Benjamin Garlington was the third son of John and Susan W. (James) Garlington. He was born on November 4, 1836 in Laurens, South Carolina. He received his early education in an academy and a tutor in Laurens. He entered South Carolina College as a sophomore and died extremely well. However, in 1856 the college temporarily closed because of a disturbance between students and police. Garlington was not involved, but obtained an honorable withdrawal from college. In the Fall of 1857 he entered the University of Virginia. Returning to his home state, he passed the bar and intended to set up a law practice when war clouds appeared. He became captain of Company A, 3rd South Carolina. He had two brothers in this unit. At the regiment's reorganization on May 13, 1862, he was elected lieutenant colonel. The regiment's first casualties occurred a month later just prior to the Seven Days Campaign. The first major encounter came at Savage Station on June 29, 1862. It would be one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war for the regiment. While leading a charge, Garlington was struck by a minie ball and mortally wounded. Despite his wound, he ordered his men, "Charge, boys, Charge! Forward my brave men!" His men found him that night lying on his back, with his hands folded upon his breast, and his sword stuck in the ground by his side. He is buried in the Laurens City Cemetery. Garlington is one of the Civil War officers who died too early in the war to fairly evaluate his abilities. His intelligence and popularity with his troops suggest that had he lived he would have developed into an important regimental commander with potential of becoming a brigade commander. Furthermore, he held great promise for his chosen career of law had he survived the war. A contemporary wrote of him, "beloved by all, his young life was as a sunbeam, shedding light and happiness on those who came within its influence. In the social circle he was unrestrained and full of life. His habits were strictly temperate. . . .Had he been permitted to consummate the life that was opening before him, he must, with abilities that fitted him for the field and the forum, have taken a position in his State among the most honored of her sons."
Webmaster and Editor
Catawba Wateree Genealogical Society