Local group unveils Lucas County Medal of Honor plaqueWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In April 1862, two Union soldiers with ties to Lucas County were among 24 men who hijacked a Confederate train in Big Shanty, Ga., and rode it toward Chattanooga, Tenn., wreaking havoc to rail and telegraph lines.
Confederates pursued on foot and then by a series of trains before catching up.
Eight of the Andrew’s Raiders were hanged on the spot and the rest were taken prisoner, including Mark Wood and Wilson Brown.
The men were released after President Abraham Lincoln petitioned Confederate President Jefferson Davis to exchange prisoners.
Congress presented Wood and Wilson with the Medal of Honor for their role in what is known as the Great Locomotive Chase. Walt Disney made a movie called “The Great Locomotive Chase” in 1956.
Wood, who was born in Nottingham, England, died in Toledo in 1866 and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery. He was the first foreigner to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Wilson was born in Logan County, Ohio, entered the Army in Wood County and died in 1916 in Toledo. He’s buried in New Belleville Ridge Cemetery in Wood County.
The military bestows the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Wilson and Wood are among the 18 Medal of Honor recipients who have either been born, lived, enlisted, died or were buried in Lucas County.
These 18 men were recently memorialized in a plaque by Remembrance Inc., chaired by Nick Haupricht. The plaque was unveiled during Remembrance Inc.’s annual fundraising dinner, featuring Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Gary Beikirch. The plaque will eventually be placed on a slab of granite and installed along a walkway in Point Place near Summit Street, Haupricht said.
“We’re trying to bring military history to light,” he said.
Haupricht, a Vietnam veteran, traveled to Arlington National Cemetery in March to research the 18 Medal of Honor recipients. For his efforts, he became an official researcher of the National Archives. While there, he unearthed the 18th recipient, Peter Johnson, who was born in Denmark but lived in Lucas County.
Johnson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery aboard the USS Vixen in the Spanish American War in 1898.
“Following the explosion of the lower front manhole gasket of boiler A of the vessel, Johnson displayed great coolness and self-possession in entering the fire room,” Johnson’s citation reads.
Haupricht discovered the citation for James Richmond, a private in the Army, who was born in Maine but entered the service in Toledo. He captured a Confederate flag at Gettysburg in 1863, forcing a surrender. He died in 1864 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Some of the more compelling research by Haupricht is the story of recipients John Kountz and William Schmidt during the Civil War. Kountz died in 1909 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Toledo. In November 1863 at Missionary Ridge, Tenn., Kountz, a 16-year-old musician, dropped his drum and picked up a rife to charge the rebels. His leg was blown off.
Schmidt earned his medal for saving Kountz’ life by dragging the young man over a hill to safety under a rain of enemy fire. Schmidt was born in Tiffin and died in 1905 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Toledo has a bridge named after a Medal of Honor recipient Robert Craig, a second lieutenant in the Army. During the Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II, Craig captured a machine gun and deflected enemy fire to protect his platoon. He was killed in the firefight.
Craig was born in Scotland and emigrated with his family to the United States. They settled in Toledo. A drawbridge along Interstate 280 crossing the Maumee River was named the Craig Memorial Bridge in his honor.
Tags: Craig Memorial Bridge, James Richmond, John Kountz, Lucas County, Mark Wood, Medal of Honor, Nick Haupricht, Ohio, Peter Johnson, Remembrance Inc., Robert Craig, The Great Locomotive Chase, USS Vixen, William Schmidt, Wilson Brown