Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Amos Benjamin

Amos Oscar Benjamin

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • Isaac Stevens Post #1 Seattle, King Co. WA

Unit History

  • 81st New York Infantry I

See full unit history

Amos Benjamin
Full Unit History

Organized: Fall/Winter, 1862
Mustered In:  12/1861 through 2/1862 Oswego and Albany, NY
Mustered Out: 8/31/1865 Fort Monroe, VA

Regimental History


The 81st New York was a three year infantry regiment that fought in both eastern and western theaters of the American Civil War. It was primarily recruited in Oneida and Oswego counties.

On 3/5/1862 the regiment departed the state  for Washington, D.C. There, it was stationed for a time on Kalorama Heights before moving into  Virginia at the opening of Union Gen. George B. McClellan's Peninsula campaign.

On the Peninsula the 81st was engaged with the enemy at Williamsburg (5/2/1862) and Savage Station (6/29/1862). At Fair Oaks (5/31/1862) it lost 137 killed, wounded and missing. During the seven days battles it was employed guarding wagon trains. After the evacuation of the Peninsula the unit was stationed at Yorktown until near year's end when it embarked for North Carolina.

In December, 1863 the 81st moved northward to Newport News, VA. At that location it performed outpost duties along the Dismal Swamp canal.

At the end of 1863 and into 1864 enough regimental members reenlisted to continue the 81st as a veteran unit. Returning to the field in Virginia it fought at Swift Creek (5/9/1864), Drewry's Bluff (5/12 - 16/1864) and Cold Harbor (5/31 - 6/12/1864). During two attacks at the latter place the unit lost two hundred twelve killed or wounded as well as three missing. This was half of the regiment and the worst loss in unit history.

Service in the trenches before Petersburg, VA preceded movement north to New York harbor. Returning southward, at year's end it was active during the assault on Fort Harrison, VA (9/29 - 30/1864).

The 81st was mustered into history on 8/31/1865.

Officers Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 13; Officers Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 1; Enlisted Men Killed Or Mortally Wounded:  129 *; Enlisted Men Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 96.

* The 81st was one of but a scant few Union regiments that lost more men in combat than it did to disease, etc. 


Soldier History

Residence:  Inf. Not Avail.    Age: 19.6 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 1/13/1862 Rome, NY   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 2/21/1862
Mustered Out: 6/20/1865 Ft. Monroe, VA
Discharged: 6/20/1865 Ft.  Monroe, VA
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Rank At Discharge: Pvt.

Family History



NOTE: The birth - to - death biographical profile of Oscar A. Benjamin was created in May, 2021 during the Covid-19 medical pandemic. It contains less depth of detail than many other biographies within this website because military service, pension and other veteran-related files housed in Washington, D.C.'s National Archives were not available. At a later time those documents may be obtained and the data contained therein added to the narrative that follows.

Oscar Amos Benjamin was born on 6/22/1843. The place of his birth was Rome Oneida County, NY.

Parents of Oscar were Amos Benjamin (b. 1/22/1816 Little Falls Herkimer County) and Martha Emeline (nee Cleveland b. 12/9/1821 Rome Oneida County, NY) Benjamin. Amos' occupation is not known.

Amos and Martha produced two children before Amos' death (d. 6/6/1846 Salisbury Herkimer County, NY). Of the two, Oscar was the eldest. His younger sibling was a sister named Martha Jane Benjamin (b. 3/21/1846 Salisbury Herkimer County, NY. At the time of the 1850 U.S. Census Martha and her two children were residing in Salisbury.

After her husband's death Martha remarried to Francis P. Graves (b. 1823 MA). She and Mr. Graves produced three children: Sarah C. Graves (b. 1854), Almyra Matilda Graves (b. 1856) and Ida May Graves (b. 1858).

In January, 1862 Oscar Amos Benjamin enlisted in the U.S. Army **. His unit was the 81st New York Infantry. Without accessing his military service records all that can be said about Private Benjamin's enlistment period is that he survived his original enlistment and re-enlisted. He then served to the end of the American Civil War.

Returning to civilian life, available documents do not disclose where Oscar initially settled. Also, they do not tell us where he was residing when, during 1867, he married.

