Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PRENTISS, Benjamin Mayberry, soldier, born in Belleville, Wood County, Virginia, 23 November, 1819. He removed with his parents to Missouri in 1835, and in 1841 settled in Quincy. Ill., where he learned rope-making, and subsequently engaged in the commission business. In 1844-'5 he was 1st lieutenant of a company that was sent against the Mormons in Hancock, Illinois He served in the Mexican war as captain of volunteers, and on his return was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for congress in 1860. At. the beginning of the civil war he reorganized his old company, was appointed colonel of the 7th Illinois regiment, and became brigadier-general of volunteers. 17 Nay, 1861. He was placed in command of Cairo, afterward served in southern Missouri, routed a large body of Confederates at Mount Zion on 28 December, 1861, and joined General Grant three days before the battle of Shiloh, on the first day of which he was taken prisoner with most of his command. He was released in October, 1862, and appointed major-general of volunteers on 29 November He was a member of the court-martial that tried General Fitz-John Porter (q. v.). He commanded at the post of Helena, Arkansas, and on 3 July, 1863, defeated General Theophilus H. Holmes and General Sterling Price, who attacked him there. General Prentiss resigned his commission on 28 October, 1863.
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