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Benjamin Barlow

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About Benjamin Barlow

  • Captain, US Cavalry

ID Card

  • Role
    Main Character
  • Playby
    Christian Bale
  • Full Name
    Benjamin Thomas Barlow
  • Goes By
    Captain on duty, Benjamin off duty
  • Profession
  • Position
    Captain, United States cavalry
  • Birth Date
  • Status
  • Height
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color

Physical Description

If you are looking for some dapper upper class officer, well that's not Benjamin. Not that he couldn't look good enough if clad in an army dress uniform with freshly shaven face but there is no need for that out on the western frontier in a backwater outpost in Montana. Benjamin is in his late thirties but most would guess him for older. Military life is not an easy one and his career of campaigning both in the Civil War and now with the US Cavalry has aged him more than even he would care to admit. To judge him by first glimpse though would be a big mistake.


On campaign, Benjamin is at ease in the saddle, having done this very thing for so many years now. His horse was one he purchased, as many officers were wont to do. It is a six year old big solid bay gelding named Joe. Sadly he has lost mounts in action more than once, being in the cavalry is hazardous for horses too. He is simply armed, carrying an 1860 Colt Single Action revolver in a military holster. Though officially sabers are supposed to be part of a cavalryman's arsenal, like almost every regiment west of the Mississippi, these are stored away for occasional use in parades or ceremonies only. A more useful piece of equipment often hangs around his neck, a binoculars.

Traits & Characteristics

Benjamin carries himself with a quiet confidence, in action he can remain focused and outwardly calm, in an argument he can state his case with an almost reserved demeanor. But underneath all that, there is an almost palpable simmering anger at times. He has long ago formed his opinions, shaped his personal philosophy, and at this point has no desire to amend them, or even less, put up with ideas or people who are contrary to his beliefs, his ethics, his standards.


He admits it sometimes aloud even, that the tools of his trade are violence and force. He will do what he feels is necessary. He might not always approve of how the army operates or his superiors, but he has a fierce loyalty to his troopers and is consistently concerned about their welfare. That does not mitigate his belief though in the importance of discipline. "The army is neither a democracy nor a mob," is one of his personal quotes. If it concerns duty, it is best not to cross him.


Part of the job of an independent military command such as he now exercises is dealing with civilians. He has mixed feelings about civilians. Too often he finds them, especially the men, foolish and stubborn. They bring on many of the problems on the frontier with their behavior or lack of. However it is his job to protect them and in particular their families. There he feels much more sympathetic to the women and children.


A soldier since he enlisted in the Civil War, he is a career officer, the army is his life. 


He currently is serving in the 2nd Cavalry in Montana territory.


+ Experienced officer, combat veteran both in the Civil War and in fighting against the Plains Indians.

+  Excellent horseman.

+ An ability to remain cool and collected even in times of great stress.


Aliases / Nicknames



He goes where the Army assigns him. Does not own a residence of his own.

Kith & Kin

Parents deceased, married sister back East, they write - rarely.


A bachelor, he would tell you he is already married - to the service.


No children.

Life Events

Benjamin was born into a middle class family, he was the second of three children but the first, also a boy, died while still an infant of a sudden illness. Benjamin was seven by the time his little sister arrived. His parents were upstanding members of the town of Athens, Ohio. His father, Owen, was a college professor of history at Ohio University. He was brought up in a loving but strict household, that discipline stayed with Benjamin for the rest of his life. However his father's love of history, books, and the scholastic world did not carry over to the son. An indifferent student, the boy was much more drawn to a life of constant activity and search for adventure. He never did get into serious trouble but he was definitely into much boyhood and adolescent mischief.


Benjamin left home at the age of 17, eager to become his own man and with the blessing of his father though to the sorrow of his mother. The next decade was a time of much wandering and indifferent at best personal success. He tried a lot of jobs from dock hand on a river port to deckhand on a riverboat. Travel on the river was exciting and different though the work hard and the captain quite the tyrant. Whether he would have stuck it out for a long term career though proved to be out of his hands as disaster struck. The riverboat caught fire and on that fateful night he learned to swim the hard way when the riverboat sank, taking many lives with it. After that harrowing experience he decided to stay away from water and drifted into the uplands of Tennessee. There he took varied jobs on horse farms starting out simply mucking barns but gradually learning a lot about the animals. He found out he liked the big animals, a part of him preferred dealing with horses to humans alright. This equine experience would hold him in good stead when the war broke out in 1861.


