Civil War Union Solder: Benjamin Franklin Wilder
Genealogy of Hazel Belle Wilder
My Paternal Grandmother, Hazel Belle Wilder was born on May 14, 1895 in Reed City, Michigan. She was a granddaughter of two very interesting men: Benjamin Franklin Wilder and Alexander Hilts. Both these men served for the Union Army during the Civil War. Each one had survived but suffered injuries or capture during their service.
This article will be about Hazel’s Paternal Grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Wilder. He supplied enough information on his application for a veteran’s pension from the Federal Government in 1877 for me to confirm and put in chronological order his company’s involvement with Morgan’s Raid where he was wounded and a battle at Fayetteville NC where he was captured during the last weeks of the Civil War.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WILDER was born on February 12, 1832 in Cherry Ridge, Wayne County, Pennsylvania. On the 1850 census he was listed as an 18 year old male child of Samuel Wilder.
He was 5 feet 4 ¾ inches tall, light complexion, blue eyes and light hair color. He moved to Brady Township Michigan as a young adult where he met Annis Jane Burdick whom he married on February 11, 1855. His occupation was a Miller; a man who worked in saw mills or at logging sites. Between 1855 and 1862, they had 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. In 1862 they moved to Union Town, Michigan where their second son, David Wells Wilder (Hazel’s father) was born.
December 18, 1862:
Early in the morning of December 18th, a bitter cold winter day, 30 year old Benjamin Franklin Wilder enlisted in the Union Army for three years in Company I, 9th Regiment Michigan Calvary Volunteers. He mustered in as a private on January 22, 1863 at Coldwater Michigan.
The Ninth Regiment Michigan Calvary Volunteers consisted of 12 Companies under the command of Colonel James L. David. Colonel David, from Trenton Michigan, was 39 years old. Each company had roughly 110 men not counting the officers. Assisting Colonel David was Major William B. Way, age 27 from Pontiac Michigan.
The Ninth Regiment was well equipped with the Spencer Rifles. This rifle was a magazine gun capable of firing seven times without reloading. The 9th Regiment handled special duty assignments and was often on the skirmish line. As a Calvary unit, their mounts were the best to be found at the beginning of the Civil War.
The officer in charge of the outfit Ben had joined was Captain Jonas H. McGowan. Captain McGowan, age 25, had been promoted quickly from a private in the Fifth Regiment to Sergeant of his company. He made Captain of the Ninth Regiment in November 1862. Company I had 107 enlisted men ranging from age 18 to 45 years and 4 officers. Captain McGowan would soon lead his troops into the field early in 1863 on what was to become known as the “Morgan’s Raid”.
June 25th, 1863: The Ninth Regiment entered the campaign against Confederate Brig. General John Hunt Morgan and his 2,460 troops. Colonel David pushed the Ninth Regiment hard traveling as many as 50 miles or more a day in pursuit of General Morgan.
June 28th, 1863: The Ninth Regiment Michigan Calvary entered Stanford Ohio.
July 4th, 1863: Continuing on with the exhausting pressure to catch the confederates, they arrived in Lebanon Ohio where they joined with other Union forces and drove Morgan and his troops from the town.
July 6th, 1863: The Ninth Regiment reached Danville, Ohio where they joined forces with Colonel W. T. Saunders of the 5th Kentucky Calvary who assumed full command of all Regiments and formed a brigade. The Eighth and Ninth Regiment Michigan Calvary were absorbed into the brigade.
July 7th, 1863: Companies “D”, “H”, “B” of the Ninth Regiment were put under the command of Major Gallagher.
July 7th, 1863: Major Gallagher and his companies engaged Morgan at Cummings Ford, Ohio but returned to Lawrenceburg Ohio when Morgan and his troops broke free of the blockade and escaped.
July 12th, 1863: The Ninth Regiment regrouped and marched to Westport Ohio where they divided once again.
July 14th, 1863: “C”, “K” and portions of companies “A”, “B” and “L” of the Ninth Regiment became under Colonel David once again as he pursued Morgan to Lawrenceburg, Ohio.
July 15th, 1863: The Ninth Regiment companies “A”, “B”, “F” and “L” joined Lt. Colonel Acker who marched on to Cincinnati Ohio.
