Ben Milam was born in Kentucky on 20th October, 1788. He was a member of the American forces in the War of 1812. After the war he became involved in transporting flour from the Mississippi to New Orleans. Later he traded with the Comanche on the Colorado River in Texas.
Milam joined the volunteers during the Texas Revolution that began on 2nd October, 1835. Stephen Austin placed Milam in charge of a company of scouts during the attempts to remove General Perfecto de Cos from his base at San Antonio de Bexar.
Soon after the rebellion began the Texans surrounded San Antonio de Bexar. On 7th December a group of volunteers led by Milam attacked the town. Ben Milam was killed later that day. After the death of Milam James Bowie took over the leadership of the rebels. After two more days of fighting General Perfecto de Cos called for negotiations to take place. Cos offered the rebels control of San Antonio de Bexar in exchange for his men being allowed to return to Mexico.