Ben Griffith Photo Private
Ben Griffith
PHOTO - 1863 / 1864

3rd, 11th / 17th Arkansas Infantry

Private Benjamin H. Griffith was born in Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 1840 and was the second youngest of four brothers who served in the C.S.A. (see biography of Colonel John Griffith). Just before the Civil War, he lived on a large plantation in Sebastian County. Arkansas with his parents and other siblings. He apparently never married.

Private Ben Griffith initially served in Company E, 3rd Arkansas (Gratiot's) Infantry, C.S.A. under his older brother, at that time Captain John Griffith, and was slightly wounded in the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri on August 10, 1861. He was then enlisted by Major G.W. Clark as a Private in Company B (Adam's) 17th Arkansas ( Rector's ) Infantry at Fort Smith, Arkansas on October 20, 1861. He was promoted to Corporal by December of 1861 and to 2nd Sergeant on January 2, 1862. A company muster roll for February 28 - June 30, 1862 lists Sergeant Ben Griffith as "Absent. Sent to Ft. Smith from Little Rock, Ark. by order of Lt.-Colonel Griffith" (his brother John Griffith). Ben Griffith is then listed as a Private on Company B muster rolls between July - October 1862 and recorded as being "Absent, West of the Mississippi River". He next appears as a Private in Company C, 35th Arkansas (King's) Infantry for the time period October 31, 1862 - December 3, 1862, and is described as having been "transferred across the Mississippi to his old command, Dec. 3d, 1862". Private Ben Griffith was received at Fort Monroe, Louisiana on March 14, 1863 and listed in Company B, 17th Arkansas (Griffith's) Infantry now commanded by his brother, Colonel John Griffith. A service record dated August 17, 1863 for Private Ben Griffith, now in Consolidated Company I, 11th & 17th Consolidated Arkansas (Griffith's) Infantry, then describes him as being "Absent - on detached service in Arkansas" On March 3, 1865, Private Ben Griffith was being held by the Federal Provost Marshal in Donaldsonville Louisiana; he was then surrendered at Citronelle. Alabama on May 4, 1865 and paroled with his comrades at Jackson, Mississippi on May 13, 1865 - the service record document lists his residence at that time being in "Lavaca County, Texas"

After the Civil War, Private Benjamin Griffith was a follower of the Confederate guerrilla / bandit chieftain, Cullen Baker. By the year 1868, Benjamin Griffith apparently served as one of Cullen Baker's "lieutenants" along with Seth Rames, Bill Longley, Matt Kirby, and Jack English. On July 20 or 21, 1868, former Confederate soldier Private Ben Griffith was shot in the back by a United States officer / Freedman's Bureau Agent, Charles F. Rand, in Clarksville. Red River County, Texas. His younger sister, Mary Harlow Griffith Bishop (b. 1844 in Mississippi) in Comanche County, Texas, named her newborn daughter Lydie Ben Griffith Bishop (b. 1874) in his memory.

The burial place of Private Benjamin H. Griffith, apparently somewhere near / in Clarksville, Red River County. Texas, is not currently known to any of his descendents who helped write this biography.

A detailed historical account of Ben Griffith and his family can be read in the following journal article:

Richter, W.L. (1998) "Oh God, Let Us Have Revenge": Ben Griffith and His Family during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Arkansas Historical Quarterly vol. 57, No. 3, pp. 255-286.

- By

  1. Jessie Jo Caveness - Junction, Texas
  2. Loraine Fleming Ake - Abilene, Texas
  3. Kenneth Elburn Byrd - Indianapolis, Indiana
  4. Rolene Guthrie 8tewart - Junction, Texas

revised December 14, 1995

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