b. 05/05/1842 Seneca Falls, New York. d. 31/08/1905 Portland, Oregon.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 02/03/1865 Waynesboro, Virginia.
Compson was born May 5, 1842, in Seneca Falls, New York the second of thirteen children born to Jonas and Ruth Compson. He volunteered for the 8th Regiment New York Cavalry in September 1861. Rising rapidly through the ranks, he eventually became 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 would receive the Medal of Honor. In addition, Compson was breveted to colonel by General Philip Sheridan. Unlike many of the men whose bravery was not recognized for decades, Compson received his medal within a month of the battle. After mustering out in June 1865, Compson worked as a U.S. Marshal and Postmaster and eventually 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.
Capture of flag belonging to Gen. Early’s headquarters.
BURIAL LOCATION: GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC CEMETERY, PORTLAND, OREGON.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.