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Sgt Maj Benjamin Dodson Atwell
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Birth: May 8, 1842
Baltimore
Baltimore County
Maryland, USA
Death: Mar. 17, 1928
Hutchins
Dallas County
Texas, USA

Son of Benjamin A. and Sarah (Dodson) Atwell, who were married 25 November, 1837 in Prince George's County, Maryland. Sarah died in 1848 in Trumbull County, Ohio. Benjamin married De Emma C. Green in Madison on May 2nd, 1869. They lived in Lacrosse, WI until about 1871, then moved to Mesquite, TX. By 1880, they had moved to Hutchins, Dallas County, TX.

Enlisted in Company G, 1st Regiment United States Sharpshooters (USSS, Berdan's) on September 17th, 1861 in Madison, Wisconsin. Ben was a prolific writer. Many letters were sent from him to the Wisconsin State Journal during the war, signed "B.D.A." I will include some of those letters as I transcribe them. He was a Corporal, a Sergeant, and was promoted to Sergeant Major of the Company on March 19th, 1863. He was promoted to Adjutant of the 36th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry on Feb. 18th, 1865 when transferred due to the end of his enlistment with the USSS.

Col. Berdan of New York, having been authorized by the government to recruit a company of sharpshooters from each loyal state, Co. G was raised in Wisconsin in Sept. 1861. No applicant was accepted unless he could put ten consecutive shots within 5 inches from the center of the bull's eye at 200 yards, when firing at rest.
The company was organized at Camp: Randall, left the state Sept. 19, went into camp at Weehawken, N. Y., and was mustered in on the 23rd. The 1st regiment U. S. sharpshooters was organized with ten companies and on March 21, 1862, was assigned to Gen. Fitz John Porter's division in the Army of the Potomac at Fortress Monroe.
It was under fire at Big Bethel, Va., for the first time, and was next in a skirmish at Cockletown in April, while en route to Yorktown. It was in the rifle-pits before Yorktown until its evacuation, 5 picked men of Co. G being the first to enter the works. It was engaged in the action at Hanover Court House in May, and assisted in the repulse of the enemy.
Co. G was one of two companies sent to Gen. Slocum's division. It was engaged as skirmishers at Mechanicsville; took part at Gaines' Mill; suffered severely at Charles City cross-roads from a flank fire caused by the retreat of a regiment in front, but it held its position. It was in action at the battle of Malvern Hill, and lost heavily during the spring and summer, in killed, wounded, and sick. It was engaged in the skirmish near Manassas, was in the second battle at Bull Run, was present at Antietam but not in action, was engaged in skirmishing and as guard at crossings in the march of the corps to Blackford's ford, on the Potomac.
It was at Sharpsburg, Md., until Oct. 30, when it joined the army at Warrenton, was ordered to Falmouth in November and went into camp, remaining there until Dec. 11. It
participated in the battle of Fredericksburg and was selected to cover the retreat of all the forces across the Rappahannock. It was in winter quarters at Falmouth until Apr. 28, 1863 when the forward movement was begun with the 3rd army corps, to which the 3rd brigade, consisting of the 1st and 2nd sharpshooters, was attached.
Co. G was put forward as skirmishers in the battle of Chancellorsville and engaged in a hot fight with a body of the enemy, capturing 60 in one squad, and assisting in the capture of the 25th Ga. in a railroad cut. The company covered the movement of the troops in recrossing the river, maintaining one position for 17 hours without being relieved, even to obtain water.
On June 11 the sharpshooters were assigned to the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 3rd corps, with which they were engaged at Gettysburg, Co. G being posted on the picket line, where it checked an advance of the enemy on July 2. It also aided in repulsing a desperate charge and in the capture of a brigade on the 3d.
As skirmishers it took part in the battle of Wapping Heights, and also took part in the action at Auburn, where it charged across an open space and dislodged a party of dismounted cavalry, forming a strong skirmish line. At Kelly's ford, the regiment formed a line of skirmishers, drove the enemy across the ever, prevented his reinforcements from coming up, and captured the rifle-pits, together with 500 prisoners, Cos. G and B covering the advance.
Co. G formed the extreme advance in the demonstration against the enemy's works at Mine Run, and then was in camp until Jan. 11, 1864. It was transferred to the 2nd brigade, 3rd division, 2nd corps and was in camp near Brandy Station until May 3.
In the battle of the Wilderness it was on the skirmish line and held an exposed position during the entire engagement. It was in the battle of Po River and at Spottsylvania participated in the charge of the 2nd corps, which resulted in the capture of 4,000 prisoners, 20 cannon and the first line of works.
The regiment was engaged at the North Anna, where Co. G supported a battery the first day and covered the passage of the river by the troops, a detail of 40 men capturing and holding several buildings close to the enemy's line.
At Totopotomy creek, it was in continuous action and at Cold Harbor was sent with others to the front to protect the troops engaged in constructing earthworks. It took position before Petersburg on June 15 and was in the first assaults on the works.
It was in the battle on the Jerusalem plank road, was also engaged at Deep Bottom, and remained before Petersburg on picket duty the remainder of the summer.
Co. G was mustered out Sept. 22, 1864, the reenlisted veterans and recruits being transferred to other companies. Its original strength was 105. Gain by recruits, 80; veterans, reenlisted, 9; total, 194. Loss by death, 34: missing 8; desertion, 4; transfer, 43; discharge, 58; mustered out, 47. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Benjamin A Atwell (1813 - 1896)
 
 Spouses:
  Kate Simpson Atwell (1859 - 1946)
  DeEmma C Green Atwell (1849 - 1884)*
 
 Children:
  William Hawley Atwell (1869 - 1961)*
  Horton B Atwell (1872 - 1923)*
  Fannie Atwell Edwards (1875 - 1961)*
  Ida Atwell Dugger (1876 - 1962)*
  Benjamin D Atwell (1888 - 1978)*
  Charles Simpson Atwell (1890 - 1961)*
  U S Atwell (1894 - 1944)*
  Kittye Atwell Tessman (1896 - 1952)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
Union Soldier 1861-1865, Born May 8, 1842, Baltimore, MD. Lived in Texas over fifty years Dying at Hutchins March 17, 1928.
 
Burial:
Hutchins Cemetery
Hutchins
Dallas County
Texas, USA
 
Maintained by: Richard L. Smallwood-Ro...
Originally Created by: Ed Elam
Record added: Jun 26, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14743781
Sgt Maj Benjamin Dodson Atwell
Added by: Richard L. Smallwood-Roberts
 
Sgt Maj Benjamin Dodson Atwell
Added by: William E. "Bill" Robinson
 
Sgt Maj Benjamin Dodson Atwell
Cemetery Photo
Added by: ABrewbaker
 
 
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- Don Atwell
 Added: Sep. 10, 2012
 
 
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