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B. Mell

B. Mell

Confederate (CSV)

Sergeant

Benjamin Mell

(1841 - 1862)

Home State: Georgia

Education: University of Georgia, Class of 1861

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Cobb's (GA) Legion, Infantry Battalion

Before Sharpsburg

Son of Patrick Hues Mell, the Vice Chancellor of the University, from Athens, GA, he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1861 at the top of his class. In July he joined an infantry company raised by his father called the Mell Volunteers (or Rifles) in Athens, and mustered with them into Confederate service as Corporal, Company D, Cobb's Legion (Infantry) soon after. He was promoted to First Sergeant, date not given.

On the Campaign

He was mortally wounded by gunshot "through and through" his arm and chest in action at Crampton's Gap on 14 September 1862.

Comrades say his last words were 'Boys I know I must die, but don't leave the field;' and they report that his exhortation after he had been shot rallied the men, who had been thrown into some confusion.
He was left on the field and captured by Federal troops.

The rest of the War

He was initially treated at a temporary US Army hospital at the German Reformed Church in Burkittsville, MD, or more accurately, on the ground outside of it. After about a week he was taken in by local citizen and "southern sympathizer" Thomas Sim Lee, a distant relative of Robert E. Lee. He was treated by Dr. George Washington West and another local doctor, and nursed by the Lee family, but he died of his wounds on 20 October 1862 at about 11 am at the Lee home "Needwood Forest" near Petersville, MD. He was originally buried "In N W corner of [St. Marks] Episcopal graveyard E of Petersville." He may have been reinterred at Hagerstown in about 1874, although his family history says he was still in St. Marks, Petersville under a "substantial tombstone" as of 1897.

References & notes

Hagerstown burial information from Pruett1, who has him in the 1st Georgia Regulars. Personal information from the Bulletin of the University of Georgia (1906), Kathleen Ernst's Too Afraid to Cry (1999), and a notice in The Southern Watchman (Athens, GA) of 15 October 1862 kindly provided by Laura Elliott - source of the 'last words' quote above. His memorial is on Findagrave. His picture and further details from Annie and Patrick Mell, Jr's The Genealogy of the Mell Family in the Southern States (1897).

More on the Web

There's a memorial marker to the Mell Rifles and Troup Artillery at Crampton's Gap erected by the Athens (GA) Historical Society in 1992, online from Stone Sentinels (Steve A. Hawks).

There's more about his care and death in a letter from Thomas Lee's daughter Mary to Mell's family, found in Patrick Mell, Jr's Life of Patrick Hues Mell (1895), online from the Internet Archives.

Birth

08/27/1841; Oxford, GA

Death

10/20/1862 Petersville, MD; burial in Saint Marks Apostolic Church Cemetery, Petersville, MD

Notes

1   Pruett, Samuel, and Poffenberger & Good, Greg Farino and Western Maryland Regional Library (WMRL), Washington Confederate Cemetery, possible burials, Hagerstown (MD): WHILBR, 2010  [AotW citation 4428]