Some independent historians have tried to deny the commander of Fort Sanders, Lieutenant Samuel Nicoll Benjamin, his triumph. They pretend that Burnside’s chief engineer, Captain Orlando Poe, did most of the planning and preparation for the defense.
But the primary source materials make it pretty obvious that Benjamin and Poe worked closely together. Burnside rewarded Benjamin by promoting him to chief of artillery for the Ninth Corps. Benjamin was one of the very few officers to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor (strictly a Union decoration, of course) for “extraordinary heroism”—though it was for Spotsylvania, rather than Knoxville. The photo seems to have been taken years after the war, when he was a major or lieutenant colonel. (His middle name is sometimes spelled with an “h,” as in the CMOH file.)