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Benjamin Franklin Kelley
[[Image:150px|center|200px|border]]Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Personal Information
Born: April 10, 1807(1807-04-10)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: July 16, 1891 (aged 84)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Nickname: {{{nickname}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Brevet Major General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: 1st Virginia Infantry
Battles: American Civil War
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Benjamin Franklin Kelley (April 10, 1807 – July 16, 1891) was an American soldier who served as a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He played a prominent role in several military campaigns in West Virginia and Maryland.

Early life[]

Kelley was born in New Hampton, a small village in New Hampshire. At the age of 19, he went to Wheeling, Virginia, a center of the slave trade. He engaged in the merchandise business until 1851, when he became a freight agent for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

Civil War[]

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Kelley raised the 1st Virginia Infantry, a Federal volunteer three-months regiment, and was appointed as its colonel.[1] His first service was at Philippi, where he captured the Confederate camp equipage and was himself badly wounded. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on May 17, 1861, and was victorious at Romney and Blue's Gap (Hanging Rocks Pass). Afterward, Kelley commanded a division of 10,000 men in the Department of Harper's Ferry.

In 1862 he served under Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, and the following year he was in command of the West Virginia department and pursued General Robert E. Lee during the Retreat from Gettysburg. In 1864, he checked the enemy at Folck's Mill, New Creek, and Moorefield, West Virginia. He was brevetted as a major general of volunteers on August 5, 1864.[2]

Kelley, along with his immediate superior Maj. Gen. George Crook, was captured by a small raiding party of Confederate partisans on February 21, 1865. Kelley was sent to a prison in Richmond, Virginia, but he and Crook were released on March 20 by a special exchange. He resigned from the army on June 1, 1865.[2]

Postbellum career[]

After the war ended, Kelley was appointed an internal revenue collector in 1866. After serving in that role for ten years, he became the head of the Hot Springs, Arkansas, Military Reservation in 1876. In 1883, President Chester A. Arthur appointed him an examiner of pensions.

Kelley died in Oakland, Maryland, and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery. He is buried next to his wife, Mary Clare Bruce Kelley, who died on December 24, 1910.

See also[]

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  1. Warner, p. 260.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Eicher, p. 329.