Brig. Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm I
Brig. Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm I 737
Born in the home of his grandfather, Ben Hardin, at Bardstown, KY (As was Perry Hardin Radcliffe!)
Noted events in his life were:
• Physical Description. 756 Blue eyes, brown hair, ruddy complexion, "genial and attractive countenance which lighted up at the slightest provocation."
• Education: Elizabethtown Seminary: Elizabethtown, KY. 756 Graduated at age 16.
• Education: Kentucky Military Institute, 1846. 756 Was there for only 3 months before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
• Education: U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 1 Jul 1847. 737 Entered shortly after his 16th birthday. He graduated 9th in his class of 42. He was brevetted second-lieutenant in the Second Cavalry, 7-1-1851.
• Education: Cavalry School for Practice, Abt 1851, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 737 Attended but was struck with inflammatory rheumatism, which temporarily ended his military career.
• Education: University of Louisville School of Law, graduation 1853. 737
• Education: Harvard Law School. 737 6 month course.
• Occupation: attorney, beginning practice in 1853, Elizabethtown and Louisville, KY. 737 Abraham Lincoln and he were friends because both were attorneys and both married to Todd women.
• Occupation: state representative, Kentucky, 1855-1857. 737 Source: History of Kentucky Hardin County.
• Occupation: Commonwealth Attorney for 3rd district, KY, 1856-1858. 737 An elected position. He was age 28.
• Honor: requested to be Paymaster of the U.S. by A. Lincoln, 27 Apr 1861. 757 This was a way for Lincoln to move his friend & brother-in-law out of harm's way, and to prevent him from influencing the southern states towards the confederacy. It would have given Helm the rank of major, and the title at age 30. Mrs. Lincoln would have hosted Helm's wife (her sister) for the duration in Washington. After consulting with Colonel Robert E. Lee and probably being influenced by Gov. Beriah Magoffin, Helm declined. He declined the offer and returned to KY where, in the fall of 1861, he joined the Confederate Army.
• Occupation: Assistant Inspector General of the State Guard, 1861, KY. 737 Affiliated with the Kentucky State Militia, which was attempting to establish a condition of strict neutrality. Later he "used his influence to recruit for the Confederacy the First Regiment of Kentucky Cavalry."
• Honor: Colonel's commision of 1st Regiment of KY Cavalry, Sep 1861, KY. 758 While in training, his troops were used as an observation corps. "Even when the Confederate army abandoned Bowling Green, it was Col. Helm's duty to cover the retreat.' During the battle of Shiloh, his troops were to guard the approaches to General Johnston's left and rear.
• Honor: Promotion to Brigadier General, 14 Mar 1862. 737 Assigned to command the Third Brigade of Infantry of the Reserve Corps, with troops from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. At Vicksburg, he was given the command of the Second Brigate troops from Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi.
• Honor: Commander of the First KY Brigade, 16 Feb 1863. 756 This brigade had the nickname "the orphan brigade" because often its commanders were off fighting, or had been killed in battle.
• Death, 20 Sep 1863. 758 Killed by musket ball to the right side at the battle of Chickamauga. He was carried from the field by his two aides, Lieutenant William Wallace Herr (brother-in-law) and Lieutenant John B. Pirtle. Military surgeons determined there was no hope. Helm lasted several hours and died during the night, believing Chickamauga was a victory for the Confederates. When learning of the loss of his brother-in-law, Abraham Lincoln told Senator David Davis (IL), "I feel as David of old did when he was told of the death of Absalom." Helm's widow, Emilie, had been visiting relatives in Alabama and arrived just in time for the funeral of her husband. Passes were needed for her children and her to pass from the south to return to Kentucky, and Lincoln secured those necessary passes. For Emilie's continued travels, see Emilie's file.
• Funeral. 758 His body laid at the home of Col. W.H. Dabney in Atlanta until 9-23. A funeral service was held in the Episcopal Church followed by interment in the Atlanta Cemetery with military honors.
• Burial, 19 Sep 1884, Elizabethtown, KY. 759 Ben H. Helm was reinterred "in the burial grounds of his fathers, in a private cemetery on the ancestral acres of his pioneer forebears. Here, in the shadow of a great granite shaft erected by the State of Kentucky in honor of Gov. John L. Helm, the Confederate general's remains were placed among his kindred."
• Alt. Death: Chattanooga, TN. 45
Benjamin married Emilie Todd, daughter of Robert S. Todd and Elizabeth Humphreys, on 20 Mar 1856 in Frankfort, KY. (Emilie Todd was born on 19 Nov 1836 in KY,273 died on 20 Feb 1930 in Louisville, , Kentucky 759 and was buried on 22 Feb 1930 in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, , KY 273.)
Grand reception followed at Buena Vista, the country home of thee Todds.