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Lieutenant Colonel Frank Bennett 55th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

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Item No. HA4847AF Category


Quarter plate melainotype tentatively identified as Lieutenant Colonel Frank T. Bennett of the 55th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Frank would initially be commissioned a captain with Company K of the 16th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in late April, 1861. He would quickly be promoted to major that same month. A 3 month unit, they would conduct a number of marches and excursions before being mustered out of service in July. Shortly after, Frank would enlist with the 55th Pennsylvania Volunteers, which had been formed during the summer of 1861, and was commissioned a lieutenant colonel. After several months of drill and training, the regiment headed south in December of that year. It then became responsible for guarding several islands off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia. On March 16, 1862, Frank and several of his men were captured on Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia. He was subsequently sent to a Charleston Jail and on May 2 before being moved to a prison in Columbia, South Carolina, where he was held for several months. In early October Frank was taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, where he was paroled on October 10, 1862. Shortly after his return to the regiment, Frank’s brother, Capt. Horace Bennett, who served in the 55th Pennsylvania as well, was killed while the 55th was attempting to destroy the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. The 55th would spend the remainder of 1863 in Beaufort, South Carolina, moving to Virginia in 1864, where it took part in the Wilderness Campaign. He would be captured again during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff in May of 1864 and would be sent to Libby Prison once more. He would remain there until October 8th, 1864 when paroled. Two months later the regiment would be discharged and Frank would return home. This view of Frank dates to his time serving with the 55th as his lieutenant colonels rank is clearly visible. There are several diaries which Frank wrote during his service and time spent as a prisoner of war currently held in various collections. Duke University is in possession of one as is the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Housed in a half leatherette case.


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