Like his father before him, Benjamin was staunchly against the institution of slavery, in fact his father used to say he almost named the boy Spartacus who had led the greatest slave rebellion in Rome's long history. He also felt a loyalty to his home state and headed north as things spiraled out of control into war. Caught up in the frenzied early patriotism, Benjamin enlisted in the Union army - the cavalry to be specific. He has never looked back since, the army suits him.


Benjamin joined the 3rd Cavalry in May, 1861 but by August of the same year it's designation was changed to what it would remain from there on, the 6th Cavalry. By 1862 this young regiment was earning it's spurs with continual campaigning while assigned to the Army of the Potomac. Benjamin advanced quickly from private to sergeant for showing both "aptitude and fortitude" or so said the report of his company commander. He and the unit participated in constant skirmishes. Benjamin learned that he could overcome his fear and function on the chaos of a battlefield while many about him could not.


In 1863 the 6th Cavalry would get their first real full scale battle, Brandy Station, where they would lose several officers and one sixth of their strength to casualties. Benjamin killed his first man there, pistoling a rebel horseman who was in the act of aiming a sawed off shotgun at him. It might have bothered him more if he had not lost men he knew from his own unit. It was kill or be killed. You get him before he gets you, another lesson he would never forget.


It was during the Gettysburg campaign, that 6th Cavalry became celebrated for it's gallant rearguard action fighting to hold off two of the South's finest cavalry brigades at Fairfield. To this day, Benjamin believes this to be the fiercest fight he had ever been in. Every officer in the regiment but three became casualties and losses were heavy among the troopers too. Benjamin was lightly wounded but ignored the wound while rallying stragglers during the final withdrawal. This time he reckoned he killed perhaps four or five of the rebels but though he killed them he admired them for their boldness and courage. Unlike some, Aurelian never could build up a hate for the Confederates, they too were soldiers just doing their duty. However they were fighting for an unjust cause, of that he remained certain.


Given the heavy officer losses and his own performance, Benjamin was promoted to lieutenant and soon after then to captain. The Sixth continued to perform well the remainder of the war, being in on the final crushing defeats of the army of Robert E. Lee just outside of Appomatox. Aurelian was thankful when the war ended soon after. But unlike so many he did not muster out but decided to stay in the army.


Post war saw the 6th, greatly reduced in numbers due to budget cuts, sent on out west of the Mississippi where it helped enforce the Reconstruction in Texas. Because they did not need as many officers those were pruned too and Benjamin considered himself lucky to be retained though he was reduced in rank to lieutenant. He understood it was all about seniority, it was how the army operated. So be it.


Of course one of the other reasons the army and thus the cavalry were out west were the Indians. Indian problems were endemic and the army found itself overstretched in the vastness of the ground they were expected to cover. Regiments were broken up into smaller detachments and these were deployed all over to try and help the growing population and enforce Indian Agency decrees. Naturally Benjamin went where he was sent.


Just prior to being sent to Montana, he had the satisfaction of being promoted back up to captain  and currently is in command of an understrength company of troopers. While he is a veteran and a few of his NCOs are also long serving, most of his men are recruits. He took the revelation calmly enough, you learn to work with what you got.

