Henry Coddington Meyer MOH

b. 14/04/1844 Hamburg, New York. d. 27/03/1935 Montclair, New Jersey.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 17/06/1864 Petersburg, Virginia.

Henry C Meyer MOH

Born in Hamburg, Germany to American parents, when the Civil War began he was refused permission by his parents to join the Union Army because he was not yet of age. After he turned eighteen he enlisted in July 1862 at Auburn, New York (without his parent’s consent), and was mustered in as a recruit Private in Company C, 2nd New York Volunteer Cavalry (known as “Harris Light Horse”). He joined his regiment in the field in Virginia in August 1862, and served with it through the December 1862 Fredericksburg Campaign, after which he was assigned as a clerk first on the staff of Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg, then on the staff of Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick.

At the June 9, 1863 Battle of Brandy Station, he received a sabre wound from a Confederate soldier, but was recovered enough in time to participate in the July 1863 Gettysburg Campaign. He was mustered out of the 2nd New York Cavalry on January 15, 1864, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company D, 24th New York Volunteer Cavalry on February 21, 1864. His unit, officially a horse soldier regiment, served dismounted for its first half-year of its existence, serving that way until September 1864. Lieutenant Meyer was part of the regiments participation in the initial Union operations against Petersburg, Virginia in June 1864, and was awarded the CMOH for his bravery there on June 17, 1864.

Despite being sick with malaria, he led his company in the Union assaults on Confederate defences. He noticed that Company E’s Lieutenant James B. F. Randall was lying wounded and helpless on the field. Captain Meyer ran under fire to render him aid, and his initial efforts saved Lieutenant Randall’s life. Captain Meyer was too sick to move the prostrated Randall off the field, so as he went to find help he was shot in the back. The wound was such that he needed the next eleven months to recover from it. During his convalescence he was discharged due to disability on October 13, 1864, and was brevetted Major, US Volunteers on March 15, 1865 for “gallantry in action”. His Medal was awarded to him on March 29, 1899, 35 years after his brave act.

After the war he became editor and proprietor the publication the “Engineering Record”, and started a sanitation engineering firm in New York City, New York. He became an advocate for public health and safety through improved sanitation, plumbing and waste management reforms through the city, and helped bring about improved sanitation in New York’s tenement buildings and public bathhouses. He published several works on engineering, and in 1911 he published “Civil War Experiences under Bayard, Gregg, Kilpatrick, Custer, Raulston, and Newberry, 1862, 1863, 1864”, a memoir of his experiences during his service in the Union Army.



During an assault and in the face of a heavy fire rendered heroic assistance to a wounded and helpless officer, thereby saving his life and in the performance of this gallant act sustained a severe wound.



LOT 265.