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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 4, 1864.

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 has confidence.

On the occasion of the great Interstate Encampment in Mobile, Alabama (Camp Drum), in 1885, Mr. T. C. De Leon, author of " The Soldiers' Souvenir," says:

" 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 wound.

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 pgs.

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