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This Day in Georgia History

April 02, 1814

Henry Lewis Benning Born

Henry Lewis Benning was born in Columbia County, Georgia. After graduation from the University of Georgia in 1834, Benning read law in Talbotton before being admitted to the bar in Columbus in 1835. Practicing law, he became both successful and wealthy - owning over 3,000 acres of land and 89 slaves. After unsuccessful races for the General Assembly and Congress, the legislature elected Benning to the Georgia Supreme Court (1853-59). A strong proponent of states rights, Benning urged Georgia’s secession after the election of Lincoln. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Benning raised the 17th Georgia Infantry, in which he was elected colonel in Aug. 1861. Following the battles of Seven Days and Second Manassas, Benning commanded Toombs’ brigade and Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. In January 1863, he was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of his own brigade in Hood’s Division, which fought at Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Knoxville. In Field’s Division, his brigade fought in the Wilderness, Petersburg, and at Appomattox. After the war, Benning resumed the practice of law in Columbus, where he died on July 8, 1875. After the outbreak of World War I, the U.S. Army created a new military post in Columbus and named it Camp Benning in honor of Gen. Benning. In 1922, the camp was redesignated Fort Benning.