Character Notes


Player Notes


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Recent Posts

  1. Benjamin Barlow
    There was a certain inevitability to it all as the cavalry manuvers flanked the wagons easily enough on both sides and then on signal, both columns shifted into lines and cantered toward their lumbering target. Benjamin could see some excitement, was that consternation, going on among the men on the wagons. Sure enough, one man stood up from his seat on the first wagon and signaling to his point men out front, shouting too but Benjamin could not hear the words.
    The point riders took off, abandoning the wagon expedition to it's fate, as fast as the pair could urge their mounts forward. Little did they realize, they were riding right toward his detached scouts. He would have to trust MacIntosh and his Apache would be able to take those men for he simply continued to close.
    By the time the two lines closed to within speaking range, the wagons had actually halted. Each wagon had two men on them though by now they had clambered off to wait the army's arrival. While two of the men held rifles they were not foolish enough to try and aim them. It was as Benjamin figured, they were not suicidal enough to shoot it out with forty cavalrymen.
    "Halt!" Benjamin shouted out the most basic of orders and the troopers pulled up. One of the wagon men stepped forward with a wave and a smile. An older rough looking sort and the grin looked forced.
    "Hello there! Might we be of help to you gentlemen?" he greeted the soldiers.

    Benjamin had no real desire to be nice but he would at least go thru the act of being polite.
    "That you might. I am going to be wanting to have a look what's in those wagons, Mister....?" he called back.
    "Mercier, name's Mercier, captain," came the reply, least the fellow recognized ranks.
    "Very well then Mr. Mercier, we want to see what you are carrying there," Benjamin turned and rapped out an order to his detachment, "Sergeant, dismount with eight men and go check those wagons out. I will keep Mr. Mercier and his associates company."
    Then he looked back at the civilians, "Oh and you two with the rifles, lay'em down now. And slowly unless you want to provoke us. It would not end well."
    Mercier continued that plastered fake smile of his, "Boys do as the soldier boy sez. We want no trouble."
    Benjamin decided to dismount then and as he did a trooper did the same and took the horse's reins from the captain.  If Benjamin's hunch was right about these wagons and these men, Mercier was not going to be smiling for long. The man was in deep trouble.
    @Flip   @Javia
  2. Benjamin Barlow
    “Yes’sir. Clear and understood, they won’t get away. Figger we came at them from what’d be their front, give us a better chance of not having to give chase.”
    "That seems like a sound plan, Mr. MacIntosh. We will hold back for a bit and let you two ride on ahead so you can get in front of the party," the officer pulled out a watch, "Say ten minutes head start? Then we begin our flanking."
  3. Benjamin Barlow
    And still the man had to have one last say before obeying and heading back to join the troopers, Benjamin had half a mind to order him gagged but it was too much bother and he had far more important things to do. They had found their target and he was going to swoop.
    "So Cap'n, whenever you have a plan, we'll be ready. We can ride out again and keep an eye on 'em."
    "No, Mr. MacIntosh, we are going to move on them right now. Every mile we let them travel brings them that much more likely to run into their customers, the hostiles," Benjamin pointed out.
    This was definitely one of those times where he wished the command had more officers. But he was the lone one on this mission and you worked with what you had.  Fortunately he had a veteran sergeant, that was something. Quickly he worked out a plan. Their target was those wagons more so than even the men and those bulky slow things were not going to be able to get away.
    "Alright, sergeant, I want you to take the first two squads and move out toward the left," he was pointing as he explained, " You will advance until you catch sight of wagons then veer and move parallel at a distance of say...two hundred yards.  In the meantime I will take the other two squads and do the same manuver only on the right. We will have these wagons in between us like meat in a sandwich. Understand?"
    "Yessir, we shadow them on the flanks," the sergeant nodded.
    "Yes, and when you hear the bugle sound three short notes, you face the wagons and then commence to close in. Steady not any all out charge. I will be doing the same. I highly doubt the men with these wagons have the sand to open fire. But if they do, we cannot halt and form skirmish lines as then we would be sending bullets toward each other's lines. So in that case, draw pistols and close in. Once we get among them, shoot every one of those bastards down."
    Again the veteran NCO nodded.
    "I expect them to simply pull up and want to talk. They have no reason to even think we know who they are or what they are about. If there is no resistance then do not shoot. I want to just round them up. Now a couple are on horseback. If they make a break for it, don't split off in pursuit. That's where our scouts will come in, they can take care of those men. Got it?"
    "Yessir, understood and ready,"  rather than be intimidated by the prospect of action, the big man actually looked eager for it.
    "Explain it to your men and then let's be off. Good luck, sergeant," Benjamin then sent him back to gather half the detachment.
    Now he turned to MacIntosh and Ke Ni Tay, "Gents, I take it you heard that? I really don't think they are suicidal so doubt they will open up when we come at them from both sides with forty men. But we will handle the wagons. Your job is to take after those mounted men should they make a break for it. Actually I would not care if they got away except they might ride straight to the closest Indians and rouse them."
    "Frankly if they run, assume they'll resist so take 'em down anyway you need to. Just don't let'em get away. Understood?"
    Meanwhile in the back ranks, the civilian had rode up to two troopers resting on their saddle horns doing what enlisted men did all the time, sat around wondering what the hell was going on and what the man in charge was planning for them to do or go next.
    One was a callow youth, a fresh recruit- doubtful he even shaved yet, the other was in his late twenties, early thirties and just looked the part of a man who'd done this sort of thing before.

