Who was born in Hadley,
Mass. April the 16th 1759;
Died Oct. the 1st 1842.
About 2,400 soldiers, commanded by General George Washington, gathered at the water’s edge of the Delaware River late on Christmas day, 1776. Earlier, a large collection of boats of various sizes and kinds had been assembled to ferry the troops and artillery across the icy waters. The plan was to cross the river and mount a surprise attack on the Hessian soldiers stationed in and around Trenton. The plan was daring and a victory for the rag-tag army was much needed—the Continental troops were demoralized, and the force was shrinking due to expiring enlistments and desertions.
In the face of driving winds and hard rain, Washington and his men successfully completed the crossing in three hours. However, two other contingents of the army were not able to cross and join up with Washington. Against mounting odds, Washington made the fateful decision to march his army to Trenton on the morning of December 26—the trip took about four hours but positioned the Continental Army in Trenton early with 18 pieces of artillery aimed at the Hessian barracks. The two armies skirmished and over 1,000 Hessian soldiers were captured. Washington’s bold plan gave the Continental Army a much-needed victory and re-ignited the cause of freedom.
One of the brave soldiers who fought alongside General Washington that bitterly cold night, was 18-year-old Benjamin Buckman, who enlisted right after the Battle of Bunker Hill. Buckman first served with General Arnold in his wilderness march through Maine. Buckman was taken a prisoner at Quebec and held for six months before his release. His next harrowing battle was with the Continentals at Washington Crossing.
After the war, Buckman moved to Salem, Indiana, where he lived until his death at the age of 84. Benjamin Buckman was buried in the Masonic Cemetery on October 1, 1845. However, after the cemetery was abandoned, his remains and limestone tombstone were moved the more than 30 miles to the Fairview Cemetery in New Albany, Indiana—”his last march.” His tombstone gives a nod to his membership in the Masonic Lodge. The eagle with a ribbon in its beak with the simple inscription “Independence” bears witness to his service in the cause of freedom and our fledgling country.