Hartwell Thomas Benton Compson
May 5, 1842(1842-05-05) – August 31, 1905 (aged 63)
Birth: May 5, 1842 Seneca Falls Seneca County New York, USA
Death: Aug. 31, 1905 Portland Multnomah County Oregon, USA
Burial: Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Portland Multnomah County Oregon, USA
Oregon Allegiance United States of America Union Service/branch United States Army Union Army Rank Major
Battles/wars American Civil War Awards Medal of Honor
Hartwell Thomas Benton Compson (May 5, 1842 – August 31, 1905) was an American military officer who received the Medal of Honor for heroism in the American Civil War.
He was born May 5, 1842, in Seneca Falls, New York. Compson volunteered for the 8th Regiment New York Cavalry at the start of the Civil War. He rose in the ranks, eventually becoming regimental commander. On March 2, 1865, he led his troops into battle at Waynesboro, Virginia. During fierce hand-to-hand combat, Major Compson personally captured the headquarters flag of Confederate general Jubal Early. For this action he received the Medal of Honor. Unlike many of the men whose bravery was not recognized for decades, Compson received his medal within a month of the battle. After the war, Compson moved to Oregon where he became Brigadier General of the Oregon National Guard. He died on August 31, 1905 in Portland, Oregon where he is buried in the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery. Following his death in 1905, Compson faded from memory and his grave went unmarked for 100 years until Civil War amateur historians Roy Vanderhoof and Mike Stephenson, along with the considerable assistance of Congresswoman Darlene Hooley of the 5th Congressional District, obtained a proper headstone from the Federal Veterans Administration.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Major, 8th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Waynesboro, Va., March 2, 1865. Entered service at: Seneca Falls, N.Y. Birth: Seneca Falls, N.Y. Date of issue: March 26, 1865. Citation: Capture of flag belonging to Gen. Early's headquarters.
Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. On March 2, 1865, he was commanding officer of the 8th New York Cavalry Regiment as they marched into Waynesboro, Virginia. A sharp battle ensued with the Confederates commanded by Major General Jubal A. Early, in which the Federal victory took 1500 prisoners, 5 pieces of artillery, and 10 rebel battle flags including the flag belonging to General Early's headquarters. He was issued his citation on March 26, 1865.
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