Benjamin F. Rittenhouse facts for kids
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Benjamin Franklin Rittenhouse
Captain Benjamin F. Rittenhouse, 1872
December 15, 1839|
|Died||March 6, 1915
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
||United States Army, Union Army|
|Years of service||1861 – 1874|
|Commands held||Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
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.
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.
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