Benjamin S. Roberts
Benjamin Stone Roberts
|Born||November 18, 1810|
|Died||January 29, 1875 (aged 64)|
|Place of burial|
Dellwood Cemetery, Manchester, Vermont
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1835–1839, 1846–1870|
|Rank||Brevet Major General|
|Battles/wars||Mexican–American War Indian Wars|
Roberts was born in Manchester, Vermont. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1835, ranking near the bottom of his class (53rd out of 56). He resigned four years later to pursue a career in civil engineering on railroads in New York and overseas in Russia. After his return from Russia, he settled in Iowa, where he practiced law.
In 1846, at the beginning of the Mexican–American War, Roberts was reappointed a first lieutenant, Mounted Rifles, in the Regular Army. He was promoted to captain in 1847, and saw action at Veracruz, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, and the capture of Mexico City, Matamoros and the Galajara pass. At Churubusco, he was brevetted major for leading an advance party of stormers. He received a further brevet, to lieutenant colonel in 1847 for gallantry during the war. After the close of hostilities, he served on the frontier and in Washington, D.C.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Roberts was Major of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry. He served in Arizona and New Mexico in 1861 and 1862. He was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers on June 16, 1862, and assigned to General John Pope's staff as Inspector General and Chief of Cavalry. He saw action at Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock Station, Sulphur Springs and the Second Battle of Bull Run. After Bull Run, he was manipulated by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to prefer charges of disloyalty, disobedience and misconduct against Fitz John Porter, and testified at the subsequent court-martial, which ruined Porter's career.
After the court-martial, Roberts was reassigned to Minnesota, where he chased Indians, until being recalled to Washington in February 1863. He commanded a division in VIII Corps later in 1863, another in XIX Corps in 1864, and then served in the District of West Tennessee in 1865. He was brevetted Brigadier General, United States Army, for his actions at Cedar Mountain, and major general, Volunteers, for Second Bull Run.
Roberts continued to serve in the Regular Army, as lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Cavalry, until 1868, then taught military science at Yale University until his retirement on December 15, 1870. He died in Washington, D.C., and was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery there. He was later reinterred at Dellwood Cemetery, Manchester, Vermont.
- Boatner, Mark M., The Civil War Dictionary, New York:Vintage Books, 1988, 1991 edition, pp. 701–702.
- Peck, Theodore S., compiler, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters Who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, 1861–66, Montpelier, VT.: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, p. 680.
- Sifakis, Stewart, Who Was Who in the Union, New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1988, pp. 337–338.
- Warner, Ezra J., Generals In Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, 1992, pp. 405–406.