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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders photograph of a young man in late‑19c civilian dress: jacket, high-collared shirt, tie with a very wide knot. He sports a classic handlebar moustache, and has an intelligent air: looking straight at the camera but with ever so slightly the expression of a deer caught in headlights, no doubt for the same reason. He is Lieutenant James W. Benton, an American army officer, whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Lieutenant James W. Benton

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Twenty-Eighth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 10th, 1897.

p29 James W. Benton
No. 3093. Class of 1885.
Died, September 2, 1896, at Hot Springs, S. D., aged 33.

Born in Washington, D. C., January 24th, 1864. His boyhood was spent in Springfield, Mass., where he attended school a number of years. Later he entered St. Paul's School at Concord, N. H. He was admitted to the Military Academy September 1st, 1881. There his first days were saddened by the death of his father, Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James G. Benton, Ordnance Department, who was buried at West Point August 2, 1881.a His career at the Academy was not marked by unusual incident. Possessed of a manly character and cheerful disposition, the passing years served to endear him to his comrades. He was graduated with his class June 14th, 1885, and assigned as a Second Lieutenant to the Ninth Cavalry, with which regiment he served until his death. Promoted First Lieutenant March 22, 1892, and appointed Regimental Quartermaster April 12, 1895. He participated in the "Sword Bearer" campaign, 1887, and in the Sioux campaign of 1890‑91. He died suddenly at Hot Springs, S. D., of heart failure, September 2, 1896, and was buried at West p30Point. He considered the regiment his home and would not consent to sever his relations with it, although it was well known he might have enjoyed distinguished preferments. He married the daughter of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Guy V. Henry who, with one son, James Webb, survives him. The characteristics of Lieutenant Benton were extreme loyalty to his friends, a most charitable nature — never speaking ill of any one — and an unselfish devotion to duty. On the march and under hardships, he was always uncomplaining and took the most cheerful view of any disagreeable surroundings. He was distinguished for his high breeding and gentlemanly conduct on all occasions, which, in a measure, accounts for the great popularity that he enjoyed. In his death, the service has supported the loss of a manly, courteous and efficient officer, and the vacancy made, both in a military and social sense, will be difficult to fill.

Classmate.


Thayer's Note:

a The date of Col. Benton's death is given as August 23 both in that officer's entry in the Register (q.v.) and on his tombstone.


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Page updated: 18 May 17