Bennett C. Riley

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Bennett C. Riley (Nov. 27, 1787 in St. Mary's County, Maryland – June 6, 1853 in Buffalo, New York) was the seventh and last military governor of the territory of California before it became a U.S. state. He also served as a general in the United States Army during the Mexican-American War.

He led his brigade at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, where Winfield Scott gave him credit for the U.S. victory. He was appointed brevet major general and fought at the Chapultepec. He is generally considered one of the ablest brigade commanders in the army during the war with Mexico. In the years 1849 and 1850, General Riley commanded the Military Department in Upper California and exercised the duties of Provincial Governor. After his administrative service concluded on the Pacific, Riley was ordered to take command of a regiment on the Rio Grande. However ill-health prevented further service on his part. He returned to his home in Buffalo, New York.

The many military campaigns he took part in over the years had a deleterious effect on his health. He finally succumbed to an aggravated form of cancer. General Riley died on Thursday evening, June 10, 1853.