A native of Albemarle County, Virginia, Benjamin Ficklin attended the Virginia Military Institute, graduating in 1849. He was accomplished before the American Civil War broke out, being the chief creator of the Pony Express, the United States’ first transcontinental courier service.
He joined the Confederate army in 1861 upon Virginia’s secession, but in 1862 was despatched to London as a purchasing agent. Ficklin’s chief accomplishments in the British capital were arranging the printing of the South’s postal stamps at Thomas De La Rue & Co. in Bunhill Row, along with a great deal of the Confederate Government’s stationary.
Ficklin also participated in the blockade running of supplies to the Confederacy until one year before war’s end, a business which earned him a great deal of wealth before dying from choking on a fishbone in Washington in 1871.