Benteen, Frederick William, BGEN

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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Service Branch
Primary Unit
1882-1887, 9th Cavalry Regiment
Service Years
1861 - 1888


Brigadier General

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Benteen, Frederick William, BGEN USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Petersburg, Virginia
Last Address
Atlanta, Georgia

Date of Passing
Jun 22, 1898
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Section 3, Grave 1375

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Grand Army of the Republic Badge

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

United States Army Brevet Brigadier General. Born in Petersburg, Virginia, the son of Theodore Charles Benteen and Caroline Hargrove. He entered military service as a First Lieutenant in Company C, 10th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, on September 1, 1861, on the Union side. He married Catherine Louise Norman on January 7, 1862 in St. Louis, Missouri. He participated in a number of Civil War battles, including Wilson's Creek, Bolivar, Milliken's Bend, Pea Ridge, and Vicksburg, receiving accolades from his superior officers. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on February 27, 1864, and Colonel, 138th United States Colored Infantry, on July 1, 1865. In the reorganization of the US Army following the Civil War, he was appointed Captain, 7th United States Cavalry, on July 28, 1866, and carried that rank into the Battle of the Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876. During that celebrated battle, where Lt. Col. George Custer's forces met its famous disaster, he led a battalion that initially was to join Custer's forces, but was met by overwhelming enemy numbers, and was turned back to join Major Marcus Reno's portion of the regiment. Since the end of the battle he has been mired in historical controversy due to his alleged slow response to Colonel Custer's orders for him to join Custer's forces, which had been engaged with the Indians. Some claim that he did all he could, and his leadership actually saved the survivors of the regiment. Other claim, both during his lifetime and today, that he was slow in responding due to the fact he despised Custer thoroughly. However, most of the contemporary blame for the disaster was placed on the head of Major Reno. Frederick Benteen was promoted to Major of the 9th United States Cavalry, in December 1882, and was given command of Fort Duchesne, Utah, where in 1887 he was court-martialed for drunkenness and "conduct unbecoming of an officer". He was convicted and faced dismissal from the Army, but his sentence was reduced by President Grover Cleveland to a year's suspension. After his return he retired for disability on July 7, 1888 and resided in Atlanta, Georgia until his death from paralysis resulting from rheumatism and heart disease. Initially given the brevet of Colonel (a standard promotion for retiring officers), he was again brevetted to Brigadier General on February 27, 1890, mostly because of the recommendations of numerous Army officers who wanted him to be recognized for his gallant service at the Little Big Horn. Many officers admired him, for his pleasant humor and self-sacrifice for duty, and in battle, he was considered absolutely without fear. Major Reno, his immediate superior in 1876, called him "the bravest man I ever knew". Originally buried in Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia, he was re-interred in November 1902 into Arlington National Cemetery.

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 Unit Assignments
Union Army7th Cavalry Regiment9th Cavalry Regiment
  1861-1864, 1st Missouri Volunteer Cavalry
  1864-1865, 10th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry
  1865-1866, 138th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops
  1866-1882, RHHT, 7th Cavalry Regiment
  1882-1887, 9th Cavalry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1861-1861 Civil War/Battle of Wilson's Creek
  1862-1862 Civil War/Battle of Pea Ridge
  1863-1863 Civil War/Battle of Milliken's Bend
  1863-1863 Civil War/Siege of Vicksburg
  1864-1864 Civil War/Battle of Westport
  1864-1864 Civil War/Battle of Mine Creek
  1864-1864 Civil War/Battle of Pleasant Hill
  1865-1865 Civil War/Battle of Columbus
  1868-1868 Comanches Campaign/Battle of Washita River
  1876-1876 Black Hills War/Battle of the Little Bighorn
  1877-1877 Nez Perce War
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