Benjamin Grubb Humphreys was born August 26, 1808 on his family's plantation,
"Hermitage," in Claiborne County, Mississippi. He attended school in Kentucky and New Jersey, until his appointment to West Point in 1825. This class was filled with other notables such as Robert E. Lee, and Joseph E. Johnston. Entering the US Military Academy in 1825, he and a number of other cadets were dismissed after a Christmas Eve riot in 1826.
Humphreys returned to Mississippi to oversee the family plantation, where he began the study of law. He was a member of the Whig party, and served in both houses of the State Legislature. He opposed secession, but nevertheless raised a company, the Sunflower Guards which later became Company I of the 21st Regiment of Mississippi Infantry. Humphreys was elected Colonel of the regiment upon its organization in Virginia from various independent companies which had arrived on their own. As part of Brig. Gen. William Barksdale's brigade, he led the 21st Mississippi in the Seven Days', Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Campaigns. On July 2, 1863, General William Barksdale, commander of the First Mississippi Brigade of which the 21st Regiment was a part, was killed in the gallant charge which broke the Union line at the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. Colonel Humphreys, the only field officer of the brigade who had not been killed or wounded, assumed command of the Brigade. Promoted to brigadier general as of August 12, 1863, he took his regiment west, fighting at Chickamauga and Knoxville. Humphreys participated in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. In August of 1864, Humphreys and his troops were sent to the Shenandoah Valley to reinforce the II Corps, under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early. General Humphreys continued to lead his men until the battle of Berryville in September 1864, where he was severely wounded and disabled for the remainder of the war.
General Humphreys was Mississippi's first elected Governor after the war. He was inaugurated October 16, 1865, after receiving a pardon from President Andrew Johnson. Although Governor Humphreys was a moderate of conciliatory spirit, his opposition to Radical Reconstruction resulted in his forcible ejection from office June 15, 1868. Humphreys and his family refused to leave the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, but were eventually marched out at bayonet point. Humphreys entered the insurance business in Jackson, and Vicksburg, but ultimately returned to his plantation in Leflore County, Mississippi, where he died December 20, 1882. He was buried in Port Gibson.
"It is my philosophy that though the South lost all but honor to save that honor, it was better to have fought and lost than not to fight at all."
B.G. Humphreys, "Autobiography"