Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BONNER, Sherwood. See McDOWELL, KATE. BONNEVILLE, Benjamin L. E., explorer, born in France about 1795; died at Fort Smith, Ark., 12 June 1878. He was appointed to West Point from New York, was graduated in 1815, became lieutenant of artillery, and in 1820 was engaged in the construction of a military road through Mississippi, he became a captain of infantry in 1825, and in 1831-'6 engaged in explorations in the Rocky mountains and in California. His journal was edited and amplified by Washington Irving, and published under the title of "Adventures of Captain Bonneville, United States A., in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West" (Philadelphia, 1837). He was promoted major, 15 July 1845, and fought through the Mexican war, taking part in the march through Chihuahua, in the siege of Vera Cruz, the battle of Cerro Gordo, the capture of San Antonio, the battle of Churubusco, where he was wounded, the battle of Molino del gey, the storming of Chapultepec, and the assault and capture of the city of Mexico. For gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco he was brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel. He was promoted to the full rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on 7 May 1849, and to the grade of colonel on 3 February 1855. He was commandant at Santa F6 in 1856-'7, commanded the Gila expedition in 1857, resumed command of the department of New Mexico in 1858, and on 9 September 1861, was retired from active service for disability. During the civil war he served as superintendent of recruiting in Missouri, and from 1862 till 1865 as commandant of Benton barracks in St. Louis. On 13 March 1865, he was brevetted Brigadier-General for long and faithful services. At the time of his death he was the oldest officer on the retired list.
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