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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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BENNETT, Orson W. (Union City, MI, Nov. 17, 1841--Philadelphia, PA, Jan. 8, 1904). Recipient, MEDAL OF HONOR. Educated in the public schools in Dubuque, Bennett passed the examinations and received certification to teach in the schools of Dubuque County. (1)

On April 23, 1861, under President Lincoln's first call for 75,000 volunteers, Bennett enlisted as a private in the GOVERNOR'S GREYS Company "I", First Iowa Volunteers. (2) He was wounded at the Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861. He re-enlisted on December 12, 1861 in Company "G" of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry. Bennett served in the Army of Tennessee until the fall of Vicksburg and then re-enlisted as a veteran in the same company and regiment. (3)

Bennett was examined by the Military Commission of Officers of the Regular Army for service with colored troops. He passed successfully and was commissioned First Lieutenant, Company "A" lst Michigan Colored Infantry. He served with this command until the close of the war. He was mustered out as the Captain of Company "A" and Brevet Major of the U.S. Volunteers on September 30, 1865. (4)

Bennett was in seventeen engagements during the CIVIL WAR. He was brevetted a major in the United States volunteers "for gallant and meritorious conduct during the war" and was awarded by the Secretary of War the Medal of Honor for distinguished conduct in saving from capture three pieces of artillery at the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina, on November 30, 1864. (5)

Bennett returned to Iowa and worked in the hardware business in Le Mars, Iowa for ten years. He was then involved in the grain and real estate businesses in Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota. Bennett later moved to Washington, D.C. and worked in real estate and patents. (6)



1. Information provided by Richard G. Bridges

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. "Bennett, Orson W." Online: http://iagenweb.org/boards/plymouth/obituaries/index.cgi?read=422572

6. Bridges

With appreciation to Geoffrey A. White