William Bumgarner
Medal of Honor Recipient Buried in Wells County

New headstone for only Medal of Honor winner buried in Wells County to be dedicated May 26
Source: The Bluffton News-Banner (http://www.news-banner.com/index/news-app/story.7252 dead link)

May 18, 2007


One of our nation’s greatest military heroes from nearly 150 years ago will get additional recognition from area and Wells County organizations this coming Memorial Day weekend.

William Bumgarner, who as a Union sergeant in the Civil War earned the Medal of Honor — this country’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force — will have a new headstone dedicated at the spot where he is buried at Mossburg Cemetery northwest of Liberty Center.

Believed to be the only Medal of Honor recipient interred in Wells County, Bumgarner’s acknowledgement will be conducted by Champion Hill, Camp 17 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) located in Huntington County.

The ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday May 26 at the cemetery near 550W and 200S in Wells County and are expected to last about 40 minutes.

Information about Bumgarner and his burial location first came to local light this past February when Gib Young, a member of the Huntington County organization informed the Wells County Historical Society.

“The ‘Sons’ have come across a genuine hero and Medal of Honor winner from the Civil War buried in Wells County,” Young wrote. “Champion Hill, Camp 17 of Huntington is planning on holding a Memorial Day service at the Mossburg Cemetery and we would like to have the Wells County Historical Society take part in some manner.”

The dedication of the headstone, which is provided by the U.S. government free of charge, will occur after efforts, research and coordination involving, among others, Keith Stroud of Bluffton, Ike Huffman of Liberty Center and Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md., Young said.

A year ago, Stroud, also a member of the SUVCW, was carrying out some research about his home area of Liberty Center, found Bumgarner’s obituary and tracked down where he was buried.

Bumgarner (July 12, 1837-December 24, 1911) won his Medal of Honor during action at the Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi on May 22, 1863, for “gallantry in the charge of the volunteer storming party.”

Entering the military at Mason City, West Virginia on June 5, 1861, Bumgarner was a member of Company A of the 4th West Virginia Infantry of the 15th Army Corps.

More than 1,500 Medals of Honor were awarded during the Civil War, some for less notable heroics than are generally associated with the country’s highest decoration as it is known today.

In the Civil War Era, the Medal of Honor was the only authorized military citation, so in some instances it was given out for what seems to be a whim.

For example, included at one time as Medal of Honor honorees were the 29 soldiers who served as guards at President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral.

Those medals, along with nearly 900 others, were rescinded early in the 20th century.

But there is no question that Bumgarner truly is deserving of the award for outstanding bravery under fire.

PDC Gib Young presiding at MOH ceremony at William Bumgarner's
grave in Mossburg Cemetery, Wells Co. Indiana - Memorial Day 2007

The new MOH headstone of William Bumgarner
in Mossburg Cemetey, Wells Co. Indiana - Memorial Day 2007



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