John H. Haight MOH

b. 01/07/1841 Westfield, New York. d. 08/04/1917 Westfield, New York.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/08/1861 – 27/08/1862 Williamsburg & Bristol Station & Manassas, Virginia.

John H Haight MOH

Born in Westfield, New York on July 1, 1841, John H. Haight was a son of Henry A. Haight (1799–1845) and Nancy (Griffin) Haight (1806–1898). He and his siblings, Ashley (1826–1852), Charles Edward (1832–1894), Oscar (born c. 1835), Sarah M. (1836–1912), Frances (born c. 1838), and George (1843–1862), spent their formative years with their parents in Chautauqua County, New York — years which were marked by two major transitions: the death of their father in 1845, and the remarriage of their mother, six years later, to Albert Scott, a farmer in Westfield.

John H. Haight and his younger brother, George, became two of New York’s earliest responders to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers to defend Washington, D.C. following the mid-April 1861 fall of Fort Sumter to Confederate States Army troops. After his brother mustered in for a three-year term of service as a private with Company E of the 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment on June 20, 1861, John Haight then also enlisted, at the age of 22, for a three-year term on July 17, 1861 in Westfield, New York. Also officially mustering in with the 72nd New York Infantry, John Haight did so on July 24 as a private with the regiment’s G Company. He was then promoted to the rank of corporal on September 1. Initially under the command Colonel Nelson Taylor, the Haight brothers and their regiment were transported to Washington, D.C., where they assisted in the defense of the city before participating in the Union Army’s expedition to lower Maryland (September 15–October 2, 1861). They were then reassigned with Sickles’ Brigade to the U.S. Army of the Potomac in October as part of the division commanded by Brigadier-General Joseph Hooker. Their next significant deployment came as part of the U.S. Army’s Third Corps, Second Division when they engaged in the Union Army’s advance on Manassas, Virginia (March 10, 1862), the expedition from Dumfries to Fredericksburg, capture of stores (March 18), and reconnoissance from Liverpool Point to Stafford Court House and subsequent operations there (April 4).

Reassigned with their regiment to the Peninsula Campaign, it was during this phase of service that one of the Haight brothers would be killed in action while the other would perform the heroic acts which would ultimately lead to his being awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor. Participants in the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia (April 5–May 4, 1862), they fought together in the Battle of Williamsburg (May 5). On that day, John Haight was severely wounded in action while carrying a wounded comrade to safety.

While his brother recuperated from his battle wounds, George Haight continued to fight on with the 72nd New York, engaging the enemy in the Battle of Seven Pines/Fair Oaks (May 31–June 1). Reunited that summer, the brothers then fought with their respective companies in the Seven Days Battles, including at Oak Grove (June 25), the Peach Orchard and Savage’s Station (June 29), White Oak Swamp, Glendale (June 30), and Malvern Hill (July 1), where George Haight was killed by enemy fire. Just over three weeks later, on July 23, 1862, John Haight was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Transferred from the Peninsula during the fall of 1862, Sergeant John Haight and his fellow 72nd New York Volunteers next saw heavy action in the Union’s Manassas Station Operations (August 25–27) and the Second Battle of Bull Run (August 28–30). Once again, Haight demonstrated Medal of Honor-winning courage.

Honorably discharged on March 1, 1863 from Camp Nelson Taylor in Virginia via a surgeon’s certificate of disability, Haight’s heroism was declared “extraordinary” 25 years later when he was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor on June 8, 1888. Following his honorable discharge from the military, John Haight returned home to Westfield, and resumed life with his mother, stepfather and siblings. By the time of the 1865 New York State Census, he had married Louisa Pike (1842–1932), a native of England. Residing with his wife at his mother’s home, he worked as a tinsmith. Five years later, the couple resided in their own home. Their only daughter, Nellie, was then born circa 1880. By 1915, Haight and his wife were once again the sole occupants of their Westfield home.



At Williamsburg, Va., voluntarily carried a severely wounded comrade off the field in the face of a large force of the enemy; in doing so was himself severely wounded and taken prisoner. Went into the fight at Bristol Station, Va., although severely disabled. At Manassas, volunteered to search the woods for the wounded.