Sunday, March 4, 2012

The return of an honored sword

Benjamin David Hennington, my 1st cousin three times removed, has always been a fascinating individual to research. He was the son of Rev. Henry Hennington and Susannah Nesom of Copiah County, Mississippi.

When the Civil War broke out, he was 18 years old, and was soon off to Corinth, Mississippi to enlist in the 16th Mississippi, Co. C, along with other friends and cousins. His regiment served in many of the major battles, and was with Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Some of the battles included Cold Harbor, Antietam, and he was wounded twice. At the battle of Chancellorsville, it was noted in a biography, that he was with "Stonewall" Jackson when he was wounded.

At Gettysburg, Benjamin served with the 16th under Posey's Brigade, Anderson's Division, A.P. Hill's Corp. in action near the Bliss Farm on July 2.
At the Battle of the Wilderness , as 2nd Lt, his sword was captured in battle, as described below in the New Orleans Times Picayune.

Benjamin returned to his beloved Mississippi, and married Miss Mary Narcissus Catchings, daughter of John Noel Catching and Emma Angeline Smith. He received his medical degree in 1866 from Tulane University in New Orleans.

The rest of his life, he and Mary remained in Lawrence County and lived in Tryus. Their children were; Frank Wilmot, Emma Frances, Annie, Henry Livingston, Lamar Lucius, Rosa Love, Beatrice and Benjamin David Jr. Not only was he a beloved and respected physician of the county, he served as a postmaster and storekeeper, and is credited with the name "Tryus." On May 16, 1925 he died after a period of declining health, and is buried in the Bahala Chapel Cemetery, located in a secluded area near Bahala Creek between Sontag and Oma.

Many of us have wondered about the significance of his photo holding the sword, and assumed it was his from the Civil War. Obviously, the sword meant a great deal to him.

I will be returning to Mississippi this spring, and will visit his graveside. I plan to bring flowers and a photo copy of his beloved 16th Mississippi flag.

Thank you cousin Benjamin for your service and sacrifice for so many.

Special thanks to Jeff Giambrone for the newspaper article, and solving the question about Benjamin's beloved sword.