William J Archinal MOH

b. 03/06/1840 Felsberg, Hesse, Germany. d. 10/05/1919 Trenton, New Jersey.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 22/05/1863 Vicksburg, Mississippi.

William J Archinal MOH

Born in Germany, he immigrated to the United States in 1860, and was 21 years old when he enlisted in the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on August 22, 1861 at Canal Dover, Ohio. Mustered in as a Private in Company I on August 31, 1861, 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 back to the Union lines. 85 percent of the men who made the charge did not make it back; Private Archinal was one of them, having been captured. Paroled and exchanged, he eventually served in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and the drive through the Carolinas in March and April 1865.

After participating in the Grand Review in Washington DC in May 1865, his Civil War service ended on August 13, 1865 when he was mustered out at Little Rock Arkansas, having done his duty for nearly four full years in the field. He later settled in Canton, Ohio, where he became a prominent businessman and served as Postmaster of Canton for four years. He was awarded his Medal on July 10, 1894, thirty one years after he played his part in the tragic “forlorn hope” at Vicksburg. He was one of nine 30th Ohio soldiers to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Civil War (the others being Private Uriah Brown, Private William Campbell, Private Sampson Harris, Private William H. Longshore, Private James M. McClelland, Private Wilson McGonagle, Corporal Platt Pearsall, and Private Andrew Schmauch).



Gallantry in the charge of the volunteer storming party.