Maryland Military Heroes

Medal of Honor Recipients


First Sgt. Augustus Walley

Born March 10, 1856 into slavery in Reisterstown, Maryland. This African American spent his time in slavery until the end of the civil war in 1865. From 1865 to November 26, 1878 he worked as a laborer in the Reisterstown area. On November 26, 1878 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the ~ 9th Cavalry Regiment of the famous Buffalo Soldiers as a private with Troop I. He served with this regiment until his discharge on November25, 1883. When he enlisted in Baltimore, Maryland he was then shipped west. He never imagined that he would return home a hero. After roll call in August 31, 1881, he was present for duty and records show that his troop had been in battle with hostile Indians on August 16, 1881 in the Cuchiullo Negro Mountains. He was discharged at Fort Reno, Arizona on November 25, 1883 on expiration of serve with a character rating of excellence. He re-enlisted November 26, 1883 and served continuously until his 1 retirement in 1907, with 29 years of service.

Application for a medal of honor was cited by Lieut. George R. Burnett, 9th Cavalry for his braver on August 16, 1881 in action against hostile apaches at Cuchillo Negro Mountains, New Mexico. Events leading to this application follow: During the fight a horse of a Private Burton became unmanageable and carried the Private directly into Indian fire. To avoid this Burton dropped from his saddle injured and inactive. Assumed dead the command was given to fall back and take another position, but Burton called out for help and to be rescued. This soldier without regard for his own safety under heavy enemy fire went to Private Burton's assistance and brought him to safety. Lt. Burnett cited many numerous minor instances of this soldier's gallantry during the two years under Lt. Burnett's command. He was always found to be reliable, trustworthy and efficient which warranted a recommendation for the medal of honor.

While these acts of bravery were approved and recommended by the Regimental Commander, Colonel Edward Hatch he also recommended that he also be awarded a certificate of merit for distinguished service, whether in action or otherwise. These honors were to represent his extraordinary exertion in the preservation of human life. The nation's highest award THE MEDAL OF HONOR was awarded to private Augustus Walley on October 1, 1890 with a Certificate of Merit. 1st Sgt. Augustus Walley was sent to Cuba in the Spanish American was with the 10th Cavalry and was awarded another certificate of merit for gallantry under enemy fire. He spent two years in the Philippines insurrection in the 10th Cavalry and retired from the "Buffalo Soldiers" in 1907. Sgt. Augustus Walley took up residence in Butte, Montana. He was recalled to active duty on May 1, 1918 assigned as 1st Sgt. Sanitary Corps at Camp Beaunegard, Louisiana until he retired on March 8, 1919. He lived the rest of his life on Etting Avenue in Baltimore City until his death on April 9, 1938. Sgt. Augustus Walley has a niece lnez Lee,Great nieces-Betty Stokes,Beulah Johnson,Talaya Johnson,and Great nephews-Water Johnson and Michael Johnson all who reside in Maryland.

Trooper William O. Wilson

William Othello Wilson, a native of Hagerstown was born on September 16, 1867. He enlisted in the United States Army on August 21, 1889. He earned the Medal of Honor on December 30, 1890 for "gallantry in action" voluntarily, for successfully carrying a message to the battalion commander at the Pine Ridge Indian Agency in South Dakota. He carried the dispatch when reinforcements were needed when the wagon supply train of Captain John S. Loud came under Indian attack. His Medal of Honor was awarded on September 17, 1891. William Wilson returned to Hagerstown in 1898 and married. The marriage produced seven children. Two of his daughters, Mrs. Anna V. Jones and Mrs. Elsie Comer currently reside in Hagerstown.

In Hagerstown, Mr.Wilson was a "jack of all trades" and worked as a carpenter and upholsterer. He died in January 1928. The grassy triangle at the intersection of Jonathan Street, Charles Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown, was dedicated to his honor in 1988. His home was located near the corner of Sumans Av. and North St., adjacent to the Martin Luther King Center. Although his family knew of his courageous military act, his actual burial site was unknown until Mrs. Mary Jones, Mr. Wilson's daugter in law began to research his endeavor. Mrs. Jones research led her to the Washington County Free Library on February 28, 1997. Mr. Don Brown, by coincidence overheard her inquiry's and joined the investigation. Don Brown discovered Mr. Wilson's gravesite in Rose Hill Cemetery on April 16, 1997. The grave marker was provided by the Veterans Administration.

