Joseph Lafayette Benight of Prairieton
Private JOSEPH LAFAYETTE BENIGHT was born about 1841 in Lamacar, Ohio. He was the son of Isaac T. and Sarah (DANFORD) BENIGHT. He enlisted into Captain Emory BRANT's Company (E) in the 85th Indiana Infantry in Prairieton, Indiana on August 15, 1862 to serve for three years. He was five feet - eleven inches tall, fair complexion, hazel eyes and auburn hair with his occupation as farmer. His cousin, Hamilton J. BENIGHT, served as Sgt. in the same Company.
Regimental records state that Joseph was first admitted to the hospital in Franklin, Tennessee in March and April of 1863. Joseph was admitted May 3, 1863 to #1 General Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee due to chronic diarrhea. He was then transferred to #10 General Hospital on May 11 after coming down with pneumonia as well as his diarrhea. He was again transferred to Indianapolis, Indiana where he contracted some kind of severe eye disease. He was discharged September 19, 1863 in Indianapolis due to chronic diarrhea and disease of the eyes.
Joseph therefore was unable to serve active duty for 9 months prior to his discharge which might have saved his life as while he was ill, almost the entire regiment was either killed, wounded and/or captured in the Battle of Thompson's Station near Franklin, Tennessee and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. The Regiment suffered over 30 men who died in this prison.
He suffered from diarrhea for the rest of his life and the disease in his eyes prevented him from leaving a darkened room for periods of weeks at a time. If he went outside, the disease would re-occur. Joseph was able to collect disability pension of $4.00 per month for the rest of his life starting upon his discharge.
He died from pneumonia February 10, 1881 in Prairieton and his attending physician thought that it was brought on by his weakened state from the chronic diarrhea. He left 4 children, Charles N. (b. 9/28/1867), Ida May BENIGHT KILLION, (b. 10/20/1870), Frank Lafayette (b. 6/12/1874) and my great grandmother Mary Alice BENIGHT COONCE, (b. 12/12/1878). He is buried in New Harmony Cemetery in Prairieton. When I personally located where his grave was and that it was not marked with a veteran plaque, it was ordered and was installed the summer of 2003.
Joseph Lafayette Benight of Prairieton, Vigo Co., Indiana
Submitted by Tod Molesworth - Copyright 2003
The author is the 3rd great grandson of the subject of this sketch.
Used with permission
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