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Clarence E. Bennett

Clarence Edmund Bennett, (1833–1902) usually referred to as Clarence E. Bennett, a graduate of West Point, a career American Army officer that saw duty almost exclusively in Western frontier assignments, served in the American Civil War in California, New Mexico and Arizona Territories and later in Reconstruction occupation forces and frontier duty during the later Indian Wars.

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Early life and Army Service

Born in New York, Clarence E. Bennett graduated from West Point and was promoted to Brevet 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry, July 1, 1855. He served in garrison at Carlisle Barracks, and later on the frontier as a Second Lieutenant with the U.S. 10th Infantry Regiment from Aug. 16, 1855. He served at Fort Ripley, Minnessota, from 1855 to 1857. He was part of the Utah Expedition from 1857–60, serving as Regimental Adjutant, of 10th Infantry, from October 1, 1858 to July 16, 1860, and served at Fort Laramie, Dakakota Territory, in 1860. He resigned his commission in September 10, 1860 and moved to San Bernardino, California to be a farmer until 1863.[1]

Civil War Service

During the secession crisis prior to Civil War and following Fort Sumter, Bennett was active in informing Union officials of the activities of the secessionists in San Bernardino County that led to Federal troops occupying Camp San Bernardino within the town and later at Camp Carleton nearby. He was elected as Captain of the local California Militia Company the San Bernardino Mounted Rifles on October 10, 1861 and was commissioned October 26, 1861. With the Rifles he aided the civil authorities in suppressing Rebellion in the county. On April 1, 1862, Captain Bennett tendered his resignation from the Milita, to Governor Leland Stanford, wishing to be absent from the County for a few months.

Bennett later enlisted in the 1st Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry, in San Francisco on February 9, 1863 serving as a Major, stationed first in Southern California commanding at Drum Barracks, with the task of organizing new companies of First California Cavalry Volunteers from February 9 to June 4, 1863. He was on frontier duty at Camp Morris, in San Bernardino, defending against the threat of secessionists to Union men in the town from June to August, 1863. From August 15, 1863 to April 17, 1864, he commanded the garrison at Fort Yuma and was promoted Lt. Colonel of the 1st California Cavalry Volunteers, Dec. 31, 1863.

From May to December, 1864, he commanded Fort Craig, New Mexico Territory then from January to February, 1865, Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory. From February to June, 1865, he was given command of District of Arizona, headquartered at Tubac. On March 13, 1865, Bennett was promoted Brevet Colonel, U. S. Volunteers, For Faithful And Meritorious Services During The Rebellion. He ramained active scouting, making roads, and establishing Camp McDowell, from June, 1865, to August, 1866. He was mustered out of the Volunteer Service, on August 15, 1866.

Later Army Service

From February 23, 1866. Bennett had been returned to service in the regular army re-appointed to the United States Army, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. 6th Cavalry Regiment and was promoted 1st Lieutenant, 6th Cavalry, July 28, 1866. He served on Quartermaster and Commissary duty at Camp McDowell, from December, 1866 to March 1867 and was promoted Captain, US 17th Infantry Regiment on January 22, 1867.

After a leave of absence from March to December 1867, Captain Bennett joined the Regimental garrison at Galveston, Texas on December 8, 1867, remaining there on Reconstruction duty until March 1868. He served on a Court Martial at San Antonio, Texas, March 13 to June 26, 1868. He was then appointed Acting Assistant Inspector-General, District of Texas, from July 1 to August 10, 1868 then for the Fifth Military District, Aug. 10, 1868, to Apr. 10, 1869. He was on registering duty in the First Military District to June, 1869, then the Regiment was sent to Virgina for Reconstruction duty and he was in garrison at Winchester, Virginia, June 1, 1869 to February 1870 and then due to troubles in the state of North Carolina his company was sent to Raleigh, North Carolina, February 1870 to April 1870.

Due to increasing trouble with the Sioux, the regiment was ordered to Dakota Territory, and arrived at Fort Sully in mid May, and commenced a long tour of service which lasted over sixteen years. Captain Bennett served on frontier duty, at Fort Sully, from April 1870, then at Post at Grand River Indian Agency from May 1870 to June 1872. In June, 1872, he traveled to Fort Rice, and participated in the Yellowstone Expedition of 1872 under Colonel David S. Stanley, from July to September 1872. Subsequently he was in garrisons at Fort Rice, to October 1873, then at Fort Abercrombie, to August 1876, and at Post at Standing Rock Indian Agency, August 1876 to November 1876. He was a Member of the Prison Board, December 16, 1876 to January 24, 1877 then on a leave of absence, to March 31, 1877.

He returned to frontier duty at Post at Standing Rock Indian Agency from April 25 to December 1877, then was at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, December 1877 to October 10, 1878 and at Fort Sisseton, Dakota, October 16 to December 18, 1878. He was on detached service, December 18, 1878 to February 27, 1879.

Again on frontier duty at Fort Sisseton, Dakota from February 1879 to May 16, 1884. He was then at Fort Totten, Dakota, from May 1884 to July 13, 1886, (with a leave of absence, January 11 to March 31, 1885). Finally he served at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming,from July, 1886.[2]

Bennett was promoted Major, U.S. 19th Infantry Regiment, November 28, 1893. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. 11th Infantry Regiment, June 27, 1897.[3] Bennett and his wife, Siotha, had four children, Willie C., Irvine E., Ida, and Daisy. Bennett retired as a Lieutenant Colonel on December 2, 1897 and died in November 4, 1902 of apoplexy.[4]

References

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