Pvt. William M. Benson

Co. C, 103th Reg., IL Inf Vol

William M. Benson was born August 20, 1842, in Knox County, Illinois.  He was the son of William C. Benson and Jane Hickman.  He had six sisters and four brothers.  Prior to enlisting in the army, he was a farmer in Fulton County, Illinois.

He enlisted August 14, 1862, at Canton, Illinois.  He entered the 103rd Infantry Volunteers, Company C, commanded by S. A. Stockdale.  At the time of his enlistment, he was twenty years old, was five feet, ten inches tall, had a light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes.  His brother, George, enlisted with him and served in the same unit.

The 103rd fought in many battles including Vicksburg, the Chattanooga Campaign, Sherman's March to the Sea, and the Siege of Savannah.  William Benson was wounded during fighting at Dallas, Georgia, on May 28, 1864, on the way to Atlanta.  After being released from a military hospital, he returned to duty with his unit, which had reached Altanta by this time.  He was mustered out on June 21, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

After the war, he lived in Rock Island County, Illinois, before moving to Kansas and then to Missouri.  On October 30, 1869, he married Martha Jane Rice in Bourbon County, Kansas.  They had several children: Harvey, Millie Annie, Edward, Nellie May, Lemuel, Robert, Emma, and Lydia.  By the year 1880, the family had moved to Hickory County, Missouri, where William farmed.  They moved several times after 1880, but remained in Southwest Missouri.  For reasons unknown, William lost his right hand sometime between 1880 and 1890.  After that, he work a hook where his hand had been.  William died November 6, 1896, at his home in Sylvania, Missouri.  although records for his funeral exist, a place of burial was not given.  The location of his grave remains unknown.