57th NORTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 7/1862 Salisbury, NC
Mustered In: 7/17/1862 (est.) Salisbury, NC
Surrendered/Mustered Out: 4/9/1865
The 57th North Carolina began its existence as a three year, “state” regiment before being taken under the umbrella of the Confederate States Of America (CSA). The men were recruited, primarily, in the counties of Rowan, Forsyth, Catawba, Cabarrus, Lincoln and Alamance.
.Although the 57th initially served in the western theater of the American Civil War (ACW), from 11/1862 until The War’s end, it was with the Army of Northern Virginia in the conflict’s eastern theater.
Major battles in which the 57th participated included, Dewey’s Bluff, VA (5/12/1862), Fredericksburg, VA (12/11 – 15/1862). Chancellorsville, VA (4/30 – 5/6/1863), Gettysburg, PA (7/1 – 3/1863), The Rappahannock River, VA (11/1863), Mine Run, VA (11/27 – 12/2/1863), Cold Harbor, VA (5/31 – 6/12/1864) and around Appomattox, VA (4/1865).
At the time of it’s surrender on 4/9/1865 the regiment was composed of eight (8) officers and seventy four (74) enlisted men. Of the enlisted men, only thirty one (31) were armed.
Loss Numbers Not Available.
Residence: Forsyth County, NC Age: 34.3 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 7/4/1862 Winston Forsyth County, NC Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 7/17/1862 Salisbury, NC
Oath Of Allegiance/Release: 6/29/1865 Elmira, NY
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Rank at Release: Pvt.
JOHN B. GORDON CAMP CONFEDERATE VETERANS OF SEATTLE
Benjamin Franklin Bell was born 3/7/1828. His place of birth was Oak Ridge Guilford County, NC.
Parenting Benjamin were George Washington Bell (b. 1790s Guilford County, NC – d. fall, 1830 Oak Ridge Guilford County, NC) and Sarah “Sallie” Endsley (b. 5/29/1791Guilford County, NC – d. 1845 Oak Ridge Guilford County, NC) Bell. Although his occupation is not documented, it is surmised that G.W. Bell was a farmer.
As best as can be determined, after marrying in 1821, George and Sallie produced at least seven children. Of the seven, Benjamin was the sixth-born. His older siblings were: James Hamilton Bell (b. ca. 1822), Robert Johnson Bell (b. 1823, Louisa M. Bell (b. ca. 1823), Lucy Ann Bell (b. 1825) and Nancy Rice Bell (b. ca. 1826). Younger than he was Samuel H. Bell (b. ca. 1830).
Following his birth, there is no documental information pertaining to Benjamin’s life until he “enlisted” in the Confederate States Army. That enlistment occurred on 7/4/1862.* His unit was Captain J.E. Mann’s company which subsequently became Company “D” in the 57th North Carolina Infantry.
Benjamin’s enlistment was for three years, or “The War, both of which ended about the same time in 1865. As for Private Bell’s three years, they proved eventful.
Although details are not available, almost immediately after being mustered in, Benjamin and the 57th found themselves at Fredericksburg, VA. There, on 12/13/1862 Private Bell went missing for just over two weeks. Details of his absence are not available, but we do know that he was returned to duty on 12/31/1862.
In mid-March, 1863 Private Bell – perhaps as a punishment for his earlier absence - was “extra duty” detailed to brigade’s Pioneer Corps. The Corps was composed of men from the various regiments composing Hoke’s Brigade. Their duties primarily focused on construction projects such as building roads, etc. needed to facilitate the movements of companies, regiments, brigades and armies.
Private Bell initially remained with the Pioneer Corps from 3/15/1863 to 12/15/1863. He then returned to the Corps on 3/15/1864, but on this occasion his assignment lasted only until 4/15/1864.**
On 7/10 or 11/1864 Private Bell’s fortunes took a decided turn for the worse. On one of those dates in Frederick or Clarksburg, MD he was captured by Federal forces. Then again, maybe they had not “taken a turn for the worse.” Although details of his apprehension are not known, there are hints that he may have purposefully entered Union lines in order to be captured and removed from The War.
