Ben Lason dies at Andersonville Prison; 150 yrs. ago

My ancestors Silas P. and Nancy Ann (Gibson) Lason (pronounced Lay-son) had 5 sons and 2 daughters. The three eldest sons all volunteered to served in the Civil War. The third eldest, James, served in Co. L,  5th US Cavalry (along with George Custer). James died 27 May 1862 at the Battle of Hanover Courthouse, Virginia.

Benj. F. Lason tombstone

Benj. F. Lason tombstone

The second eldest son, Benjamin Franklin Lason, was born about 1843 in Pennsylvania where the family had lived for only a couple of years. Ben was in Co. F, 6th NY Cavalry. He was captured near Thoroughfare Gap, VA on 22 Oct. 1863. He was sent to Andersonville prison in Georgia. That was an infamous prison that was known for its unhealthful conditions. Of the 45,000 prisoners that were at Andersonville prison during the war nearly 13,000 died. Food was in very short supply and the prison ended up with many more men than the prison could hold. Most of the prisoners died from scurvy, diarrhea, and dysentery. Ben managed to live until 6 March 1864 when he died of a fever. He was buried at the cemetery outside the prison.

Ben’s eldest brother, George Washington Lason also served in the Civil War. He was in Co. B, 76th NY Volunteer Infantry. George was wounded in his left arm at Gettysburg (July 1863) He was captured at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. As fate would have it, he was also sent to Andersonville prison. He didn’t find out until after the war that his brother had died there a few months before he got there. Andersonville prison was liberated in May 1865. George had to be carried out on a stretcher and stayed at a hospital for a month or so before returning home. George was the only one of the three Lason brothers to survive the war.


  1. Dick when I read your blog post about Nancy Anne Lason a bell went off. I checked my tree and found a Nancy Anne Lason 1791-1874, born Dutchess cty, died So Canisteo, NY. married a John Sanford Rowley in 1805. among their many children was a Silas Lason Rowley b 1829. I suspect your family connects to this one, wouldnt you?


  2. After the high death toll over the summer of 1864, the Confederacy decided to clear out Andersonville. All prisoners considered well enough to survive a train ride to another camp were moved elsewhere in September. The fact that George Washington Lason stayed put suggests that he was on the brink of death for many months.

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