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Riley, Bennetlocked

(27 November 1787–09 June 1853)
  • John C. Fredriksen


Riley, Bennet (27 November 1787–09 June 1853), army officer and military governor of California, was born probably in St. Marys County, Maryland. Although little is known of his parentage, his birthplace is also ascribed to Alexandria, Virginia. Riley was commissioned ensign in the elite Regiment of Riflemen on 19 January 1813 and assigned to the company of Captain Benjamin Forsyth. Forsyth was the most notorious partisan officer of the War of 1812, and Riley distinguished himself in several engagements. He rose to third lieutenant on 12 March 1813, became a second lieutenant on 15 April 1814, and was present at the 28 June skirmish at Odelltown, Lower Canada, in which Forsyth was killed. Riley subsequently commanded a detachment of riflemen who, on August 10, avenged their fallen commander by ambushing and fatally wounding Captain Joseph St. Valier Mallioux, a noted Canadian officer. One month later he fought in the 11 September 1814 defense of Plattsburgh, New York, and won commendation from General ...

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