two days they endured this uncomfortable and dangerous position, exhibiting unfaltering courage throughout. The same courage and devotion to duty were shown by Benton and his men throughout the remainder of this trying campaign. In the battle of Kolb's Farm, June 22d, the losses in the brigade were heavy. In the battle of June 27th the Confederate army suffered but slight loss, though that of the enemy was very heavy. The most trying circumstance of the Atlanta campaign was the continual skirmishing and the consequent necessity of being ever on the alert. No man at any time could get a full night's rest, and officers and men were constantly on the watch. In the battles of July 20th, 21st and 22d all the commands suffered greatly, but in that of the 28th of July Walthall's, now Benton's brigade, bore an especially heavy part of the conflict. Just two days before Colonel