b. 03/02/1844 Franklin, Indiana. d. 05/01/1899 Cincinnati, Ohio.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 22/05/1863 Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Born in Franklin, Indiana, he was 18 years old when he enlisted in the 83rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry on October 15, 1862 at Indianapolis, Indiana. Mustered in as a Private in Company D, he would go on to be awarded the CMOH for his bravery at Vicksburg, Mississippi on May 22, 1863. His citation simply reads “Gallantry in the charge of the “volunteer storming party.”
On the day in question 150 men were called to volunteer to make a “forlorn hope” diversionary charge on the Confederate position known as the Stockade Redan – a charge that was intended to draw fire away from the real planned attack, and a charge no one was expected to return from (to this end, only unmarried men were accepted as volunteers). After charging an open plain in full view of the Confederates, the withering fire was such that most of the volunteers were cut down, and those that made it through the fire sought shelter in a ravine under the Redan. There they stayed and fought until nightfall, when the survivors made their way to return to the Union lines, Private Armstrong being one of them (85 percent of the men who made the charge did not make it back). Having been shot twice in the leg and once in the abdomen, he lay in the open field until he dragged himself back to safety after darkness fell. His Civil War service ended on August 15, 1863, his wounds having rendered him to disabled to continue.
He later settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he studied medicine, and became a prominent surgeon of the Cincinnati Police Force. He was awarded his Medal on August 15, 1894, thirty one years after he played his part at Vicksburg. He was one of ten 83rd Indiana Soldiers to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the War (the others being Private Thomas A. Blasdel, Private William W. Chisman, Private John W. Conaway, Private Joseph Frantz, Private David H. Helms, Private Jacob H. Overturf, Private Reuben Smalley, Private William Steinmetz, and Private Frank Stolz, all of whom participated in the Vicksburg “forlorn hope”).
For gallantry in the charge of the volunteer storming party on 22 May 1863.
BURIAL LOCATION: MT. FOUNTAIN PARK CEMETERY, WINCHESTER, INDIANA.
SECTION 5, LOT 62
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.