July 15th, 1863: Benjamin Wilder and the rest of Company I were put under the command of Major Way who took the Ninth Regiment companies of “D”, “E”, “H” and “I” and joined under Lt. Gallagher as they left Westport Ohio on board transports, arrived in Cincinnati Ohio on July 16th, 1863 went directly to Covington Ky., and stayed there until July 24th, 1863.
July 16th, 1863: Colonel David and his troops arrived in Portsmouth Ohio, pushing the rebels in the direction of Chester Ohio and overran them there and they captured many confederate prisoners.
July 26th, 1863: The weather on July 26th, 1863 was very warm and humid. Benjamin Wilder rode his mount with the rest of Major Way’s combined units of the Ninth Regiment. They moved to Portsmouth Ohio to meet up with Colonel David and his troops. Major Way’s command joined in the pursuit of Morgan. Way's troops traveled by way of the Little Miami Railroad passing through Salineville. At Salineville a battle broke out between the Union forces and the Confederate troops under Brigadier General Morgan. Morgan was riding down the railroad tracks toward Smith’s Ford until he reached New Lisbon Road, Here Morgan’s Raiders were finally cut off and surrounded by Major W. B.Way and Major G. W. Rue's Union Calvary..
Benjamin Wilder was injured in the fighting outside of Salineville, Ohio. It was near Salineville that Morgan’s famous raid into Ohio and Indiana ended:
Major W.B. Way, of the Ninth Regiment Calvary, reported as follows from Salineville:
“I engaged Morgan at about 8 o’clock this morning, about one and a half miles from this town, and after a severe fight, routed Morgan, killing 20 or 30, wounding about 50, took 200 prisoners, 150 horses and 150 stands of small arms. I delivered the prisoners and horses to Colonel Gallagher, 54th PA. Infantry…” source: The Union Army, Vol 6, p. 772.
July 31st, 1863: Colonel David regrouped his Michigan regiments and returned to Covington, Kentucky and formed part of the expedition under General Burnside when he crossed the Cumberland Mountains and took Knoxville Tennessee.
Captured at Fayetteville North Carolina
1863 to July 1865: Historical war accounts only illustrate how the Ninth Regiment Michigan Calvary moved against the Confederates. There is no accounting from the pension papers on other locations Benjamin Wilder may have fought in until his capture on March 11th, 1865 at Fayetteville North Carolina where he was a prisoner of war.
March 11th, 1865: On Saturday morning, a brief skirmish took place at the Market House in Fayetteville, NC when Confederate Lt. General Wade Hampton’s rear guard detachment surprised a Union Calvary patrol. One of the Union Federal Soldiers came around the corner from Russell Street and proceeded to fire at the Lt General Hampton who was on the south side of Market House. Hampton’s men killed 11 Union soldiers and captured a dozen Union soldiers on March 11, 1865. Ben Wilder was one of the dozen Union soldiers captured.
April 5th, 1865: Paroled from prison and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio.
June 25, 1865: Discharged from the Union Army at Camp Chase, Ohio.
Benjamin Wilder’s application for a military pension of $20.00 per month for his Civil War veteran service was approved and began on December 5, 1887. On his pension application he stated that upon leaving Camp Chase, Ohio, he went home to Brady Township in Michigan to rejoin his wife and children. He lived there from June of 1865 till the fall of 1870, working whenever he was able to find work. He worked in sawmills of Alex Ransom.
He and his family moved to Hersey, Osceola County, Michigan and lived there until about the fall of 1877 where he was engaged in logging and did not work as a laborer as he was the owner of the logging business. He had to hire all his help. He then moved to Farewell, Clair County, Michigan and lived there until September 1881, continuing his logging business as he did in Hersey. He moved to Minneapolis Minnesota... In Minneapolis he worked as a sawfiler in saw mills.
He moved to Shelton Washington in 1905. He and Annis Jane had 9 children. His wife, Annis Jane Burdick Wilder died of bronchitis on January 22, 1905 right after their arrival in Shelton Washington.
Benjamin Franklin Wilder’s life ended on December 28, 1910 from Mitral regurgitation. He is buried in the Shelton Memorial Park in the family plot in the IOOF section of the cemetery among his wife, children, grand children and great grandchildren.
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