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Caleb P. Bennett Passes Away

Today in Masonic history Caleb P. Bennett passes away in 1836.

Caleb P. Bennett was an American politician and solider.

Bennett was born on November 11th, 1758 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Bennett enlisted in the Continental Army in 1775 at the age of 17. He served in the 1st Delaware Regiment and served throughout the war.

Bennett was present at many battles during the Revolutionary War including Staten Island, Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Camden and Yorktown. Bennett was also present at Valley Forge. He suffered wounds three times during the war.

In 1780 the Battle of Camden was particularly decimating to the 1st Delaware Regiment. After the battle Bennett was sent to Delaware to recruit. In 1781 Bennett returned to the regiment as General George Washington was gathering troops, along with the French, for the Siege of Yorktown.

Bennett wrote of his time leading up to the Siege of Yorktown:

“We remained at our post at Christeen (Cristiana), performing the duties required, until the French Army from Rhode Island, and other detachments of the army, with the commander-in-chief at their head, arrived at our rendezvous in the month of August, when we received orders from General Washington to prepare to follow on to Virginia. In a few days we took up our line of march for Baltimore; we remained in that city for some days, when small craft was prepared for our reception to proceed to Annapolis, where the French transports were waiting for the French army to embark.

On our arrival at Annapolis we embarked also, on board the Marquis Lafayette. When the troops were all on board, the fleet of transports, with two frigates, weighed anchor and preceded, with a fair wind, down the Chesapeake Bay till we arrived at Linhaven Bay, where the French fleet were moored. We passed the mouth of the York River, where lay two or three French frigates blockading the entrance. We lay that night at anchor with the fleet.

Early next morning the transports proceeded up the James River (all this time with a fair wind) until we arrived in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Virginia, where we landed and joined the troops assembled there.

As soon as the troops had all concentrated, with General Washington at their head, we left Williamsburg and proceeded on our route for Yorktown, where the British troops had fortified themselves, under the command of Lord Cornwallis. The whole army arrived in the evening and took possession of the ground around the town, driving in their outpost, which we affected without much loss or inconvenience on our part; accomplished the end we had in view, that was to form our camp so as to encircle the whole outworks.”

Bennett served in the War of 1812 as well. He was the Captain of the Artillery and the commander of the town of New Castle.

Bennett never had much of an interest in politics. Until 1832 when Democrats in Delaware convinced him to run for office. He was elected to the Governorship by only 54 votes breaking the hold the Whig/Federalists had on the office. Bennett was elected under the 1831 Delaware Constitution which meant he served a 4 year term. Unfortunately Bennett died in office on May 9th, 1836. He was at the time the oldest person elected governor in Delaware.

Bennett was a member of Lodge No.14 in Christina Ferry, Delaware.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.