January 14, 1840|
|Died||December 19, 1925
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1861 - 1866|
|Unit||Company G, 21st Ohio Infantry|
|Battles/wars||Great Locomotive Chase|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
William Bensinger (January 14, 1840 to December 19, 1918) was an American soldier who fought in the American Civil War. Bensinger was the second person to receive the country's highest award for bravery during combat, the Medal of Honor, for his action during the Great Locomotive Chase in Georgia (U.S. state) in April 1862. He was honored with the award on 25 March 1863.
Bensinger was born on January 14, 1840 in Waynesburg, Ohio and enlisted into the 21st Ohio Infantry at Hancock County, Ohio. He was among a group of Ohio men (19 soldiers and 2 civilians) who volunteered to participate in a secret mission to disrupt Confederate communication. In April the group, led by James J. Andrews, which later came to be called Andrews' Raiders, boarded a train in Georgia. On April 12th, after the train had stopped in Big Shanty, they commandeered the train's engine and three boxcars and headed towards Chattanooga, Tennessee. Under pursuit from the Confederates, they destroyed track and telegraph lines along the way. They never made it to Chattanooga but abandoned the engine. They were all captured within a week. Some of the men were hanged and Bensinger, among others, was taken to prison camp. He eventually escaped and arrived in Washington, D.C.
Bensinger died on December 19, 1918.
Medal of Honor citation
One of the 19 of 22 men (including 2 civilians) who, by direction of Gen. Mitchell (or Buell), penetrated nearly 200 miles south into enemy territory and captured a railroad train at Big Shanty, Ga., in an attempt to destroy the bridges and track between Chattanooga and Atlanta.