Thus far, Mr. Wilson is the only Washington County, Maryland resident to receive the Med~l of Honor, our nations highest military decoration. The MOH is awarded to a soldier, sailor, airman or marine who in actual combat, distinguishes himself conspicuosly at the risk of life, by gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Mr. Wilson's military funeral symbolizes a sense of family and community pride and perfect conclusion to his heroic act of bravery.

Sgt.Thomas Boyne

Of the three blacks qualifying for the Medal of Honor in 1879, from the state of Maryland, a native of Prince Georges County Thomas Boyne was the first. A sergeant of Company C, 9th Cavalry, Boyne was one of the few men to earn the award for action in two encounters. They were both with a band of Mescalero and Chiricahua Apaches led by Chief Victorio. The medal was presented to him for "bravery in action" at the Mimbres Mountains, New Mexico on May 29th,1879, and at the Cuchillo Negro River near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico on September 27 of the same year.

When Victorio and his followers fled from their New Mexican reservation and headed for old Mexico,9th cavalrymen commanded by Captain Charles D. Beyer were sent from Fort Bayard to intercept the runaways. Captain Beyer with second Lieutenant Henry H. Wright, 31 enlisted men of Company C,15 enlisted men of Company I, and two Navaho scouts. On the third day out the command struck a two-day old trail which was headed towards the Mimbres Mountains.Early in the morning on the 20th of May the troops descended into a canyon and were deployed in a skirmish line to continue the search.Finally they sighted the Indians atop a peak, busily erecting a breastwork.While engaged in this activity, one of the Indians raised a white flag and in Apache asked too talk with the officer commanding the troops.Captain Beyer proposed that Victorio meet him halfway,but the suggestion was rejected.

Then according to Beyer the Indians made a "harangue" and all that could be gather from this was that his people wanted to be left alone. Growing suspicious Capt. Beyer directed his skirmishers under Lieut. Wright to move halfway up the peak within 200 yards of the breastwork. After instructing the skirmishers on the right to move slightly forward and to the right in order to flank the Indians, Beyer gave the order to advance. The soldiers opened fire; the Indians responded. Thomas Boyne, among others was specifically mentioned by Captain Beyer "for gallantry and bravery displayed." Lieutenant Wright took "pleasure in certifying as a eyewitness to the gallant conduct of Sergeant Boyne. Wright also wrote that"I was engaged in bringing in a wounded man with a few men and was surpised by the Indians,my horse was killed and corralled by hostiles when Sergeant Thomas Boyne commanded a detachment sent to my assistance, flanked and gallantly charged the Indians driving them off." Lieutenant Wright recommended Boyne for the Medal Of Honor and his recommendation was heartily endorsed by Major Albert P. Morrow, who stated that "I have seen him repeatedly in action and in every instance he distinguished himself." Morrow also wrote that"I cannot speak too highly of his conduct" and expressed the belief that"if any soldier ever deserved a .....Medal of Honor Sergeant Boyne does and I hope he may be so rewarded.

Thomas Boyne's western experience began early-earlier than that of any other black Medal of Honor winner in the West. A member of a light artillery regiment activated during the Civil War, he served in Texas for several months after that confict and was discharged in Brownsville early in 1866. Less than a year later he joined the Regular Army, serving for many years in the 25th Infantry before transferring to the 9th Cavalry. After almost 25 years of service the native of Prince Georges County, Maryland, was discharged in 1889 because of a disability. He was admitted to the U.S. Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C. in 1890, where he remained until his death in 1896.

Other Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients

9th Cavalry Regiment
Capt. Francis S. Dodge, Troop D, 1879; 2nd Lt. George R. Burnett, 1881; 2nd Lt. Matthais W. Day, Co. I, 1879; 2nd Lt. Robert T. Emmet, Co. G, 1879; 1st Sgt. Moses Williams, Co. I, 1881; Sgt. John Denny, Co. B, 1879; Sgt. George Jordon, Co. K, 1880; Sgt. Henry Johnson, Co. D, 1890; Sgt. Thomas Shaw, Co. K, 1881; Sgt. Emanuel Stance, Co. F, 1870; Sgt. Brent Woods, Co. B, 1881; Corp. Clinton Greaves, Co. C, 1877;

10th Cavalry Regiment

Capt. Louis H. Carpenter, Co. H, 1868; 2nd Lt. Powhaten H. Clarke, 1886; Sgt. William McBryar, Co. K, 1890 10th Cavalry, Cuban Campaign Sgt. Major Edward L. Baker, Jr.; Pvt. Dennis Bell, Troop H; Pvt. Fitz Lee, Troop M

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