Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Benjamin Baker

Benjamin R. Baker

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • John Buford Post #89 Everett, Snohomish Co. WA

Unit History

  • 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery H

See full unit history

Benjamin Baker
Full Unit History

Organized: 12/9/61
Mustered Out: 9/21/65 Washington D.C.

Regimental History


   * 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. 

Soldier History

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.

Family History



The original birth-to-death biographical profile on Benjamin Baker was written during the early days of the Civil War Vets Buried in Washington State project. As a result, it was limited in terms of size and informational resources to draw upon.  The profile which follows was created in May, 2018 and while it is a big improvement over the original, it still lacks the depth and detail of bios being written today based on extensive use of documentation from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


  Benjamin R. Baker was born 9/24/41 in either Cayuga or Oswego, New York.  His parents were William (b. England) and Mary (no nee b. England) Baker. According to the U.S. Census for 1860 William was employed as a laborer.


Available documentation shows, Benjamin had at least two siblings. Older than he was Brother David (b. ca. 1830 England). Based on the brother’s age we learn that the Bakers emigrated from England to America sometime between 1830 and 1841. Younger than he was a sister, Elizabeth (b. ca. 1854 NY).

Beyond the names of his parents, brother and sister, no additional details are available on Benjamin’s, formative or teenage years.  Entering the U.S. Army in early March, 1865 at the very end of the War of the Rebellion, 5’7” Private Baker reportedly served an uneventful term of service.  He was never wounded, arrested or reported absent from his unit.


  Leaving the military Benjamin returned 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.  In 1870 after his wife’s death Benjamin lived and farmed for a time with a family named Jones in, Collins, McLeod Co., Minnesota. Then, from 1871 to 1872 the former Union artilleryman resided in Chetopa, Kansas.


  On 7/15/71, while in Kansas Benjamin remarried to Elizabeth “Eliza” H. Curtis (b. 1840 OH).  The couple would produce four children the names of three of which are documented: Eddie R. (7/1/72), Ethel P. (12/16/78), and Daisy G. (4/4/80), the latter two being born in Bridgewater, Rice County, 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.  That, apparently, was where the couple’s only surviving, and now married child resided. As of 1920 Benjamin and Eliza (does not say her in census?) were living in the Washington Soldiers Home located in Retsil, Kitsap County, Washington.

Eliza died in Pilchuck, Snohomish Co. WA 8/23/23. She was buried in the Grand Army of The Republic cemetery in Snohomish, Snohomish County, Washington.

  Benjamin R. Baker died 12/5/29 at the age of 88 years, 2 months.  At death he was still 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/is buried beside Elizabeth in Snohomish.

A puzzling footnote in Benjamin Baker’s life story is a headstone in the Snohomish G.A. R. that reads:
“Sadie Webster Baker 1856-1930 wife of Ben R Baker.”  If our Ben Baker was married to this individual they would have had to have wed between 1923 and 1927 in WA but, there is no record of any such a marriage. Further, there is not even any mention of this individual in any available documentation. Anyone with information pertaining to this headstone is asked to please contact the Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State project. 


Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
Row: 23
Site: 1

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Stanwood, WA

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