SAMUEL F. BENSON
Company H, 3rd Iowa Infantry
Great-grandfather of Ken Robb and Charlie Robb, Great-great-grandfather of Scott Robb, Daniel Robb, and Eric Robb
Samuel Benson, 20, enlisted with his brother Manloff, 23, in the Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company H as a Fifth Corporal on June 8, 1861. He re-mustered in February 1864 as a Sixth Corporal in Company I of the Second and Third Consolidated Iowa Infantry. He was promoted to Fifth Sergeant on Jan. 22, 1865. He and Manloff were mustered out of service on July 12, 1865 in Louisville, KY.
Samuel Benson saw action with the Third Iowa only a month after joining, beginning with the battle of Hagar’s Woods, Missouri on July 8, 1861 and then at Monroe Station. Samuel contracted fever and ague at Locust Creek Bridge, MO on Aug. 15 and was treated in St. Louis, MO. The Third Iowa continued to fight guerillas in Missouri and engaged in the battle of Blue Mills Landing in September 1861. They moved to guard duty and continued operations protecting the Northern Missouri railroad until March 1862.
The Third Iowa was ordered to Pittsburg Landing, TN, for the battle of Shiloh April 6-7. The Third Iowa fought the entire first day in a seesaw battle that saw them almost surrounded at the end of the day. They retreated in an orderly fashion, and fought the enemy through their own camp into a defensible position for the night. There was little rest as Union gunboats and Confederate cannons dueled all night while Union re-enforcements arrived. The next morning the Third waited in reserve on the bluffs in the early morning as the battle began. They were called into action at 10 in the morning and were engaged in fierce battle the remainder of the day.
The Third Iowa continued on in pursuit of the Confederate forces and engaged in the battle of Corinth. At the battle of Hatchie Creek in October, the Third Iowa played a pivotal role in pushing back the rebels. They were part of Grant’s Mississippi campaign through Jan. 1863. They then guarded the Memphis and Charleston Railroad until March 1863. They were fully engaged in the siege of Vicksburg. After the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, they advanced on Jackson, MS and were part of an ill-fated charge into the fortifications with great loss. They remained on duty near Vicksburg until February 1864.
After a furlough, the re-mustered veterans continued on with Grant and were part of battles in Decatur, Rome, Kennesaw Mountain, Nickajack Creek, Chattahoochee River and the Battle and Siege of Atlanta in July 1864. Samuel Benson received a gunshot wound in the right leg just below the knee during the battle of Atlanta. He was treated in the field hospital at Atlanta, GA.
The Third Iowa continued with Sherman to Jonesboro and then on to the pursuit of General Hood into Alabama. They were part of Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” from November to December 1864. They were involved in the siege of Savannah in Dec. and the battle of Bentonville N.C. in March 1865. They occupied Goldsboro and Raleigh and were present at the surrender of Johnston’s army. They continued to Washington DC via Richmond, VA and took part in the Grand Review May 24,, 1865.
Shortly after being honorably discharged from the Union Army, Samuel Benson married Sara Kennedy who was the widow of Bernard Kennedy. Bernard had died in Andersonville prison from wounds received at the Battle of Atlanta July 22, 1864. Bernard Kennedy was a private in Company I of the Sixteenth Iowa Infantry Regiment.
Samuel and Sara had eight children in addition to Sara’s son from her previous marriage. Several of the children were named for Civil War generals including my grandfather, Samuel Sherman Benson, and his brother Clarence McClellan Benson.
The family farmed in Iowa and migrated west into Nebraska. They were “Sooners” in the Oklahoma land rush. They moved to Colorado where they remained for the rest of their lives. In addition to farming, Samuel hauled wagon freight between Missouri and Colorado in the late 1800s. Samuel was unable to work after 1889 due to the gunshot wound he received during the battle of Atlanta. He received a full disability pension in 1889. He died on July 10, 1921 at the age of 81. He is buried in the Pueblo, Colorado Cemetery.