Brig. Gen. Roswell S. Ripley
Camp 1535 is named after Roswell S. Ripley.
Roswell S. Ripley was born in Worthington, Ohio on March 14, 1823. An 1843 graduate of the United States Military Academy, he served with the U.S. Artillery from 1846 to 1848 during the Mexican-American War, twice promoted for “Gallant and Meritorious Conduct.” Ripley resigned his commission in the U.S. Army in 1853 while stationed in South Carolina. After secession he volunteered his services to the Confederacy. On April 12, 1861, Ripley’s artillery at Ft. Moultrie bombarded Ft. Sumter in the opening salvos of the Civil War. Later, he commanded an infantry brigade in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia until wounded in the throat at the battle of Sharpsburg in 1862. Returning to Charleston, Ripley successfully defended the harbor and city from attacks by Union forces. Described as “Charleston’s Gallant Defender,” he died on March 29, 1887 and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.
In 1994 our camp's co-founder Chester A. Bennett, M.D. wrote an article for the South Carolina Historical Magazine. He has also written book on Ripley's life published by University of South Carolina Press. (See link below)
For more detailed biography, click here.
The Founding of Camp 1535
Pictured in the photo are four of the original founders: Bob Croye, John Bennett, Mark Mahan and Chet Bennett. Absent: David Bennett and Vic Jeffreys. Gary Wiemar is inactive.
Chet Bennett was the founder of Camp 1535 All of his life he had known he had maternal ancestors, primarily from South Carolina, who served in the Confederate Army. In 1988 he began researching these ancestors and ultimately identified about thirty men who served in Confederate infantry, cavalry and artillery regiments, primarily with units in R.E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
At first his search was simply for his own edification, but during this time, after learning that so many ancestors had served, he became enthusiastic about his Confederate heritage and the sacrifices these men had made.
He soon learned of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and submitted his credentials for membership based on his maternal great grandfather, Private Gardner L. Davis, Company A, 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment. Private Davis' regiment was stationed primarily in and around Charleston until the city was evacuated in February 1865. Surprisingly. Chet learned that the commanding officer of the 1st SC Artillery was Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley, who was born in Worthington, Ohio.
SCV Headquarters approved Chet's SCV application on January 28, 1989. There were no SCV Camps in Ohio so he was admitted to Headquarters Camp #584.
Chet began to wonder just how many SCV members might be living in Ohio who belonged to Headquarters Camp #584. He wrote to General Headquarters and asked if they would send him a list of all Ohio members in Headquarters Camp #584 as he wanted to investigate the possibility of starting a camp in Ohio. They sent a list of forty or fifty names, but unfortunately most were scattered all over the state. Chet telephoned all members living in the Franklin County (Columbus) area and wrote about forty letters to those living in distant parts of the state.
He received eight or ten positive responses from members as far away as Canton and Akron who were willing to transfer their memberships if a Camp started. Locally, Bob Croye, Mark Mahan, Vic Jeffreys and Gary Wiemar expressed an interest. That gave a total of five potential members. Seven were needed to start a Camp. Chet enlisted his brother David Bennett, who was living in Tuscarawas County and his son who was living at the time in Liverpool, NY. This made up the required number of members.
Chet submitted the paperwork and the Camp was granted a charter on November 28, 1990. As Chet's membership was based on his great grandfather's service with the 1st SC Artillery, and his commanding officer was Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley from Worthington, Ohio Chet decided to name the Camp after General Ripley. Thus the Camp became the Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley Camp #1535.