Muscatine County, Iowa


Source: Muscatine Journal, Muscatine, Iowa Saturday, May 17, 1913, page 7.
Submitted by Lynn McCleary, August 18, 2017

Colonel Benjamin Beach Answers Final Summons. - Veteran of Two Wars Passed Away at Home of Son in City Last Night – Prominent Citizen – Enlisted in Mexican War and Upon Outbreak of Rebellion He Again Took Up Arms – Was Prominent in Public Affairs Here for Years.

          Colonel Benjamin Beach, for years one of the most distinguished figures in Muscatine, passed away at the home of his son, Fred Beach, at 800 East Third street, shortly after 10 o’clock last evening. Death came to him in his eighty-sixth year, and brought to a close a most exemplary life. Mr. Beach enjoyed the distinction of being a participant in two wars, having taken a part in Mexican war and later again defending our flag in the rebellion.

          His death was not unexpected. For several weeks he has been bedfast and as he grew gradually weaker, hope of his recovery was abandoned.

          Colonel Beach was a man who enjoyed universal respect. His death brings a regret to every man who came to recognize his many traits of character. He was a man who came to recognize his many traits of character. He was a man of the highest nobility and the widest sympathies. He was always active in G. A. R. circles in city and state, and was ever ready to extend a helping hand to some comrade who was less fortunate than himself.

          The war record of the venerable man was an enviable one. He distinguished himself in several engagements during the civil war, and the patriotism which he displayed on the battlefield he retained upon his return to private life. He filled many positions of trust upon his return to Muscatine, and in the performance of the duties of the office he displayed the same patriotic zeal as characterized his activities on the southern battlefields.

Native of Ohio.

          Benjamin Beach was born in Hamilton, Butler county, Ohio, January 20th 1827, and in March, 1850 he came to Muscatine where he has made his home for more than sixty years. His father John Beach, was a native of New Jersey.

          The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John Beach was celebrated in Ohio, in 1820 and they became the parents of six children, his brothers and sisters having preceded him in death.

          Col Beach lived in Hamilton, Ohio until fifteen years of age and attended school there. He afterward went to Richmond, Indiana, to learn the tinner's trade, which he followed for many years.

In Mexican War.

          At the outbreak of the Mexican he ran away from home and enlisted as a soldier in the 1st Ohio Volunteers, Colonel A. M. Mitchell commanding, and remained in the service some sixteen months. The change of diet, and especially the malarious climate of the south, brought on an attack of fever that reduced him almost to a skeleton, and for weeks his life hung by a thread, but on being removed to a higher latitude he recovered with great rapidity, and became one of the most robust and healthy veterans of the army. He furthermore developed a taste and aptitude for soldiering that placed his in the front ranks as an accomplished solder. He served through all the marches and campaigns of that struggle, fought at Monterey and in other engagements, and was honorably discharged at the close of the war. After laying down his musket he resumed his trade at Hamilton, Ohio, where he worked steadily for over two years, and in 1850 moved to Muscatine, Iowa, which has been his home ever since. Here he opened a shop and store and ducted a profitable trade until the outbreak of the slaveholder’s rebellion, when, actuated by patriotic motives, he again rendered his services to his country and on the 17th of April, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, 1st Iowa Volunteers. But his previous military experience was too important to permit of his remaining in the ranks and on the organization of the company he was elected to the position of first lieutenant.

Civil War Record.

          He served in this capacity through the three months’ campaign, and participated in the battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, at which the lamented General Lion was killed. On the 17th of October, 1861, he re-enlisted the service for three years as captain of Company H, 11th Iowa Infantry. He commenced his career in the new organization early in the spring of 1862 on the Tennessee river, and participated in the battle of Shiloh, on the 6th of April, where he lost some thirty men of his company. He also took part in the campaign against Corinth, under command of General Halleck. While stationed at Bollivar, Tennessee, in September of 1862, he was placed in command of a detachment consisting of his own company and a battalion from the 31st Illinois, as a train guard, between Bolivar and Jackson, and while en route for the latter point was attacked and surrounded by a brigade of rebel cavalry under General Jackson of Tennessee, who destroyed the track, cut off retreat and demanded an unconditional surrender, but the gallant captain was not made of surrender stuff. By a brilliant man oeuvre he fell back a few rods to Madora station, which he barricaded with cotton bales, and defended the depot and stores with great tenacity, keeping his assailants at bay for a period of four hours, when reinforcements from Jackson arrived for his aid. His loss in the encounter was six men, among whom was his orderly sergeant. The rebels were subsequently repulsed with considerable loss. Captain Beach was commended in general orders for his gallantry and soldierly qualities in this engagement. New day he rejoined his regiment at Bolivar which was then under marching orders for Corinth.

Joins Grant’s Army.

