Daniel Pinckney “Pink” Bennett
By Marc Robinson
Daniel Pinckney “Pink” Bennett was born in the state of Alabama about 1837 to David and Louisa “Louisey” Lee Bennett who were originally from Anson, North Carolina. Pink Bennett’s maternal grandfather was Richard Lee, also of Anson, North Carolina. Richard Lee served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
The 1850 census places Pink living with his family in Rusk, Texas. The 1860 census shows that Pink, his parents and siblings moved further west and were living and farming in Freestone County, Texas.
Pink Bennett’s first wife was Virginia Thornton, niece of John Martin Day, who followed her uncle into the teaching profession. Of this union two children were born. One child died in infancy. The second child, Odelia L. “Dee” Bennett, was two years old when her mother, Virginia, died on 30 November 1867. Dee (Bennett) Hubbard raised a daughter and a son and lived to be seventy-five years old. She is buried in McClennan County, Texas.
Pink Bennett married a second time to Laura E. Chamblee on 22 February 1870 in Freestone County, Texas. Pink and Laura had ten children. They were D. Walter, Elizabeth Lucivy “Bettie”, Jinnie, Savanah, Roxie, Temperance “Tempie,” Pink D., William “Willie,” Laura L., and Bennie. Their third child, Jinnie, was thought to have been named after Pink’s first wife. She died at one year and 8 months of age as is buried at Rehoboth beside her namesake, Virginia (Thornton) Bennett. As of this date, the grave site of Laura E. Chamblee Bennett is not known. Any information that would help locate her grave site would be gratefully appreciated.
Pink Bennett served in the Confederate States Army. One of three muster roll cards found in the National Archives, dated October 28, 1861, documents that D. P. Bennett enlisted at Camp Hebert near Hempstead, Texas as a private in Co. B, of the 12th Texas Cavalry Regiment for a period of 12 months. The 12th Texas Cavalry Regiment later became part of Parson’s Brigade. This muster card also records that Pink travelled 260 miles to the rendezvous point and was allowed $150.00 for the value of his horse and $25.00 for his equipment. Another muster roll card dated for September 1 to December 31, 1863, shows that he was present for duty. He is thought to have served throughout the War. Unfortunately, there are fewer muster roll cards available for veterans who served in some units of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi or the Confederate Army west of the Mississippi River. Proof of his exact discharge date is not available.
Anne J. Bailey wrote the following regimental history about the 12th Texas Cavalry for the Texas Historical Association:
“TWELFTH TEXAS CAVALRY. The Twelfth Texas Cavalry served in the Trans-Mississippi as part of Parsons’s Brigade throughout the war. The regiment organized for state service on September 11, 1861, at Rockett Springs near Waxahachie. Originally known as the Fourth Texas Dragoons, it became the Twelfth Texas Cavalry Regiment when mustered into the Confederate Army on October 28, 1861. William Henry Parsons, a newspaper editor from Waco, had begun recruiting men shortly after the outbreak of war in April 1861 and was elected colonel. The companies that made up the Twelfth Texas were: Company A, the Hill County Volunteers, recruited in Hill County; Company B, the Freestone Boys, from Freestone County; Company C, the Johnson County Slashers, from Johnson County; Company D, the Bastrop Cavalry Company, from Bastrop County; Company E, the Ellis Grays, from Ellis County; Company F, the Ellis Rangers, made up of the companies of the Texas Mounted Guards from Ellis County and the Texas Mounted Rangers from Parker County; Company G, the Kaufman Guards, from Kaufman County; Company H, the Ellis Blues, from Ellis County; Company I, the Williamson Bowies, from Williamson County; and Company K, the Eutaw Blues, from Limestone County.
Although the men hoped to serve on the east side of the Mississippi River, upon reaching Memphis in May 1862, they were diverted to Little Rock to participate in stopping the Federal advance there. The regiment distinguished itself fighting Federal cavalry during Union Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis’s White River Expedition. The Texans’ first important skirmish came at the battle of Whitney’s Lane on May 19; they also fought in the battle of Cotton Plant on July 7. On August 3, the regiment took part in attacking Curtis’s supply line at L’Anguille Ferry and destroyed federal property estimated at half a million dollars. This earned them a reputation for hard fighting. In the autumn of 1862, the Twelfth became the nucleus of a brigade commanded by Colonel Parsons. Early in the war the regiment was led by Lt. Col. John W. Mullen, but after his resignation, Lt. Col. Andrew Bell Burleson generally commanded the men. When the Confederate government dismounted most Texas cavalry near Little Rock, the Twelfth Texas retained its horses because of the distinguished reputation it had garnered fighting Union cavalry. Federal troopers called the Twelfth the “Swamp Fox Regiment,” because the men traveled the swamps at night and often attacked Federal positions after dark.
Throughout the war the Twelfth Texas served as scouts and raiders along the west side of the Mississippi River in southeast Arkansas and northeast Louisiana. In mid-1863 the troopers fought in northeast Louisiana with John G. Walker‘s Texas infantry, raiding Federal depots near Milliken’s Bend and Lake Providence in an attempt to help the Confederate defenders at Vicksburg. Their efforts were unsuccessful, and after Vicksburg surrendered in July 1863, the regiment returned to Southeast Arkansas.
The regiment’s most significant fighting came during the Red River campaign in Louisiana in the spring of 1864. Although the troopers did not arrive in time to fight at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, they did attack the Union fleet at Blair’s Landing on April 12, 1864. They continued to harass the retreating Federal army under Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Banks and fought in the last battle of the campaign at Yellow Bayou on May 18, 1864.
Following the Red River campaign, the Twelfth Texas returned to southern Arkansas and remained there until ordered to Texas by early 1865. The regiment disbanded on May 23, 1865. Although the troopers fought in few significant battles, their efforts helped prevent a Federal occupation of southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana. As scouts and raiders, they protected East Texas from Federal soldiers and became one of the best known Texas cavalry regiments in the Trans-Mississippi Department.”
After the war Pink Bennett returned home to Freestone County and began farming again, married, and started his family. He was a very successful farmer and rancher and over time, prospered.
The W.L. Moody United Confederate Veterans Camp No. 87 was formed with its first encampment being held on August 6, 7, and 8 of 1890. This first year’s camp was located about six miles southwest of Fairfield in Freestone County, Texas with approximately 3000 or more people in attendance. A register of officers and general committee members lists D. P. Bennett as serving in that general committee. In the late 1890’s, Col. W.L. Moody, donated land for use as the official Confederate Reunion site for the W. L. Moody Camp No. 87 of the United Confederate Veterans. This same land is the present day Freestone County Fairgrounds.
Daniel Pinckney “Pink” Bennett lived a good life and died on February 28, 1909 at the age of 73. He was buried in the Rehoboth Cemetery in what is called the Young Community of Freestone County, Texas near his first wife and a very young daughter by his second wife.
2) Freestone County History Book Volume I
3) From research by Mary Gresham Craney on the Gresham, Robinson, and Allied Family tree on Ancestry.com:
4) Roster of soldiers from N.C. in the Amer. Rev. Comp. By D.A.R. of NC. Durham, NC. 1932. (12,709p.):14, 142, 362, 540
Vol. 102, page 263
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