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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BENTON, William Plummer, soldier, born near Newmarket, Frederick County, Maryland, 25 December 1828 ; died in New Orleans, 14 March 1867. His father died when he was four months old, and his mother removed to Indiana in 1836. At the beginning of the Mexican war, being then eighteen years of age, he enlisted as private in a regiment of mounted riflemen, and took part in the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepee, and the capture of the city of Mexico. On his return to Richmond, Indiana, he re-entered College, finished his studies as a lawyer, was admitted to the bar in 1851, in 1852 appointed prosecuting-attorney, and in 1856 made judge of the common pleas court. When Fort Sumter was fired upon, Judge Benton was the first man in Wayne County to respond to the president's call for 75,000 men. Twenty-four hours after he had begun to raise his company he was on his way to Indianapolis, where it was mustered into service, being the first offered by Indiana. He was soon promoted colonel of the 8th Indiana volunteers, and commanded at Rich Mountain, where he distinguished himself by personal bravery. After three months he was authorized to re-enlist and reorganize the regiment, and did so, reporting to General Fr5mont, 14 September 1861. The regiment was placed in the vanguard of Fremont's army, and served in the campaign in Missouri and Arkansas. He commanded a brigade at Pea Ridge, and was promoted to Brigadier-General for gallantry. He was in the battles of Port Gibson, Jackson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, the siege of Vicksburg, and Mobile. At Jackson, Mississippi, he was wounded. At the close of the war General Benton resigned his commission and returned to Richmond, Indiana, to resume the practice of law. In 1866 he went to New Orleans under government appointment, where he died.
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