    “Hullo fellers!” he said, bringing forth a large wad of tobacco. “Care for a chew?”
    The shorter older trooper grinned and welcomed the offer, "Thanks! Don' mind if I do."
    He reached for the wad and then bit into it tearing off a healthy size hunk.
    The lad only shook his head, "No thanks." And the look he gave was one of  almost horror at the thought of indulging in the habit.
    Even as he began chewing, the one asked, "Hey what's goin' on up there? Big pow wow. We goin' inta action?"
    The boy only swallowed nervously.
  4. Benjamin Barlow
    Benjamin glared at the man, "These men are reporting to me, Mr. Crabbe. And if I want any inclusion in this conversation from you, I will ask for it."
    “Sorry Captain.” Replied Crabbe soothingly “It's just that I’m as keen as you to apprehend these awful illegal traders.”
    Benamin now got back on track, he was going to apprehend these men and....
    "Sure, we’ve got the jump on ‘em. Why don’t you just surround the rascals, Cap? Open fire and let ‘em have it? Ke-Ni-Tay’s identified Mercier, you’d be within your rights…” Crabbe interjected again.
    Now the officer rounded on the man, "I am heartily sick of having you butt into army business. Get further back into the column right now and if you say anything else, I will have you gagged and tied to your horse."
    He glanced behind him, "Sergeant you just heard me."
    "Indeed I did, sir," the big bearded man nodded, he looked more than willing to discipline the civilian.
  5. Benjamin Barlow
    Benjamin ordered the column to a halt as he saw MacIntosh and Ke-Ni-Tay coming down the slope in a rush. Had to be some sort of news. Sure enough...
    “Mornin’ Captain, think we found ‘em. Three heavy wagons, two out riders. Five men that Ke-Na-Tay saw, might be more inside the wagons, if so, could be relief drivers, can't be sure," MacIntosh informed him.
    Benjamin nodded, that could well be the gun runners. Why else heavy wagons in the middle of nowhere, if they had legitimate goods they'd be on a road between two towns.  Before he could say something though, their 'civilian guest' butted in.
    “One of these white men, was he round faced, bulbous nosed, as old as MacIntosh with eyes the color of the afternoon sky?” he asked urgently, punctuating his description with the sign language understood by all of the disparate, warring Indian tribes.
    Benjamin glared at the man, "These men are reporting to me, Mr. Crabbe. And if I want any inclusion in this conversation from you, I will ask for it."
    Then his eyes went back to the scouts, "Sounds like we found our prey, gentlemen. And the only way they can outrun us now if they abandon their wagons."
    "Plus they don't necessarily know we are looking for them. Afterall we only found out about these fellows thanks to Mr. Crabbe here," he at least acknowledged the man's contribution to all this.
    "I take it they weren't moving in haste?" he asked of the scouts . Again not that he worried about them outrunning the detachment just that the fellows might be aware they were about to have company.
    Even as he listened to the answer, Benjamin began coming up with a tactical plan to seize the train and hopefully it's occupants.
  6. Benjamin Barlow
    MacIntosh found the detachment a good campsite, near water and partially concealed from distant view at least by a line of rolling hills. It would do, Benjamin thought after a first look and ordered the men to make camp for the night. A horse line went up and guard watches assigned. Not that it needed to be for the veterans but it was stressed how important it was for the sentries to be alert. Falling asleep on duty would be a very serious offense, no excuses accepted.
    The night passed without incident, the likelihood had actually been very low given Indians did not like to raid or fight in the darkness. Partly due to their beliefs about the afterlife and partly due to the difficulty of coordinating most anything. It was much the same with the Army, night operations were frought with confusion and worse. 
    Barlow woke the men up at the crack of dawn, so far in this early glimpse of the oncoming day it seemed like the weather would hold up. Very few clouds and that should mean no rain. They should make good speed. Of course so might their targets and possibly the Indians too. Well, unless that village was set up to stay in the same place for awhile.
