Benjamin Franklin Fleenor

Benjamin Franklin Fleenor was born 11 September 1841 on his father's farm in Lesterville, Washington Co., Indiana. He was the second child in a family of 8 sons and 3 daughters, so he had many playmates. His parents, John Benjamin Fleenor and Louisa Bowman had recently migrated from Virginia to that area in 1837. As Benjamin became a young man he went by the name of "Frank". Frank and his brothers helped on the farm, and Frank and brother George did custom harvesting for other farmers, having the first Threshing Machine in that area.

But as Frank approached young manhood our country was soon to enter the bloodiest war in American history, the Civil War. Nearly 3 million fought - 600,000 died. It was the only war fought on American soil by Americans. So on 19 August 1862, one year after the Civil War began, young Benjamin and his brother George enlisted in Little York, Washington County, Indiana. He joined Co. "F"-66th Regiment-Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Alfred Morris. Later both brothers served in General Sherman's Army. Benjamin "Frank's" personal description at the time of his enlistment, age 21, was light complextion, hazel eyes, 5' 9" tall and light hair.

In April 1861 - At 4:30 AM Confederates under General Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War begins. Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within 5 weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy.

In March 1864 - President Lincoln appoints Gen. Grant to command all of the armies of the United States. Gen. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the west.

In May 1864- The beginning of a massive, coordinated campaign involving all the Union Armies. In Virginia, Grant with an Army of 120,000 begins advancing toward Richmond to engage Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000, beginning a war of attrition that will include major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3). In the west, Sherman, with 100,000 men (Frank & George being a part of this group of men) begins an advance toward Atlanta to engage Joseph E. Johnston's 60,000 strong Army of Tennessee.

In September 1864 - Atlanta is captured by Sherman's Army. "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won," Sherman telegraphs Lincoln. The victory greatly helps President Lincoln's bid for re-election.

In November 1864- After destroying Atlanta's warehouses and railroad facilities, Sherman, with 62,000 men begins a March to the Sea. President Lincoln on advice from Grant approved the idea. "I can make Georgia howl!" Sherman boasts.

In December 1864 - Sherman reaches Savannah in Georgia leaving behind a 300 mile long path of destruction 60 miles wide all the way from Atlanta. Sherman then telegraphs Lincoln, offering him Savannah as a Christmas present.

In April 1865 - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules. "After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources," Lee tells his troops. Celebrations soon break out in = Washington.

April 14, 1865 - The Stars and Stripes is ceremoniously raised over Fort Sumter.

April 15, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumes the presidency.

April 18, 1865 - Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to Sherman near Durham in North Carolina.

April 26, 1865- John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.

In May, 1865- Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees. Frank mustered out 3 Jun 1865. He injured his left leg with a pick axe while digging post holes for quarters at Cornith, Miss. As a result he was given an honorable discharge.

(It would be so interesting to know just what battles and skirmishes Frank and his brother were in and if they wrote letters home to their parents-but sadly nothing like this was passed down that I am aware of. Surely they saw too much misery and endured many hardships during those few years, and the war would have had a tremendous impact on their young lives.)

Returning to his father's farm, Frank & brother George continued farming, until Frank met and married Sarah Emeline Gross of Washington Co., Indiana, on 27 March 1870. (Not sure if Benjamin got his own farm at this time, or after he migrated in 1877 from Gibson Twp., Wash. Co., IN. to Grassy Fork Twp., Jackson Co., IN.) Their first son Edgar, my grandfather, was born 7 April 1871 with two daughters soon following. After their third child was born Sarah had complication from childbirth, and died 2 Feb 1878. She was buried in New Hope Cemetery, Salem, Washington Co., Indiana. With three small children to raise Frank soon remarried. He met Emily Williams, a recent widow of Joseph Hitchcock, and they were married on 1 June 1879, in Washington Co., Indiana.

As the years passed Frank and Emily had three more children. (Do not know what happened in their lives until Frank died in 1910.) He was buried in New Hope Cemetary, Salem, Wash. Co., IN. After Benjamin's death in 1910 Emily married George Washington Fleenor, John's brother, on August 15, 1914. They had no children. Emily died on 28 Feb 1920, and was also buried next to Frank in New Hope Cemetery.

Fleenor Family Tree

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