Carter, Benjamin F. (1831–1863)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: March 25, 2011

Benjamin F. Carter, lawyer, politician, and Confederate officer, was born in Maury County, Tennessee, in 1831. Carter attended Jackson College in Columbia, Tennessee, as well as the law school at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He moved to Austin in Travis County, Texas, in 1852 and began practicing law. On March 13, 1856, Carter married Louisa Oakley Rust. This couple had one son and two daughters. Both his wife and two of his children died early into the Civil War. Carter was one of many Travis County members of the American party, commonly known as the "Know Nothings." Carter became a prominent Austin lawyer, with offices at the old Treasury and Comptroller's Office at the corner of Congress Avenue and Pecan Street. He also served as alderman, and from 1858 to 1859 he served as mayor.

When news reached Austin of the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter on April 17, 1861, Carter was instrumental in the organization of the Austin City Light Infantry, consisting of seventy-five men, by April 27. Carter spent the late spring and early summer training with his troops, renamed the Tom Green Rifles, in San Marcos. He and his unit enlisted on July 11, 1861, and promptly marched to Brenham to board railcars for transit to Virginia. In Richmond, Virginia, on July 27, 1861, Carter's unit was mustered into the Confederate Army and became Company B of the Fourth Texas Infantry. The Fourth Infantry was attached to Hood's Texas Brigade and saw action in all the major campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia except when it was detached to Gen. James Longstreet's First Corps when it went to Tennessee. On June 27, 1862, he was promoted to the rank of major following the battle of Gaines' Mill. In the summer of 1863 Carter was promoted to lieutenant colonel. On July 2, 1863, he was mortally wounded at the battle of Gettysburg and was captured by Union troops. He died from his wounds on July 21, 1863, and was buried at the Methodist Cemetery in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In August 1863 he was elected posthumously as judge for Travis County.

Antietam on the Web: Participants Listing (, accessed March 8, 2011. Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839–1899 (Waco: Texian Press, 1963). Larry Jay Gage, "The City of Austin on the Eve of the Civil War," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 63 (January 1960). Larry Jay Gage, "The Texas Road to Secession and War: John Marshall and the Texas State Gazette, 1860–1861," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 62 (October 1958). An Illustrated History of the Fourth Texas Infantry (, accessed June 8, 2006. Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861–1865, Volume 3, (, accessed March 8, 2011. Lucie Clift Price, Travis County, Texas, Marriage Records, 1840–1882 (Austin: Lucie Clift Price, 1973). Ralph A. Wooster, "An Analysis of the Texas Know Nothings," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 70 (January 1967).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
Time Periods:
  • Civil War
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Austin
  • Central Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Carter, Benjamin F.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 25, 2011

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