Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Bintliff, Col. James (1824-1901)

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Newspaper Editor, Philanthropist

Bintliff, Col. James (1824-1901) | Wisconsin Historical Society
b. Halifax, Yorkshire, England, November 1, 1824
d. Chicago, Illinois, March 16, 1901

James Bintliff was an English-born newspaper editor from Monroe who rose from company captain to brigadier general during the Civil War.

Early Life

James Bintliff was born in Halifax, England, in 1824. At age 18 he followed his parents to the United States and settled in New York City. He married there and worked in a woolen factory owned by his father-in-law until 1851, when he moved to Monroe, Wisconsin, to take a position in the local bank.

Five years later he was elected register of deeds for Green County, and in 1859 he was admitted to the bar. In 1860 he became part owner of the Monroe Sentinel, which he later published on his own. He was a passionate abolitionist and helped found the Republican Party in Wisconsin.

Civil War Service

In 1862, as it became clear that the war would be long, Bintliff recruited a company of Monroe soldiers as Co. G, 22nd Wisconsin Infantry. He was elected captain shortly before they left Wisconsin in September 1862. Over the next nine months the 22nd advanced through Kentucky and into Tennessee with Union forces that were pushing ever deeper into the South.

In March 1863, Bintliff's company of the 22nd occupied Brentwood, Tennessee, nine miles south of Nashville. On March 25th they were attacked and captured by a much larger Confederate force. Bintliff and many of his men were sent to Libby prison. A few months later, Bintliff and his company were exchanged and sent to St. Louis, Missouri, to regroup.

In January 1864 he accepted a promotion to serve as colonel of a new regiment, the 38th Wisconsin Infantry. That spring, some of its companies went south to Petersburg, Virginia, where they were caught in the disastrous Battle of the Crater on July 30. Bintliff and the remainder of the regiment missed that battle, arriving at the front in October.

Bintliff led the 38th Infantry through the rest of the Siege of Petersburg. During the final battle for the city on April 2, 1865, he commanded three regiments. He was brevetted brigadier general for leading the successful charge upon Fort Mahone that day. Bintiff commanded the 3rd Wisconsin Brigade until the close of the war. He was mustered out in June 1865.

Postwar Career

After the war, Bintliff returned to Monroe where he edited the Monroe Sentinel until 1870. He then moved to Janesville to edit the Janesville Daily Gazette for seven years. In 1878 he bought the Darlington Republican and edited it from 1878-1885.

Bintliff was a delegate to the 1868 and 1872 Republican Conventions. He also devoted much time in his later years to philanthropic work on the boards of charitable and reform institutions. In 1896 he moved to Chicago to live near his daughters. He died there of a stroke on March 16, 1901.

Links to Learn More

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); E. B. Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1866); Monroe Sentinel, March 20, 1901; Commemorative Biographical Record of... Rock, Green, Grant, Iowa and Lafayette... (Chicago, 1901).]