Clear as mud... right!
Regarding the 4th and the National Anthem, I noted that lawyer/poet Francis Scott Key had been sent to Fort McHenry at the mouth of the Maryland harbour of Baltimore. His job was to exchange some British prisoners for Americans. Having overheard tactical conversations regarding the next day's battle, the Brits then made him a prisoner for the night.
Over the 25 hour dropping of about 1,500 shells on the fort, Key and others were constantly looking out across the harbour to see if the morning would bring them an American or British victory. The result did not please the Brits.
The last blog also told the story of Key's son, a womanizer, who was killed in the street across from the White House by a politician with a dubious character on many fronts. That politician was Danial Sickles, who, like Key also liked the women, no mater their marriage status. But when it came to his wife, a women 17 years his younger, his tolerance was somewhat lessened. He shot and killed Key, not once but three times, for the affair with his wife. A later court found him temporarily insane and thus not guilty.
A few years later the country was at war again... and in the with early stages of Civil War between the States. The once insane Sickles, now a politician, and given the rank of Colonel started off to war. Promotions to Brig. General and Major General soon followed.
It would be at Gettysburg that the Union general would be thought to be either a genius or a scoundrel. In the process of causing many lost lives by ignoring commands re troop deployment, he was shot off his horse probably by a 12 pound cannon ball or shrapnel.
Slipping off his horse he would be hauled by several men, and/or officers to a farm house and within the hour his leg was amputated. Sickles survived the operation and donated his leg to an army hospital museum. It's been said that he would drop in for a visit with it on special occasions.
If memory serves right, I recall a story of Sickles and another Union general who also lost a leg in battle. The two would sometimes go and buy one pair of shoes, and each take one shoe.
Like so many other Medals of Honor,.. Sickles would be awarded one some 33 years after the battle. There could be many reasons for the delay, including the fact that he may have nominated himself so many years later when seeing so many others do the same thing.
Regardless. 2 years after that, like a flash in the dark a story emerged, to disappear as quickly. It told the reader that in October 1899 a soldier was also awarded the MOH. This apparently for being one of the soldiers who helped to get Sickles to safety after he was shot.
To begin, if an accurate story, it is one to be covered by my work. And on thought, even if not, covering the story for what it is, should also be covered.
There are quite a few places that the reader can go to determine if someone is or is not a recipient of the MOH. Our Medal of Honor Historical Society of the US, is one. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is another. Their foundation is a third. Find a Grave is another. The net is full of lists though many have wrong, missing or not up to date information.. There are many books on the subject that list who got a medal, when and for what. But sadly many of all the above do not list most of those who got pushed under the bus in the 1916 Purge of which much has been said in this place.
I cannot find any reference to Alonzo P Wyman in any of the above sources and many others to boot. His was not apparently one from the Purge.
The US Parks Service and Fold 3 shed no light on the medal but do give brief info on the individual.
Pension cards, descriptive cards, muster rolls and more still shed no light. A very careful read of almost 135 pages of an Army Pension File from DC, courtesy of a great researcher in the area who has often come to my aid in the last several years, copied every one of those pages for us to both look at... and nothing is found within that talks about any Medal of Honor.
His personal files show that he was married twice and outlived both wives. Neither applied for any pension re his service, according to the above card. He applied and received a pension for one of the two injuries he sustained. A most serious musket shot to the chest that traveled through his body and out the left side. It and other complications from war conditions resulted in a monthly pension of $2, slowly adjusted to about $30 monthly.
This card also shows service in the 72nd New York Infantry, then the 172 NY Infantry and finally to the Veterans Corps. His Gettysburg service would have been while with the 72nd.
A gem on this card is the stamp at top...DEAD, and footnote at bottom that he died of 4 Feb. 1918 and even where he lived at the time... at Elliottsville NY
But regardless, his pers. file shows he participated in between 5 and 6 major battles which took him from Aug 26 1862 through to December of 1863. He received a minor lip and jaw musket ball wound at Chancellorsville but he was away from the front for just a few days. His major injury as above noted was during the Mine Run Campaign. That wound saw him in hospital for the rest of the war.
Alonzo and wife Jane raised 8 children. Shortly after her death in 1874 he would marry a Mrs. Cook but that union did not last long.
Alonzo took up residence in the Hamilton Ontario area in the mid 1880's and probably remained there till about 1903. During his later years he frequented the US Consulate offices on a very regular basis about pension matters. Often several times a week. Consul files show that officials including the consul himself took great interest in Alonzo and thought very highly of him, as did a dozen or more who gave sworn statements of praise re his war and later life style and habits. But none... including the consul staff mentioned in the Pers file made any references to either Gettysburg or the MOH.
One would think that had such been awarded they would have very well known about it and made reference to the fact as they advocated and articulated their respects for him, his need for increased pension due to worsening health, having a meager existence and unable to work for 5 or more years and that the consul staff alone had known him.
I have located Alonzo's final resting place at the Crawford Cemetery at Salamanca New York. The same family plot is shared with his wife Jane and son Frank.
I have also been put in touch with relatives who I understand where to meet on this topic a few days back. I wait further communications from them.
As updates come in I shall pass them along in this space.
cheers till next Sunday,