Archibald Hamilton Rowand Jnr MOH

b. 06/03/1845 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. d. 14/12/1913 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 1864 from Columbia, Virginia to City Point, west of Richmond, Virginia.

Archibald H Rowand MOH

Born on March 6, 1845, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now a part of Pittsburgh), Archibald Hamilton Rowand Jr. was a son of Camden, New Jersey, native Archibald Hamilton Rowand, Sr. (1820–1891) and Catherine Parkhill (Greer) Rowand (1825–1910), a native of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. He and his siblings, Asaph Terry (1843–1927), Frank Parkhill (1849–1920), Thomas Arthur, and Kate Fleming Rowand, were reared and educated in Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh region.

In 1860, Arch Rowand resided in Allegheny City with his parents and two other siblings. Their lives were comfortable. The real estate and personal property of their father, a successful bookbinder, were valued by the federal census taker that year at $8,000; as a result the family was able to employ a live-in servant.

At the time of his enlistment for Civil War military service during the summer of 1862, Arch Rowand was employed as an auditor’s clerk for the Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad’s branch office in Pittsburgh. After making the decision to enroll at Wheeling, West Virginia, he did so on July 17, and then officially mustered in as a Private with Company K, 1st West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry. According to Mark Roth, the former assistant managing editor of Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette, Rowand “was too young to enlist in Pennsylvania, so he signed up with a cavalry company in Wheeling … that was being organized by his uncle, Thomas Weston Rowand, a Mexican War veteran.”

In an interview in later life, Rowand said of his service tenure: “It was my duty to be in every engagement in which my regiment participated, and I was in every one with Sheridan, from the time he came into Shenandoah Valley until the wind-up at Appomattox.” The first of his regiment’s early engagements was the First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia (March 23, 1862). Afterward, according to Roth, senior Union military leaders grew to appreciate Rowand’s intellect and courage, and began assigning him to scout and spy duties. In April 1863, while engaged with his regiment in combat near Fisher’s Hill and Strasburg:

An intense series of combat experiences then followed with: the Battle of Hanover (June 30, 1863) and Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) in Pennsylvania; the battles of Hagerstown (July 6–16, 1863) and Boonsboro (July 8, 1863) in Maryland; the Mine Run Campaign in Virginia (November 27 to December 2, 1863); the battles of Cove Mountain (May 10, 1864), Lynchburg (June 17–18, 1864), Rutherford’s Farm (July 20, 1864), and Kernstown II (July 24, 1864); and the Union Army’s tide-turning Shenandoah Valley Campaign, which was spearheaded by Major-General Philip Sheridan during the late summer and fall of 1864, and included the battles of Moorefield (August 7), Opequon/Third Winchester (September 19), Fisher’s Hill (September 21–22), and Cedar Creek (October 19). Then, during the winter of 1865 while serving with his regiment in the Shenandoah Valley, Rowand performed the act of valor which resulted in his being awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor:

As the war progressed to its final conclusion, he and his fellow 1st West Virginians saw still more action during the late winter and early spring of 1865 as part of the Appomattox Campaign, including the battles of: Dinwiddie Court House (March 31), Five Forks (April 1), Sailor’s Creek (April 6), Appomattox Station (April 8), and Appomattox Court House (April 9), which culminated in the surrender of the Confederate States Army by General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee.

Following his honorable discharge from the military, Rowand resumed his job as a railroad bookkeeper before taking a position as the chief accountant for the Allegheny Valley Railroad Company prior to marrying Sarah Martha Chandler Howard (1842–1913), a native of Rochester Junction, New York and daughter of a steel baron.  Wed on October 17, 1867, the couple soon welcomed the births of children: Mary Kate (1869–1934), who was born on February 9, 1869; Harry, who was born circa 1871; Sallie; Helen (1880–1911), who was born on August 11, 1880; Archibald Sheridan (circa 1876–1940); and Eliza Jeannette (1884–1920), who was born in Verona, Pennsylvania, on February 24, 1884.

In 1880, a federal census taker documented that he and his wife resided in Verona with their children, Mary, Harry and Arch, and that the elder Archibald was employed as a bookkeeper for the Clerk of Courts. The Pittsburgh Dispatch and other publications of the period confirm that he was far more than a bookkeeper, however, noting that he was elected to the post of Clerk of the Courts for Allegheny County, and served a total of two terms between 1878 and 1885. Appointed to the Pennsylvania State Bar in 1885, he then began to practice both civil and criminal law. 

In 1906, he was described as “a prominent lawyer in Pittsburg” [sic] by General Horace Porter in his book, Campaigning with Grant. The following year, on July 27, he was awarded a U.S. Civil War Pension at the rate of $12 per month. Still practicing law in 1910, he and his wife were empty nesters living in Pittsburgh’s 5th Ward. A domestic employee resided with them.



Was one of two men who succeeded in getting through the enemy’s lines with dispatches to Gen. Grant.