    After a rather hasty and unsatisfying breakfast, the troopers mounted and headed out in that same direction they had been heading the day before. Benjamin would have liked to been optimistic but he'd gone out on these sorts of operations before and they could last days even weeks, should one push it to that. Well, he was not going to stray that far from the fort but it was far too early to give up yet.
    The early morning coolness gave way to a sunny warmth and by midday many of the men were down to shirtsleeves, given those dark blue woolen soldier jackets one could hardly blame them. Benjamin was an officer, he was expected to look like one so he just perspired and bore it. This was still far better than snow and wind or even the more drastic heat which would roll in around July or so.
    They were deep in the plains but plains were not all that flat in many parts. Rolling hills meant they often crested one to see what was in sight next. But this time it would be different. Before the column could even ascend the next rise, here came the scouts barreling downhill with what had to be news.  Barlow could only hope it was their prey.
    About a mile off was a trio of wagons, heavy ones too drawn by teams of half dozen horses, accompanied by a pair of riders. They were moving in a north east direction. The drivers of those wagons and their mounted companions had no idea that their little caravan had been spotted.
  7. Benjamin Barlow
    [Arabella, Benjamin, Charlie, Brendan]
    So now he was being practically dragged toward some of those self same cowboys she had just maligned. By now the military man in him was getting pretty tired of being 'hoohrahed' by a little girl but the gentleman in him didn't yet have the heart to simply say 'no'. He was getting to that point though.
    Arabella left him and latched onto a tall young cowpoke who from one glance one could see was drunk and busy getting drunker. At least she left him, Benjamin noted with approval. The girl proceeded to buttering the fellow up and talking about his bravery regarding Indians and on and on. Fine, maybe the girl would glue herself to that unlucky fellow's arm.
    "Excuse me, everyone," he nodded to the cowboys, "Don't want to break up your fun, gents."
    Then he turned and headed the opposite direction. Might be time to head back to the fort.
  8. Benjamin Barlow
    [Arabella and Benjamin]
    “Only the best!” Messalina confirmed and shooting a sideways glance to make sure Ralph wasn’t listening, added “On the house, I reckon you’ve probably earned it.” She handed him a double.
    Benjamin smiled, "Why thank you and I would agree."  He took a sip first, yes it was the good stuff or at least damn good enough to fool him.
    In the meantime the girl was chattering away, some of these men knew her (Benjamin did not like to think just how they knew her but none of his business he told himself). Then she started in on pointing out various menfolk and disparaging them with no sense of overstepping boundaries. He could only hope this did not start an incident. Benjamin made a point of pretending not to even hear all this gossip but just tried to enjoy his drink. This liquor was far too good to simply gulp down, it was to be savored.
    Messalina interrupted this detailed character assassination of all the loyal saloon customers in the tent with a question for the military man.
    “Say Cap’n, I’ve been reading about this big expedition against the Indians coming up, are any of you boys up at the Fort going to be part of this ‘Montana Column’ that they’re talking about?”
    "Honestly, ma'am, I do not know. Such planning is above my pay grade. Though even if I did, it is not permissable to discuss military operations with the general public," Benjamin remained polite but firm.
  9. Benjamin Barlow
    [Arabella and Benjamin]
    "Oh, I wouldn’t ever try and make you leave the army if I married ya, I’d be that proud to be married to a officer: ‘How dya do? I’m Mrs Captain Benjamin Barlow, U.S. Cavalry.’ Gee Cap, I think you should get married, maybe to a nice Southern girl, y'know, healing the divide.”
