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Charles S. Bentley, U.S.V.
Captain Charles S. Bentley, U.S.V.
Captain Charles S. Bentley was born in Schoharie, New York, but removed
to La Crosse, Wisconsin, from which State, upon the second call for troops
by President Lincoln, he entered the military service of the United States
as private of Company D, Second Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry, October to,
1861. He was soon afterwards promoted sergeant, then first lieutenant, and
declining the captaincy of Company G, he accepted that of Company D, July
Captain Bentley served as aid to General E. B. Brown at the second battle
of Springfield, Missouri, assisted in carrying that officer from the field
when wounded, and was complimented by being recommended to General
Rosecrans for promotion, " for bravery on the battle-field." At the
battles of Prairie Grove, Arkansas; Newtonia, Missouri, and in the raid on
Van Buren, Arkansas, he served as acting assistant adjutant-general,
resuming his line command during the summer campaign following.
At Vicksburg, in 1864, Captain Bentley was appointed and served as acting
assistant inspector-general of the cavalry brigade. He shared the dangers
of the shipwrecks of the steamers " John J. Roe," at New Madrid, and "
White Cloud," run down by the flag-boat "Adams," near Natchez. He was
mustered out in February, 1865, having served in Missouri, Arkansas,
Indian Territory, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Since the war closed, Captain Bentley served over seven years in the Iowa
National Guard, four of which was as brigadier-general commanding a
brigade, in the discharge of which duties, as is personally known to the
editor of this work, he exercised an untiring zeal, and displayed all the
intelligence of an educated soldier. Generous and hospitable almost to a
fault, at all of his encampments he not only won the esteem of all who
came in contact with him, but by his unflagging interest in his command,
looking out constantly for the comfort of his officers and men, he was
looked up to as a soldier only knows how to revere the chief in whom he
On the occasion of the great Interstate Encampment in Mobile, Alabama
(Camp Drum), in 1885, Mr. T. C. De Leon, author of " The Soldiers'
" The success of Camp Drum, universally conceded the greatest
National Guard military encampment ever known, was due to that
gallant soldier, true gentleman, and tried friend, to whom this
book is dedicated, General C. S. Bentley, then commanding the
famous `Northwestern Brigade' (Second Iowa National Guard), now
the valued citizen of Chicago. To him was early tendered the
command by its board of managers and the governor of Alabama, and
the modesty of his letter of acceptance was only equalled by the
energetic and tireless intelligence which went out generously to
make the basis of success. General Bentley, with a good
war-record, indorsed by an equal record in peace, was mustered out
of the United States volunteer service at Memphis, in February,
1865. The veteran did one year's service as captain of cavalry,
two years as colonel of the Fourth Regiment Iowa National Guard,
and over four years in command of the Second Iowa Brigade.
" General Bentley has also organized two eminently successful
encampments, in August, 1862, and June, 1884. He has, besides, commanded
Inter-State camps in distant States,-at Nashville, Tennessee, in May,
1883; at Mobile, Alabama, in 1885; and he has since declined similar
compliments from Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas."
Captain Bentley removed from Dubuque, Iowa, to Chicago several years
ago, and is now engaged in business in that city.
When the line of the Chickahominy was abandoned these six companies
constituted the only force to defend the vast accumulation of army stores
gathered at this point. They were hastily put in battle-line. Part of the
men occupied the skirmish-line, while the remainder destroyed the immense
supply depot and its contents, and then embarked and steamed down the
Pamunkey as the rebel forces occupied their camp. At Harrison's Landing
the whole regiment was united at McClellan's head-quarters. February 23,
1863, Lieutenant Robertson was promoted to a first lieutenancy, and during
the Gettysburg campaign and until December was acting adjutant of the
regiment. At this time he was tendered and accepted the position of
aide-de-camp on the staff of General Nelson A. Miles, then commanding the
fighting First Brigade, First Division, Second Army Corps. While on this
duty he was twice wounded, once in the charge at Spottsylvania, May 12,
1864, when a musket-ball was flattened on his knee, and again May 30, at
Tolopotomy Creek, when he was shot from his horse in a charge, a Minie
ball passing through his abdomen from the front of the right hip to the
back of the left, at which time he was reported among the mortally
wounded. With a strong constitution he recovered sufficiently to go to the
front before Petersburg, but his wound broke out afresh and he was
discharged September 3, 1864, " for disability from wounds received in
action." He was the recipient of two brevet commissions, one from the
President conferring the rank of captain, and another from the governor of
New York, conferring the rank of colonel " for gallant and meritorious
services in the battles of Spottsylvania and Tolopotomy Creek."
|He was in eleven general engagements and numerous
skirmishes, and was never off duty until he received his second
During the two years following the war he was engaged in the
practice of law at Washington, D. C., and was married July 19,
1865, at Whitehall, N. Y., to Elizabeth H. Miller. They have five
children: Nicholas, Louise, Robert, Mabel, and Annie. He removed
to Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1866, where he has since been engaged in
the active practice of his profession.
He was two years city attorney, and five register in bankruptcy. In
1876 was unanimously nominated for lieutenant-governor by the
Republicans, but was not elected. In 1886 he was at the head of the
Republican ticket for the same office, and was elected. The turbulent
action by which he was forcibly ejected from, and barred out of, the
Senate Chamber attracted universal attention.
Early in 1889 he was tendered and declined a territorial judgeship, and
soon afterwards President Harrison appointed him a member of the Utah
Commission, upon which he has since served.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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