May 25, 1831 ~ May 1, 1932
Alfred Augustus Benfield was a brother of Elizabeth Caroline Benfield, who married James Lenoir Winters.
Across our vast nation, many communities such as Burke County, also honored our military veterans from all wars.
While sometimes overlooked , the United States has also experienced the most destructive of wars, -a civil war- that raged from 1861 to 1865 as men that were dressed in blue or gray were killed and maimed by the tens of thousands in the defense of their nation and their honor.
Although Southerners, are on occasion, criticized for their failure to forget this war, there are many of us that believe that a nation is judged by its ability to remember such sacrifices.
In fact, our current Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day”, an observance started in the South after the war between the states when the flowers were placed on the graves of the Confederate and Union soldiers.
Alfred Augustus Benfield is such a man to be remembered. Born in the Oak Hill community of Burke County, where he lived as a farmer, Benfield enlisted in the Confederate Army on July 14, 1862. Assigned to Company C, 5th Battalion, North Carolina Calvary, this unit was known as the “Burke Rangers” under the command of Junius Tate.
Company C was later stationed in Clinton, Tennessee as a unit of Colonel John Palmer’s 58th Regiment of North Carolina Troops.
Benfield was captured at Wildcat, Kentucky on August 1, 1863 and taken to the Union’s prison camp at Camp Chase in Ohio.
Shortly before his capture, Benfield wrote to his wife from Big Creek Gap in eastern Tennessee, to report that he “was alive yet and in common health but all the men were suffering greatly from lack of food.
He wrote, “ I tell you men can’t stand it much longer, nor they won’t do it. There has ten run away out of our company….”