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Compatriot Medal of Honor Recipients

George Greenville Benedict

George Greenville Benedict

George Greenville Benedict was born on December 10, 1826, in Burlington, Vermont. He was the son of Professor George W. Benedict. He writes on his SAR application that his father was a soldier in the War of 1812. Not much is known about his personal life. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1847. At the age of thirty-five, Benedict enlisted for the Union army as a private in the late summer of 1862. His unit was mustered out 1865 and George G. Benedict left the service as a lieutenant colonel.

As a member of Company C, 12th Vermont Infantry 2Lt. George Benedict was present the battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On the last day of the battle during Pickett’s Charge, the 13th and 16th Vermont Infantry advanced to the front in a flanking movement on General Pickett’s forces. While this was happening, Lt. Benedict braved a murderous fire of grape and canister to deliver orders on the field. It is said that he walked calmly along the line with his back to the enemy until he had straightened out the Union line and reformed them properly for combat. It was for this action that he was awarded the Medal of Honor, one of sixty-three men to be so honored during the period from July 1 to July 3, 1863.

Benedict wrote letters back home that gave the folks a firsthand account of a soldier’s life in the Civil War. His letters describe military life, including picket duty, food, pay, and health, as well as news of fighting and news about friends. The book, , is a collection of his thirty-one letters written between 1863 and 1864 to his wife, Sarah Benedict, at Belvidere, Allegany County, New York, and one letter from James Hall to Sarah Benedict telling her that her husband had been severely wounded. The book is edited by Eric Ward.

On the family tombstone, there is a plaque that reads “George Greenville Benedict, 54 years Editor of the Burlington Free Press, 41 years as Clerk of the College Street Church, A Volunteer in the War for the Union, 42 years as a Trustee of the University of Vermont.”

He signed his SAR application with his full name on April 1, 1889, and does not indicate an occupation. His National number is 2703 and his Vermont Society number is 3. His application lists his SAR patriot ancestor as the Rev. Abner Benedict who “was a Chaplain in the Revolutionary Army serving in the battles of White Plains and Harlem, NY.” In February 1898, at the age of seventy years old, George Benedict submitted a supplemental application listing two patriots: Captain Stephen Dewey and his son, Private Stephen Dewey, Jr. Both men served in the Massachusetts Infantry. On his supplemental application, he writes his occupation as “Journalist.”

Lieutenant Colonel George Benedict died on April 8, 1907, in Camden, North Carolina, at the age of eighty, and is buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Burlington, Vermont, only a short distance from the grave of Ethan Allen.

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