G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett, WA
1st WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER HEAVY ARTILLERY *
Mustered Out: 9/21/65 Washington D.C.
* Note: During the American Civil War an infantry or cavalry regiment generally fought together as a unit. Such was not the case with artillery regiments which seldom, if ever, came together as a whole. Instead, artillery companies (batteries) were assigned independently where needed. Thus, we are focusing not on the history of the entire 1st Wisconsin, a three-year regiment, but primarily on that of Company H. The designation “heavy artillery” generally referred to larger caliber, less mobile, even immobile cannon found in permanent fortifications.
As such, initial units of the 1st found themselves in forts guarding the nation’s capital. Later companies/batteries were assigned not only to Washington but also to a number of armies and departments throughout the “western theater.” General Order No. 21 issued 9/14/64 called for the recruitment of eight companies to complete the 1st’s regimental organization. Company/battery H, was one of these units. It left the state 10/7/64 and was assigned to duty in the defenses at Washington as part of the 4th brigade, De Russy’s division, 22nd army corps. It remained at that Location until mustered out.
Residence: Oconomowoc, WI Age: 22.11 yrs.
Enlisted: 9/3/64 Milwaukee, WI Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 6/26/65 Washington D.C.
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Benjamin R. Baker was born 9/24/41 in either Cayuga or Oswego, New York. No details are available on his birth family, formative or teenage years. Entering the U.S. Army the 5’7” farmer reportedly served an uneventful term of service. He was never wounded, arrested or reported absent from his unit.
Leaving the military Benjamin returned to Oconomowoc, WI but shortly thereafter resettled in Northfield, MN and, from 1866 to 1870, Hutchinson, MN. During this latter period, on 1/20/68, he married Henrietta Orsina Wood. Orsina died 6/2/69. From 1871 to 1872 the former Union artilleryman resided in Chetopa, Kansas.
On 7/15/71, while in Kansas he remarried to Elizabeth “Eliza” H. Curtis. The couple would produce three children: Eddie R. (7/1/72), Ethel P. (12/16/78), and Daisy G. (4/4/80), the latter two being born in Northfield, MN. By 1899 only Ethel was still living. In 1902 Benjamin and Eliza departed Minnesota for Snohomish, WA. They remained in Snohomish until 1911 when they resettled in Creswell, Oregon.
By March, 1915, however, the Baker address was listed as Langley, WA in the San Juan Islands. This, apparently, was where the couple’s only surviving, and now married child resided. Benjamin R. Baker died 12/5/29 at the age of 88 years, 2 months. It appears at death he was residing in the Washington Veteran’s Home in Retsil, WA where he was receiving a princely $72 per month government disability stipend based on his wartime service. He was survived by his wife and daughter.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
James Michael Childers
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