          His regiment was assigned to the command of General Ord, and on the 30th of September participated in the battle of Iuka, and in the second battle of Corinth on the 3d and 4th of October when the regiment again lost heavily In November following the regiment returned to Grand Junction, Tennessee, and joined the army of General Grant, which was then contemplating a move upon Vicksburg, by way of the Mississippi Central railroad, but this time of approach was abandoned in consequence of the cutting off of supplies by the rebel general Van Dorn at Holly Springs. The army then fell back to Memphis and approached Vicksburg by the river. After a siege of over six months this stronghold surrendered to Grant, on the 4th July, 1863. After resting in Vicksburg till the middle of August, our subject with his regiment was transferred to the command of General Stephenson, and participated in the bootless campaign of western Louisiana, terminating at the Washita river. The country being marshy and swampy, the men suffered greatly from malarial fever, and on returning to Vicksburg nine-tenths of the command were on the sick list, there being but two members of Captain Beach’s company able to walk from the steamboat to the camp. After recuperating at Vicksburg, the regiment vetoranized, and our subject was granted a thirty-days leave of absence.

On March to the Sea.

          He next joined General Sherman at Ackworth, Georgia, and participated in the campaign against Atlanta and thence in the march to the sea with all its skirmishes, battles and adventures, till its arrival at Savannah; thence to Bufort, South Carolina; thence through the Carolinas to Goldsborough, participating in Sherman’s last fight with the rebels at Smithland’ thence to Raleigh, being present at the surrender of the rebel general Joe Johnson thence to Washington, by way of Petersburgh and Richmond, and was present at the grand review in the national capital in May, 1865.

          We have thus given an outline of his brilliant military career without interrupting the narrative to note his several promotions, which we will now place on record.

Elected Colonel.

          At the battle of Atlanta the same engagement in which General McPherson was killed, on the 22d of July 1864, Major Foster of the 11th was killed, and Captain Beach was elected over all the intermediate line officers to fill the vacancy. Before the arrival of his commission as major, the colonelcy of the regiment became vacant by the resignation of Colonel Abercrombie, when he was elected over the intermediate officer to the command of the regiment and retained that position until the arrival of the army in Washington, when he was placed in command of an Iowa brigade consisting the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 16th regiments and was offered a bravet to his rank, which however he declined, the war having been ended, and the compliment being an empty one. During his long active and brilliant military service he was never a day off duty by sickness, never wounded, captured or absent on leave save the thirty days referred to above, nor was there ever a charge of any kind preferred against him. He was mustered out of service at Louisville, Kentucky, on the 19th of July, 1865, he having made a stainless and eminently honorable record, which will be a legacy of priceless worth to his children.

Was Postmaster.

          After the war Colonel Beach returned to Muscatine and was in the hardware business with William McQuesten for a short time. He then turned his attention to the grocery business, in which he continued for about thirty years, being one of the most respected and worthy merchants of the city. He also acted as postmaster for eight years or until President Cleveland's election, when he resigned and turned his attention to the manufacture of tile. He filled the office of assessor for a number of years and for the past twelve years has been overseer of the poor. In the discharge of his duties he has proven most competent and faithful, and his record is one which has won for him the high esteem of his fellow townsmen.

His Married Life.

          On the 29th of November, 1854, Col. Beach was married to Miss Mary Stevenson, a daughter of George D. Stevenson, and they had one child, but the mother and child died at its birth in 1857. On the 30th of January, 1866, Col. Beach wedded Miss Mary Josephine Mason, who was born in Fayette county, Pen., May 4, 1841, a daughter of George and Mary E. (Ewing ) Mason, who were natives of the Keystone state and in 1852 came to Muscatine. They were prominent residents here and her father served as county judge. Unto Colonel and Mrs. Beach were born three children : George, who died at the age of 18 years ; Fred, who is the manager of the Mira Hershey Lumber Company; and Benjamin Robertson, of Knoxville, Iowa. Co. Beach was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church. He was a mason in 1852 and was a member of the De Molay Commandery, No. 1, Knights Templar, and is a charter member of nearly all the Masonic bodies of Muscatine. He likewise belonged to Shelby Norman Post, G. A. R. and his support belonged to the republican party.

Arrangements Later.

          The arrangements for the funeral of Col. Beach have not been made as yet but will be planned at once. It is anticipated that the various organization of which he was a member will participate in the services.

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Muscatine Journal May 17, 1913, page 4

Beach Funeral Will be Held on Monday

          Final Obsequies Will Be Held at the Home at 3 O’Clock – Internment at Greenwood Cemetery.

          The Obsequies over the remains of the late Benjamin Beach will be held on Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the home of his son, Fred Beach, at 800 West Third street. The Rev. J. B. Rendall pastor of the First Presbyterian church, will have charge of the services. The Shelby Norman Post will conduct the burial exercises at the Greenwood cemetery. The family requests that no flowers be sent to the home.

Famous War Veteran Laid At Final Rest

          Taps Sounded Over Grave Of Civil War Hero – Colonel Benjamin Beach Buried at Greenwood Cemetery Today – G. A. R. Veterans in Charge.

          Colonel Benjamin Beach, one of Muscatine’s prominent citizens and veteran of the civil war, was buried at Greenwood cemetery this afternoon at 3 o’clock. Short funeral services were conducted by the Rev. J. B. Rendall, pastor of the first Presbyterian church, at the home of the colonel’s son, Fred Beach, 800 West Third street.

          The members of the Shelby Norman Post Grand Army of the Republic, were in charge of the obsequies at the burial grounds. The customary military services were carried out, terminating with the sounding of taps over the grave of the well-known veteran.

          The following pallbearers acted: Benjamin r. Beach, Fred Beach, J. E. Coe, Fred Bridgman, Frank Whicher and W. M. Wallace.

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