    Benjamin smiled but did not reply, how do you answer that from a child? He knew exactly what nice Southern girl she meant afterall.
    “I think takin’ a Mrs Barlow would be good for your career, too: I mean, all them big Army Generals is married, ain’t they? Like General Useless Grant, and General George Armstong Custard, and General Terry…, er, I don’t know his second name, but I’m pretty sure he’s married, too.”
    "I doubt highly I will ever attain the lofty rank of general. By the way, it's Custer and he actually is only a lieutenant colonel. He was a general in the war. Oh and Terry is that worthy's last name too," he gently corrected her. 
    After the dance, the good Captain tried to say his goodbyes, but he hadn’t reckoned with the Clinch Mountain barnacle.
    "Well...on that note then, I thank you for the dance, young lady, and I need to take my leave. I intend on parching my thirst with a drink at the beer tent. Good evening," he smiled then gave a nod of the head sort of bow.
    “Oh, that’s good, I’m a headin’ that way m’self!” she beamed happily, taking his arm and hanging on like a limpet: the kind of limpet that other limpets criticise for being ‘too clingy’.
    She was? He had not expected that.
    “I work at the saloon so I know all them folks in the beer tent, like Mr Flandry, he’s the barman and he’s got a beard like you, and Mammy Cookie, she’s a big fat black lady and I love her and she used to be a slave but she ‘scaped on the railroad, and I’m allowed to go behind the bar, well it’s more like a table really, but it’s like the bar tonight and I could get you your beer so you don’t have to get in line, because I reckon that’s beneath your station, what with you bein’ a war hero and all.” She chattered away breathlessly as they walked.
    "I did not say I was a war hero, girl," again he felt compelled to make a correction. She works at the saloon?
    Messalina saw them coming and shook her head.
    Arabella introduced him excitedly.
    “Cookie! Cookie! Permit me to introduce Captain Benjamin Barlow” she yelped, then struck a dramatic pose. “The name he was given at birth, the rank he hath earned!”
    A very uncomfortable Benjamin nodded, "Hello."  There he was literally the only one with female accompaniment amongst all those menfolk customers and quite a few noticed.
    “Beer Cap’n?” asked the cook “Or do you feel in need a something stronger?!”
    "I could use ..........how about a shot of whiskey. Good whiskey, not the cheap stuff," he replied.
  10. Benjamin Barlow
    [Arabella and Benjamin]
    "Oooh, ‘Captain Benjamin Barlow’! Don’t that sound fine?!” she cooed.
    "The name I was given at birth, the rank I've earned," he commented rather bemused by this child. She must wear out her folks.
    “So, when you get married, the lucky lady’s going to be a-callin’ herself ‘Mrs. Captain Benjamin Barlow’! Oooh, that sure does sound mighty fine!”
    "I doubt she would use the rank in that but no matter as I have no real plans to get married. As many a bachelor career officer would tell you we are married to the army. I do not think I am cut out for civilian life, I like it right where I am," he informed her calmly.
    The dance was fast paced and short because of it. Not every dancer had the stamina for a long performance. The girl plainly enjoyed herself though as she clung to him while they vacated the dance floor. That drew a few stares from some folk but Benjamin willfully ignored them. Frankly he did not care what they thought, he knew he was doing nothing wrong and the girl, well it was simply youthful excitement on her part.
    "Crikey Cap, you sure know how to satisfy a gal! That was the roughest seein’-to I ever got at a Saturday night dance!”
    Again her choice of words...lord above. Her folks would probably horrified to hear that. But it was not his place to give her lessons in proper conversation.
    "Well...on that note then, I thank you for the dance, young lady, and I need to take my leave. I intend on parching my thirst with a drink at the beer tent. Good evening," he smiled then gave a nod of the head sort of bow.

About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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