Henry William Heisch MOH

b. 10/06/1872 Latendorf, Germany. d. 10/07/1941 Napa, California.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 20/06/1900 Tientsin, China.

Private Henry William Heisch was born on June 10, 1872, in Latendorf, Germany, and emigrated from Hamburg to New York on board the ship Hammonia on Oct. 19, 1888. He eventually settled in California. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, on April 2, 1898, and received an initial assignment to the marine barracks on Mare Island, California. Several USMC muster rolls identified Heisch as a naturalized U.S. citizen during his military service.

In March 1900, Pvt. Heisch received an assignment on the USS Vermont in New York harbor. From June through July 1900, Heisch served on the USS Yorktown as part of the Marine Guard. During this time, Heisch travelled to China with an American force sent to help subdue the Boxer Rebellion.

Using Manila as a main base, the United States promptly dispatched to China Regulars intended for use in the Philippine Insurrection. The 9th Infantry and a Marine battalion landed at Taku on 7 July 1900. Two battalions of the 9th joined contingents of other powers in an attack on Tientsin, which fell on 13 July, the Americans suffering 95 casualties.

As one of the Marine recipients of the Medal of Honor in the expedition, his citation reads: “In action against the enemy at Tienstin, China, 20 June 1900. Crossing the river in a small boat while under heavy fire, Pvt. Heisch assisted in destroying buildings occupied by the enemy.”

Pvt. Heisch received his Medal of Honor from the secretary of the Navy on April 7, 1902, and discharged from the Marines on April 1, 1903. He travelled back to Germany and returned to the U.S. on board the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria on June 13, 1908. Pvt. Heisch, then 36, brought his 26-year-old wife, Ida, and their 1-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.

Heisch and his two brothers, Theodore and John, who were also naturalized U.S. citizens, worked as farmers in the Napa area. Pvt. Heisch died on July 10, 1941, in Napa, California. He is buried along with his wife in the Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.



In action against the enemy at Tientsin, China, 20 June 1900. Crossing the river in a small boat while under heavy fire, Heisch assisted in destroying buildings occupied by the enemy.