Fort Benton (2)
Fort Benton (2) (1861-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1861 as Camp Benton near Patterson, Wayne County, Missouri. Named Fort Benton after Union Major General William Plummer Benton. Abandoned in 1865. Also known as Fort Hill.
Fort Benton was initially established as Camp Benton which later became Camp Patterson. The camp was probably established in November 1861, when the Independent Company Missouri Cavalry, commanded by Captain Henry P. Hawkins camped at Patterson. Camp Patterson and the adjacent Fort Benton were both located on the 640-acre farm of William Patterson, a loyal Unionist whose house was later used as a hospital.
A November 18 Nov 1862 letter indicates that the "fort is in the course of construction a little to the right of our camp..." The newly constructed fort was apparently considered major fieldwork even though it was just a 100-foot square earthworks redoubt.
On 19 Dec 1862 General Davidson departed the apparently completed fort with his army leaving just a small force under Colonel Edwin Smart to await the arrival of an incoming garrison.
On 17 Apr 1863, Confederate General John S. Marmaduke entered Missouri with a force of about 5,000 men intent on capturing Fort Benton. With little advanced warning, Colonel Smart quickly loaded wagons with weapons, equipment, and provisions, burning what he could not haul away. He escaped to Pilot Knob, with 23 killed, 44 wounded, and 53 missing. The Confederate cavalrymen put out the fires and saved some of the remaining stores which they desperately needed and quickly departed.
On 22 Sep 1864, a strong Confederate force again attacked Federal-held Patterson and destroyed much of the town, including Fort Benton. Despite the reported destruction of the fort and camp, Patterson was reoccupied and manned, apparently until the end of the war.
The site is 3.5 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 67 and Hwy 34 on a hill overlooking both the town of Patterson and Patterson Valley. The rectangular site is overgrown with trees, but its earthen walls have maintained their shape. Its dimensions measure approximately 100 feet by 100 feet. Within the walls of the fort are features that may be a powder magazine as well as the remains of a small house constructed in the early 1920s.
Visited: 20 Jul 2021