Benjamin Franklin Kelley

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Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Benjamin Franklin Kelley - Brady-Handy.jpg
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Born (1807-04-10)April 10, 1807
New Hampton, New Hampshire
Died July 16, 1891(1891-07-16) (aged 84)
Oakland, Maryland
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Union
Service/branch United States Union Army
Years of service 1861 - 1865
Rank Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brigadier General
Union army maj gen rank insignia.jpg Brevet Major General
Unit West Virginia 1st Virginia Infantry
Battles/wars

American Civil War

Other work revenue collector, indian agent, examiner of pensions

Benjamin Franklin Kelley (April 10, 1807 – July 16, 1891) was an American soldier who served as a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He played a prominent role in several military campaigns in West Virginia and Maryland.

Early life[edit]

Kelley was born in New Hampton, a small village in New Hampshire. At the age of 19, he went to Wheeling, Virginia, a center of the slave trade. He engaged in the merchandise business until 1851, when he became a freight agent for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

Civil War[edit]

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Kelley raised the 1st Virginia Infantry, a Federal volunteer three-months regiment, and was appointed as its colonel.[1] His first service was at Philippi, where he captured the Confederate camp equipage and was himself badly wounded. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on May 17, 1861, and was victorious at Romney and Blue's Gap (Hanging Rocks Pass). Afterward, Kelley commanded a division of 10,000 men in the Department of Harper's Ferry.

In 1862 he served under Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, and the following year he was in command of the West Virginia department and pursued General Robert E. Lee during the Retreat from Gettysburg. In 1864, he checked the enemy at Folck's Mill, New Creek, and Moorefield, West Virginia. He was brevetted as a major general of volunteers on August 5, 1864.[2]

Kelley, along with his immediate superior Maj. Gen. George Crook, was captured by a small raiding party of Confederate partisans on February 21, 1865. Kelley was sent to a prison in Richmond, Virginia, but he and Crook were released on March 20 by a special exchange. He resigned from the army on June 1, 1865.[2]

Postbellum career[edit]

After the war ended, Kelley was appointed an internal revenue collector in 1866. After serving in that role for ten years, he became the head of the Hot Springs, Arkansas, Military Reservation in 1876. In 1883, President Chester A. Arthur appointed him an examiner of pensions.

Death[edit]

Kelley died in Oakland, Maryland, and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery. His grave was created by sculptor W.S. Davis and completed ca. 1861. The gravestone is made of granite (6 x 5 x 3 ft.) with a relief (2 x 2 x 6 ft.) of bronze inset on the front of the stone, just above two inscribed plaques. The relief is a bust of Kelley, who has a full goatee, mustache, and a military uniform.

One plaque on the gravestone is inscribed:

BENJAMIN F. KELLEY
COLONEL 1ST VIRGINIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
BRIGADIER AND BREVET MAJOR GENERAL
U.S.V.
WOUNDED AT THE BATTLE OF PHILLIPI VIRGINIA
JUNE 3, 1861.

Another plaque on the gravestone is inscribed:

HIS WIFE
MARY CLARE BRUCE KELLEY
DIED DECEMBER 24, 1910

It was surveyed by the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture! survey in 1995 and was declared as needing treatment.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Warner, p. 260.
  2. ^ a b Eicher, p. 329.
  3. ^ Save Outdoor Sculptures! (1995). "Benjamin F. Kelley Grave, (sculpture).". SOS!. Smithsonian. Retrieved 27 December 2010.