Brockman was born in South Carolina, the eldest son of Colonel and Senator Thomas Patterson Brockman and the granduncle of Tallulah Brockman Bankhead. He was also descended from John Brockman, Jr., and was the great-nephew of Major Brockman, both of whom were American Revolutionary War veterans in the English Brockman family, a cavalier family that settled in Virginia in the late 1600s.
Organizing the Brockman Guards
In the summer of 1861, Brockman and his brother, Jesse Kilgor Brockman, organized an infantry company in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that became known as "The Brockman Guards". By September the 13th South Carolina Infantry was officially organized and the Brockman Guards became Company B of that regiment. Brockman was made the Captain of Company B and his brother a lieutenant. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel upon the retirement of P.L. Calhoun, and Jesse Brockman then became the Captain of Company B.
Benjamin ran a mercantile business in the Reidville area. Ladies from this area made a flag to commemorate the formation of Company B. It was blue, with gold stars and border. This flag is now housed and preserved in the Confederate Relic Room of the State of South Carolina in Columbia. The reverse side of the flag is an image of a South Carolina coastal scene by A. Grinevald, who was a painting and drawing teacher.
Battle of the Bloody Angle
Brockman became Colonel of the 13th Regiment after Col. O. E. Edwards was killed. Benjamin led the 13th from 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville and lost an arm in a charge at the "Bloody Angle" near Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864. He died one month later in a Richmond hospital from complications of this wound. Jesse was also injured in the charge and lay three days on the battlefield. He died of his wounds in the hospital on May 28, 1864.
Accounts of the Battle
Here, throughout the afternoon and well into the night, Yankee and Rebel fought each other with relentless determination. Nearby, a 22-inch oak, whittled in two by the incessant musket and artillery fire, gave testimony to the tenacity of both sides.
Nothing but the piled up logs of breastworks separated the combatants. Our men would reach over the logs and fire into the faces of the enemy, would stab over with their bayonets; many were shot and stabbed through crevices and holes between logs; men mounted the works and with muskets rapidly handed them kept up a continuous fire until they were shot down, when others would take their places. --General L.A. Grant, USA
The outnumbered Confederates eventually fell back to a new line, and the battle of May 12 ended. but the fight for the Bloody Angle stood out in sharp contrast from other battles. Its terrible slaughter seemed to signal a shift in each side's perception of this war. Never again would Lee have the strength to lead his men north; now, he fought to survive. Grant, too, left here with a clearer, albeit brutal, image of the future. No matter what the cost, he would fight Lee's army until he destroyed it.
Benjamin Brockman is buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. After he was wounded, he wrote his sister, Mrs. Harris, wife of Dr. Harris of Rutherford, North Carolina, the following letter:
- May 24, Richmond, Virginia
- Dear Sister Mary;
- I have been unfortunate in losing my left arm in the Battle of the 12th of May, the bloodiest fight of the War. Jesse was wounded, I suspect dangerously, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Poor fellow û the only brother I had is now perhaps cold in death, but we have to submit to such things. He was, I am informed, acting with distinguished valor, when shot. Excuse short note. My respects to the Doctor and a kiss to Edgar.
- Truly your brother
- B.T. Brockman
Captain Jesse K. Brockman
Col. Brockman's brother, Jesse K. Brockman, was born April 23, 1839. He was married on January 10, 1861, to Kittie Bryson. They had two sons.
- Landrum, Dr. J.B.O., The History of Spartanburg County, published in 1900, reprinted by the Reprint Company in 1977.