25 July 2014

B. T. Bethune Swam the Chattahoochee River Horseback

Benjamin T. Bethune was born in Milledgeville, Georgia 12 March 1848. At the age of just sixteen years, he enlisted in the Confederate Army at Columbus. About a year after he enlisted, at the time of surrender in April 1864, Benjamin was separated from his company. His commander had sent him out on scout duty to watch the enemy's advance on the city. This information was gleaned from Benjamin's 1910 Confederate pension application.

As I continued reading the application, there was found a neat little tidbit about Benjamin T. Bethune. When asked why he was not with his company at surrender, B. T. supplied the information stated above and added that he was cut off by the enemy. He was then asked, "What effort did you make to return?" The reply was Swam Chattahoochee River Horseback. Wow.

More details were learned about Benjamin's life after the Civil War by reading his obituary. The following was posted in Milledgeville's Union Recorder 31 August 1920, pg. 1 (image of original may be viewed at Georgia Newspapers: Milledgeville) -

This Well Known Citizen Has Gone to His Reward at the Age of Seventy-two Years -- Served in the Confederate Army.

Mr. Benj. T. Bethune passed away at his home Friday evening, after an illness extending through several weeks.

The announcement of the death of Mr. Bethune was received with deep regret by the people of Milledgeville and Baldwin county, for he was held in the highest esteem and confidence as a man and citizen.

The funeral services were held at the residence Saturday afternoon, Dr. J. C. Wilkinson, pastor of the Baptist church, officiating. The remains were buried in the city cemetery, the pall bearers being Messrs. A. J. Carr, Geo D. Case, C. E. Green, G. C. McKinley, D. S. Sanford, R. B. Moore and J. D. Howard.

Benj. T. Bethune was born in Milledgeville March 12th, 1848. His boyhood days were spent in Columbus, Ga., and when a mere youth he enlisted in the Confederate Army, and served under Major Pendleton [sic]. He came to Baldwin county when quite a young man.

He became cashier of the Milledgeville Banking Co. soon after its organization and held that position a number of years, giving it up on account of office work not being conducive to his health. He was interested in farming with his brother-in-law, Mr. B. H. Jones.

Mr. Bethune was an honest man, true to his convictions and stood for those things which he believed to be right, his life being controlled by the highest principles. He was well informed, being a close reader and a clear and comprehensive thinker, and was interesting and entertaining in conversation. He was a loyal member of the Baptist Church, and his faith was steadfast and unwavering in the Christian religion.

He was secretary of Camp Doles, U. C. V., and was deeply interested in that organization.

In his death Baldwin county has lost one of its best citizens.

He is survived by Mrs. Bethune, who before her marriage was Miss Josephine Moore, a daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W. A. Moore; four daughters, Mrs. Julian Peacock, of Macon; Miss Julia Bethune and Mrs. J. S. Bone, of this city, and Mrs. Candler Brooks, of Macon; and one son, Mr. Benj. Bethune, Jr., of Macon; and one sister, Mrs. Lizzie B. Jones.

They have the sympathy of friends here and elsewhere throughout the state.
Benjamin T. Bethune rests at Milledgeville's Memory Hill Cemetery.

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