Two days following his capture, Private Bell was confined as a prisoner of war (P.O.W.) in the Old Capitol Prison located in Washington City. He was there but a few days as, on 7/23/64, he was transferred to another Union prison camp located in Elmira, NY. He would remain in that facility until 5/29/1865 when he took an Oath of Allegiance to the Unit States and was released.
At the time of his taking his allegiance oath we gain a glimpse of Benjamin Franklin Bell the physical man. He was characterized as six foot one (6’1”) inches in height, having auburn hair, a florid complexion and grey eyes.
Returning to civilian society it is not known where Benjamin initially settled. We next learn of him in 1870. The U.S. Census tally of that year found him with a family name Lindsey in District 48 Eutaw West Limestone County, TX. What had drawn him to that community and when he had arrived there are unknowns. His occupation, at the time, was noted as “trader.”
A decade later, in 1880, Benjamin was still in Texas, but by that time residing in the McLennan County community of Waco. In Waco, unmarried, he was employed as a (millwright) wood turner.
Post – 1880 Benjamin did not remain a bachelor for very long. On 10/18/1882 in McClennan County, TX he married.
Benjamin’s bride was Hattie B. Johnson. Hattie had been born in the state of Georgia during the month of 3/1851. How, when and where the two had met are unknowns.
During their years together Benjamin and Hattie produced three (3) children. Only two are named, so it is surmised the third died at birth or as an infant. The two (2) that survived were: Franklin “Frank” J. Bell (b. 7/1883, TX) and Herschel N. Bell (b. 10/1886 TX).
As of 1886 Franklin and family continued to reside in McLennan County, but specifically, Waco, TX. By, 1892, however, the family’s living situation had markedly changed.
Sometime in the mid to late 1880s, Franklin, Hattie and the two Bell sons removed from Texas to the shores of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. What had drawn them from Texas to King County, Washington, WA and when, exactly they had arrived here are questions presently without answers.
What is known, though, is that in 1892 the Bells were residing and farming in the King County community of Duwamish. Today this area is part of south Seattle. Future King County community address for the Bells would be Dunlop, now part of south Seattle (1900) and Seattle Ward #12 (1910). .Along the way, in addition to farming, Benjamin, ca. 1888, established himself as a well-known florist.
Benjamin F. Bell died on 6/20/1911. Cause of the eighty four year old’s passing was credited to “organic heart disease” with “senile decay” contributing. His newspaper obituary described his demise, in part, as follows:
OVER-EXERTION CAUSES DEATH OF ELDERLY MAN
Benjamin F. Bell Succumbs While Rowing Skiff on Lake Washington On Way To Enjoy Himself Fishing
DIES WHILE ENGAGED IN FAVORITE SPORT
“When Benjamin F. Bell….the pioneer florist of Rainier Valley climbed into a skiff at Brighton Beach yesterday afternoon after having waited several months for his sons to repair the boat for his fishing expedition the old man felt so strong and confident of his strength, so eager and delighted with the feel of the oars once more, that several who witnessed his start from shore smiled in appreciation of his enthusiasm. Several hours later he was found dead in the bottom of his boat, a victim of overexertion.”
Mr. Bell, who enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest member of the John B. Gordon Camp Confederate Veterans of Seattle was interred on 6/22/1911 in Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery. The cemetery is located near the north end of that city’s Capitol Hill.
Following her husband’s death, Hattie remained in Seattle. She died in her home – 5215 Myrtle St. – on 11/10/1918. She was survived by her two sons – one of whom, Frank, was living with her at the time. The other, Herschel, was in France with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). She was/is buried in Lake View with Benjamin
*A Federal prisoner of war roll dated 9/15/1864 notes that Private Bell had had originally been conscripted (drafted) or, at best grudgingly, rather than cheerfully, enlisted .in the Confederate military service. Further, the roll entry denotes that, once in Federal custody Benjamin told Union provost (military police) he did not want to be exchanged under any circumstances. These notations strongly suggest Benjamin did NOT want to be a Confederate soldier and may help explain why he “disappeared” for a time in 12/1862 and why he may have crossed Federal lines to be captured in 1864.
**Existing military service records dated 4/30 – 9/30/1864 indicate Private Bell may have returned to the Pioneer Corps as early as 1/10/1864.
Buried at Lake View Cemetery Seattle
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