Carpenter, Benjamin Walter
Age: 24, credited to Burlington, VTVITALS
Birth: 10/31/1836, Randolph, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Greenmount Cemetery, Burlington, VT
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
Benjamin Walter Carpenter was born in Randolph, Vermont, on 31 October 1836, the son of Dr. Walter and Olivia Chase Blodgett Benjamin.
The senior Dr. Carpenter was of English ancestry, "the first member of it of whom there is authentic record being his grandfather, Davis Carpenter, of Woodstock, Conn., born about the year 1756, and removing at the age of thirty years with his family to Walpole, N.H., where he successfully established himself in business as a farmer and tavern keeper." Davis' fifth son, Sylvester, married Lydia Bowker in 1807; their only issue was Walter, father of the subject of this sketch. His biography can be found in W. S. Rann's 1886 "History of Chittenden County, Vermont," pages 807-811.
In 1850, the family was living in Randolph, but probably moved to Burlington around 1853, where his father helped establish the Medical Department at the University of Vermont with his friend, future Surgeon General Samuel White Thayer. Benjamin W. graduated from the school in 1857, and served there as a demonstrator of anatomy at least in 1858. In 1860, he was living with his parents in Burlington.
He was appointed assistant surgeon, 2nd Vermont Infantry, on 11 June 1861. Vermont Civil War historian George Benedict called Carpenter "one of the most capable and promising young physicians in the State." Benedict also related an incident in which Carpenter was involved during First Bull Run:
"Assistant Surgeon Carpenter was detached from the regiment, by order of a superior officer, before the battle, and stationed at a small house on the turnpike, in charge of a number of sick and disabled men. All of these who could walk, joined the retreat. Dr. Carpenter then posted himself in the road, pistol in hand, halted every wagon that came along, and when he could not persuade compelled the unwilling drivers to take in one or more of his sick and wounded men, till all were taken. He then, in company with a surgeon of another regiment, followed the column to Centreville. The men thus assisted never forgot the service rendered them by the resolute young Vermont surgeon."
Carpenter was promoted to Surgeon, 9th Vermont Infantry on 21 June 1862, but remained with the 2nd until early August:
"He remained with the Second through the Seven Days' Retreat, when he left to assume his new position. He had become endeared to the men by his faithful care, especially during the sickly time on the Chickahominy; while his coolness in danger--notably in the surprise and sudden cannonade at White Oak Bridge, where he was active in rallying the men when some in more responsible positions were seeking the shelter of friendly trees-gave him an added title to their respect. His departure was universally regretted in the regiment, and indeed throughout the brigade."
Carpenter resigned from the service on 4 November 1864, citing his "mother's enfeebled health," and returned to Burlington to practice medicine. (Actually it was his step-mother, Ann (Brown) Troop. His mother had died in 1841. His step-mother died in April 1869.)
New Testament presented to Surgeon B. W. Carpenter
from Chaplain L. C. Dickinson
Compliments of Kathy Valloch
In the fall of 1867, Carpenter relieved Vermont Surgeon-General Samuel Thayer White, and held that position until 1870.
In 1870, he was living in Burlington, with a housekeeper, a domestic and a laborer in the household. By 1880, he was again living with his parents, in Burlington, listed as a druggist. In at least 1882, he was partnered with Fayette L. Taft, as B. W. Carpenter & Co., druggists, 115 Church, and 178 College; his residence at 253 Pearl Street.
The 1890 Veterans schedule listed him as Walter D. Carpenter, living in Burlington. From at least 1883 until his death, he lived and had his offices at 223 Pearl Street, in Burlington. In 1900, he was living with his step-mother (his late father's third wife), Adaline Carpenter. He applied for a veteran's pension on 25 April 1905 (certificate #1,110,886), and died 20 March 1906, in Burlington. He is buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Burlington. He never married.
Sources: medical kit photo from the private collection of Rick Christensen, Phoenix, AZ; photograph from the John Gibson collection; 1850-1900 Federal Censuses; NARA Publication T289, Pension Record Index; George G. Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War, Burlington VT: Free Press Association, 1888, vol. ii, pp. 184, 187, 189, 206, 220, 229, 256; Burlington City Directories, 1883-1905; James C. Herbert, MD, "The History of Surgery in Vermont," Archives of Surgery 2001:136:467-472; Don Wickman, We Are Coming Father Abra'am; The History of the 9th Vermont Volunteer Infantry 1862-1865, Schroeder Publications, Lynchburg, VA, 2005, p. 378; General catalogue of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, Burlington, Vermont, 1791-1900, Burlington, Free Press Association, 1901, p. 203; W. S. Rann, History of Chittenden County, Vermont, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., 1886, 257, 811; Hamilton Child, Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chittenden County, Vermont, for 1882-83, Syracuse, NY: The Journal Office, August 1882, pp. 280, 439.