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Benjamin F. Rittenhouse facts for kids

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Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse
Benjamin F Rittenhouse.jpg
Captain Benjamin F. Rittenhouse, 1872
Born (1839-12-15)December 15, 1839
Berwick, Pennsylvania
Died March 6, 1915(1915-03-06) (aged 75)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Place of burial
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army, Union Army
Years of service 1861 – 1874
Rank Captain
Commands held Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery
Battles/wars American Civil War

Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse (December 15, 1839 – March 6, 1915) was a U.S. Army 1st lieutenant during the American Civil War.

Early life

Rittenhouse was born in Berwick, Pennsylvania, to Benjamin Franklin and Henrietta Waring (Davidson) Rittenhouse, the third of nine children. He joined the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War as a 2nd lieutenant in Battery D, 5th United States Artillery commanded by 1st Lieutenant Charles E. Hazlett.


On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Hazlett's Battery (3rd Division, V Corps), consisting of six 3-inch 10-pdr Parrott rifles, was rushed to the top of Little Round Top by Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. Maneuvering the guns by hand up the steep and rocky slope of the hill was a difficult achievement. However, this effort had little effect on the action of July 2. The artillerymen were exposed to constant Confederate sniper fire and could not work the guns effectively. More significantly, they could not depress the guns' barrels sufficiently to defend against incoming infantry attacks. During the intense fighting, Hazlett was mortally wounded and command of the battery passed to Rittenhouse.

Brig. Gen. Henry Hunt, the Union chief of artillery, was with Rittenhouse when the Confederate cannonade of July 3 began. They tried to estimate the number of Confederate guns. Later, Rittenhouse was able to fire into the flank of Pickett's Charge with two guns, enfilading the right of the Confederate force.

In August 1864, Rittenhouse was brevetted to captain and to major in March 1865.

Post-war & personal life

Rittenhouse was married to Elizabeth Shapter (1842–1904) in 1868 and together they had four children: Benjamin Franklin (b. 1869), Sterling (1873–1875), Elizabeth Caldwell (1877-1904), and Basil Norris (1879–1945). Rittenhouse retired from the United States Army in October 1874 at the rank of captain. He and his wife are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[1]

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