Jul. 21, 1863 Chambersburg Franklin County Pennsylvania, USA
Civil War Confederate Lieutenant Colonel. Mayor of Austin, Texas 1858-59. Benjamin Franklin Carter was born in 1831, in Maury County, Tennessee, and graduated from Jackson College, in Columbia, Tenn. He relocated to Texas and served as Mayor of Austin, and as an attorney before the war. On July 11, 1861, Carter was commissioned Captain of Company B of the 4th Texas Infantry, being promoted to major on June 27, 1862, and lieutenant colonel on July 10, 1862.
Col. Carter was mortally wounded by shell fragment in the face and legs as he attacked the western slope of Little Round Top at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.
Badly wounded, Carter was taken along by the Confederates as the southern army retreated from Gettysburg following the battle. Since his wound was mortal, and to alleviate his further suffering, Carter was left at the home of Jeremiah George along the old Pine Stump Road (today SR 2020, the New Franklin Road). Carter was captured there, and taken, along with many other captured Confederate wounded, to Chambersburg Pa.
When the Pastor of the Zion Reformed Church, Rev. Dr. Samuel Reed Fisher and his wife Naomi, heard that Carter had arrived, they requested that he be brought to their church for care. One of Naomi's sons by her first marriage was Capt. Mark Kerns, a Federal artillery battery commander. At the Second Battle of Manassas in August 1862, Kerns was mortally wounded by Carter's men at the fight for Chinn Ridge. Carter had been so impressed by Kerns' courage and tenacity, when the young Federal died Carter had Kerns' remains buried on the battlefield in Carter's own coat. Naomi (who had been living in Beford Pa. at the time, prior to marrying Fisher and moving to Chambersburg in January 1863) was told of Carter's kindness toward her son. So when she learned that the wounded Carter had been captured and had arrived in Chambersburg, she wished to return the favor and care for him.
After several days in the Fishers' care at the church, it was obvious that Carter would die soon. Carter was then transferred to the Academy Hospital on King Street, a facility that was caring for many Confederate wounded. With no hope of recovery, Carter asked Dr. Abraham Senseney for "some one who would give him the assurance of a Christian burial." Senseney called on prominent Chambersburg resident Alexander Kelly McClure for assistance, and McClure visited Carter. "I called at once and found the sufferer, an unusually bright and handsome man, calmly watching the rapid approach of death. With beseeching eyes that would have melted the sternest enemy, he begged of me to give him the assurance that his body would receive Christian burial." Carter died on July 21, but after much difficulty finding a local cemetery that would accept the Rebel officer's remains, Carter was finally interred in the cemetery of the Methodist Church in an unmarked grave.
The Methodist Cemetery was removed in the 1890s to expand the buildings of the church, and the bodies were all removed to Cedar Grove Cemetery. Because Carter's grave had never been properly marked, his identity and the location of his final resting place was lost to history until J. David Petruzzi, Civil War historian and author, re-discovered Carter's reinterment location after years of research. Carter was determined to rest in a section of Cedar Grove where all of the Methodist Church remains were deposited. The mass plot was marked with a stone monument listing the names of those removed, with one exception - one was listed as "Unknown."
Carter's wife and two of his three daughters died early in the war, leaving no one to retrieve his remains. Following the war, Naomi and her husband made at least one trip to the Second Manassas battlefield to attempt to retrieve her son Mark Kearns' remains based on information given to her by Carter, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Kerns' battlefield grave site has never been discovered.
On April 10, 2010, a memorial service was held at Cedar Grove Cemetery and a new headstone was dedicated in the plot in the general area of Carter's final grave.
(Information based on the research of historian J. David Petruzzi)