Oscar's bride was Mercy "Mary" Ann Wood. *** The new Mrs. Benjamin had been born on 3/11/1842 in Constantia Oswego County, NY. How the two had met is not known.

By 1870 Oscar and Mary were residing in Fremont Dodge County, NE. In Fremont Oscar noted his occupation as being "farm laborer."

During their years together Oscar and Mary produced seven children. Available documents identify only six and those six were alive in 1900. They were:  Bertha Alma Benjamin (b. 1/16/1871 Fremont Dodge County, NE), Anna Gertrude Benjamin (b. 3/27/1873 Lime Creek Dixon County, NE), William "Willie" Sylvester Benjamin (b. 5/1875 Fremont Dodge County, NE), Charles "Charlie" Amos Benjamin (b. 12/30/1878 Seattle King County, WA), Paul Gibbon Benjamin (b. 1/5/1884 Seattle King County, WA) and Martha Emeline Benjamin (b. 2/24/1888 Seattle King County, WA).

As noted by the birth states of the Benjamin children. Oscar and family remained in Nebraska for a number of years. However, sometime between May, 1875 and December, 1878 they quitted the mid-west in favor of the Pacific Northwest. What had drawn them to the Seattle King County Puget Sound region of Washington Territory and exactly when they had arrived here are currently unknowns.

It took a few years, but once Oscar reached Seattle his occupational focus changed markedly. In 1879 he was a teamster. In 1880 he was a laborer, while by 1883 he was a (steam and sailing ship's) "captain". In 1887 he was a housebuilder. In 1892 he was a diver and, at of the dawn of the twentieth century, he was, specifically, a marine deep sea diver specializing in salvage work. Quite a change to say the least!!

The U.S. Census for 1910 presents a puzzle which may not be solved until Private Benjamin's pension records are obtained. 1910 found mariner Oscar, Ann and son, Paul residing in Fairhaven Precinct Division 4 of Candle City, Alaska Territory. This, however, conflicts with admission records of the Sawtelle, CA Old Soldier's Home which show that Oscar was admitted as a resident/inmate of that facility from Candle City, Alaska Territory on 12/2/1907. Those records also show that he reportedly remained there until discharged on 8/29/1911.

Dropping back a bit, an 1890 inventory of surviving American Civil War soldiers, sailors, marines, widows, etc. indicated Amos, then in Seattle King County, WA, was suffering from chronic diarrhea and piles. On 6/15/1892, he began the paperwork to obtain a U.S. Government disability pension based, likely on the above conditions, which traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering. A pension was granted, but until Oscar's pension files are accessed the onset amount of the stipend will remain an unknown.

Moving ahead, the 1907 California Soldiers’ Home paperwork gives us a physical glimpse of "steamboat man" Oscar Benjamin In 1907, at the age of sixty five years he was 5'10" tall, had a light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He was then suffering from chronic rheumatism and a hernia. His 1907 disability pension stipend was $12 per month.

As an interesting twist Oscar's name appears on the list of Civil War Jewish American Veterans 1861 - 1865. On his 1907 Veteran’s Home application, however, Oscar lists his religious affiliation as "protestant."

The Seattle Post - Intelligencer newspaper for Thursday June 12, 1919 (page 18, column c) carried the following article:

Death Overtakes Pioneer Wrecker of Puget Sound

Captain A.O. Benjamin, Ship Operator and Salvage Specialist, Dies of Paralysis.

Captain A.O. Benjamin, pioneer steamboat and sailing ship operator, wrecker and ship chandler (carpenter), and one of the most familiar figures on Seattle's water front since 1878, died at the family home, 1918 Fourth Avenue West, yesterday from paralysis (stroke).

The old soldier's passing occurred just days shy of his seventy sixth birthday. His remains were/are interred in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery located on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill.

After her husband's death Ann remained in Seattle. She died there on 5/22/1924 at the age of 82.1 years. She was/is buried in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery beside Oscar.

** At times, both while in the army and in later years, Oscar's name would appear as Amos Oscar Benjamin or Amos O. Benjamin.

*** Mercy Ann's Washington State death certificate  shows her surname as Wood. Burial records, however, reflect the name  Ward. As of this writing it is unclear which is correct.


Buried at Mt Pleasant Cemetery AKA Free Methodist & Seattle IOOF

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