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Harrison, Benjamin

When the Civil War began, Benjamin Harrison had already distinguished himself as prominent Indiana attorney. He took an active interest in politics and joined the Republicans in their opposition to slavery. In 1862, Harrison helped from the 70th Indiana Infantry and was given command of a regiment as a colonel. He believed in strict, systematic drilling and soon brought his men to excellent fighting form. He saw his first action at Russellville, Kentucky and spent the next fifteen months in Kentucky and Tennessee with his regiment. In 1864, his command was attached to Sherman’s army and fought in the Atlanta campaign. The unit saw its fiercest action in Resaca, Georgia, where Harrison was among the first to storm the Confederate position. After the Battle of Nashville, Harrison was brevetted brigadier general “for ablilty and manifest energy and gallantry.” On April 26, 1865, he witnessed the surrender of General Joseph Johnson to General Sherman at Durham’s Station, North Carolina. Harrison received his commission as brigadier general on May 9 and was honorably discharged a month later. Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd president of the United States in 1889.