Fort Benton - Patterson, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 37° 11.137 W 090° 33.222
15S E 717149 N 4118266
Civil War Fort
Waymark Code: WMMW3M
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 11/12/2014
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 2

County of Marker: Wayne County
Location of Marker: off MO-34, Hill overlooking Patterson cemetery, Patterson
Fort Benton Marker Erected by: Wayne County Historical Society
Date Marker Erected: November 1, 2003

Fort Benton Marker Text:

Fort Benton
Patterson, Missouri
A natural hill used as an outpost during the Civil War by the Union Army to defend against Confederate invasion from the south.

Named for General William Plummer Benton, who was commissioned to fortify the fort in November, 1862.

Purchased by the Wayne County Historical Society and supporters in January, 1999.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, October 2002.

Dedicated November 1, 2003 in memory of those who gave their lives here, for what they believed. May this nation never forget the lessons learned from this conflict.

Known dead buried here: James B. McGhee; John Taylor; Augustus Sommitt.

For more details on the Battles of Fort Benton read here: Battle of Fort Benton
More photos and an article here: Web Roots

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:

SUMMARY: Fort Benton, near Patterson, Wayne County, is significant under Criterion A in the area of military. Constructed in late 1862, the earthen fort served two primary missions during the American Civil War: it supported an encampment of Union troops stationed at Patterson to secure the area against local Confederate guerillas; and it was one of a series of forts and camps in Missouri, including Fort Davidson (NRHP 1970) at Pilot Knob, fortifications at Cape Girardeau, and a smaller fortification at Bamesville (NRHP 1998), which were designed to protect Union Missouri from invasion from Confederate Arkansas. Fort Benton was the southern most fort in southeast Missouri and was be the first obstacle the Confederates would encounter in their attempts to take control of the state. While the fort supported a number of expeditions and scouts against local secessionist forces, it was less successful as a defensive bastion against more organized incursions by Confederate forces. Fort Benton played a key role in two Confederate invasions of Missouri, the 1863 raid by John S. Marmaduke, when it was abandoned by its Union defenders, and the larger 1864 expedition led by Sterling Price, when it was again abandoned and reported as destroyed by J.O. Shelby. However, the fort and post were once again reoccupied and remained in use until the end of the war. This major fieldwork is the only one of its kind in Wayne County and is an excellent example of this type of earthwork construction employed by the Union army during the Civil War. Because of its condition, the fort may offer clues to many unanswered questions regarding its construction. The development of land by commercial ventures, neglect, looting and irresponsible care has taken a toll of works of this nature in other areas associated with the Civil War.

NARRATIVE: During the Civil War, the Ozark Highlands between St. Louis and northern Arkansas was a virtual no-man's land, where the rules of conduct which governed war in the eastern theater of the war did not apply. Like twentieth century Lebanon, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, the Civil War in Missouri consisted of neighbor fighting neighbor and brother fighting brother, and the loyalties of any one participant were liable to change with the winds of the war and local political stability, or instability, however the case might have been. The Ozarks of the nineteenth century were characterized by unforgiving topography; steep rock strewn hills, thick virgin forests of oak, hickory and pine, and deep narrow river valleys lent to a particularly brutal type of guerrilla warfare which produced notoriously vicious raiders on both the Confederate and Union sides. The vast majority of roads which traversed this wilderness were little more than deer paths that either snaked through the river bottoms or followed high hard ridges over the crests of the towering hills. These woodland routes, many of which had been used by Native Americans for centuries and Anglo-American hunters for decades, provided little more than a clear path for horse and rider, and contributed to the mounted guerilla style tactics that remained prevalent through the war. Small bands of mounted marauders would ride out of the deep hollows and attack the small scattered communities which dotted the region. Once the guerillas, the majority being Confederate partisans, had accomplished their goal of looting and destruction, they would simply ride off into the deep, silent forests, hiding until the time came when they could once more attack. This type of hit and run warfare also made travel between the populated areas of eastern Missouri and the Arkansas River valley virtually impossible for Federal control of the country. The need for a Union military presence in the Ozarks was paramount, if the Civil War was to be won in the west." NRHP Nomination Form

Additional point: Not Listed

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