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PA Civil War Medal of Honor RecipientsThe Medal of Honor, established by joint resolution of Congress, 12 July 1862 is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of service is exacted and each recommendation for award of this decoration is considered on the standard of extraordinary merit. A large percent of Medal of Honor recipients were awarded for action involving flags.
Bradford County, Pennsylvania
NOTE: An asterisk (*) denotes a posthumous award.
BRADFORD COUNTY, PA
BENNETT, ORREN: Private, Company D, 141st Pennsylvania Infantry.. Sailors (Saylor's) Creek, Va., 6 April 1865. Citation given: 10 May 1865 for capture of flag. (Additional information 4/23/99 courtesy of Dick McCracken, Director, Bradford County Dept. of Veterans Affairs) Bennett joined the army on Aug. 22, 1862, and was discharged on May 28, 1865. His date of death is unknown but he believed to be buried in the Luther's Mills Cemetery in Bradford County PA.
BISHOP, FRANCIS A.: Private, Company C, 57th Pennsylvania Infantry. Spotsylvania, Va., 12 May 1864. Citation given: 1 December 1864 for capture of flag. (Additional information 4/23/99 courtesy of Dick McCracken, Director, Bradford County Dept. of Veterans Affairs) Francis A. Bishop was born, date unknown, in Bradford County and he entered the service on Sept. 15, 1861 with a brother. He was discharged on June 29, 1865 and moved to Blanchard, MI where it is believed he passed away and is buried there. He was promoted to Corporal and was wounded at Ferderickburg, VA.
(Additional information 1/27/00 courtesy of Ken Richmond or Washington State) This Bishop was a resident of Port Angeles, Washington, for 30 years. Prepatory to FDR's March 1937 inauguration, F.A. Bishop was specifically invited as a guest of the President to attend the event. However, there is no indication that he actually was in attendance. The reason Bishop was invited is that he was the 'oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor,' and very likely the last Civil War MOH recipient remaining. As age took its toll, Bishop 'retired' to the Retsil Veterans Home, Retsil, Washington, where he died Oct. 11, 1937. His body was reportedly sent to Blanchard, Michigan, for burial. He died with only a niece surviving. This info. was gathered from the Port Angeles Evening News, an anniversary booklet on the Retsil Veterans Home, and records of Pacific Post No. 48, Port Angeles, Dept. of Washington and Alaska, Grand Army of the Republic. Copies of documents can be provided on request. (Ken Richmond is Camp Commander of the Gen. John W. Noble Camp No. 28 Port Angeles, Washington. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
ROUGHT, STEPHEN: Sergeant, Company A, 141st Pennsylvania Infantry.. Wilderness, Va., 6 May 1864. Citation given: 1 December 1864. Capture of flag of 13th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.). (Additional information 4/23/99 courtesy of Dick McCracken, Director, Bradford County Dept. of Veterans Affairs) Rought was born on April 3, 1840 in Bradford County and passed away in Wyalusing in Bradford County on March 16, 1919. Rought was married to the former Helen McAllister on April 7, 1865 and he is buried in the Ackley or Spring Hill Cemetery in Tuscarora Township; Helen passed away in 1890. Rought joined the service on August 18, 1862 at Camptown or Tuscarora Township and departed the service at the Western Philadelphia Hospital on May 28, 1865. He was wounded at Chancellorsville, VA on May 3, 1863, and was captured the same day. He also sustained a severe injury at Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA on May 12, 1864 and was in the hospital when discharged. Rought was promoted to Sergeant on Nov. 18, 1862.
His deed is described as follows (Source: Our Boys in Blue; Vol I; by C.F. Heverly; 1898; Towanda, PA.; pp. 17-19): "On the morning of the 6th of May, 1864, the 141st Pa. Vols., charged upon the enemy's works at a point occupied by the 13th N.C. Troops. While "fixing bayonets" preparatory to the charge, Sergeant Stephen Rought of Co. A, who had been severely wounded at Chancellorsville, and had just returned to his company from the hospital, found he had lost his bayonet from its scabbard, so clubbing his musket, he remarked with a pretty strong expletive, 'I'll have that flag!' Says Captain Hurst: 'A cheer -- a run -- the whiz of bullets in our ears -- through the powder smoke, and through the bramble bushes, we found ourselves over the works, and the 13th North Carolina Veteran Infantry our prisoners before breakfast, and for that matter without supper, and without sleep the previous night. Sergeant Rought, with some others, went straight for the rebel lag, and when over the works the rebel color sergeant refused to surrender and tried to defend it. Rought with his clubbed musket split his head open and felled him prostrate at his feet, at the same time breaking his own musket off at the stock. Before the flag had hardly touched the ground he snatched it out of the dying color sergeant's hands, shouting 'I've go it! I've go it!" What a cheer went up from the victorious 141st as he waved it, and we read on it in golden letters and figures, '13th North Carolina Veteran Volunteers,' and its long list of battles. It was a new flag. The sergeant was ordered to report with it to the brigade commander, and by him to General Birney, commanding the division. Such cheers as went up along the line as he carried it waving to the rear made those old woods ring. While so doing he was again wounded.
A congratulatory order was issued the next day by General Birney, very complimentary to the regiment, in which he gave us the honor of taking the first flag captured by the Army of the Potomac under the immediate command of General Grant. This flag was on exhibition at the great Sanitary Commission Fair held in Philadelphia that summer, and Rought, who was in hospital there wounded, was regarded as quite a hero. It is now in the trophy room of the War Department, Washington, with this record attached; "Captured by Sergeant Stephen Rought, Company A, 141st Regiment, Pa. Vols., May 6, 1864. Battles of the Wilderness, Va."
Sergeant Ethel Fuller, of the same company, took prisoner the captain of the rebel color company. While Sergeant Rought was engaged in the hand to hand struggle with the color sergeant for the flag, another of the enemy drew his gun to shoot Rought, but before he could fire Captain Warner of Co. D, shot him dead with his revolver. The sergeant says: "I took the colors to General Ward; he gave me a word of praise and offered me a drink from his flask, which I declined. He unfurled the flag and added more compliments, and told me to take it to General Birney, who received it with many flattering words for my courage and bravery."
The American Legion Post 510, the Rought-Hall Post in Laceyville, PA is named in his honor. A great-grandson, Donald Rought, lives in Vestal. NY.
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