William J Carson MOH

b. 30/08/1840 Washington County, Pennsylvania. d. 13/12/1913 Muncie, Indiana.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 19-20/09/1863 Chickamauga, Georgia.

William J Carson MOH

William J. Carson was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania on August 30, 1840. In 1845, his parents moved to Washington County, Ohio, and in 1852 they again moved to Logan County, Ohio, near Bellefontaine, the county seat. William worked on the family farm in spring, summer, and early autumn, and attended the district school in winter. He was at Bellefontaine when the American Civil War began.

On September 2, 1861, Carson enlisted in the 15th United States Infantry Regiment, and was assigned to Company “E”, 1st Battalion, under the command of Captain Henry Keteltas.

William J. Carson participated with his regiment in all of its Civil War battles from the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburgh Landing) on April 7, 1862 to the Battle of Chickamauga (Chickamauga, Georgia) on September 19 and 20, 1863 after which he was taken prisoner. Carson was a bugler but he picked up a rifle and joined in the fighting if needed. His distinguished record earned him a high amount of praise from officers and fellow soldiers and eventually the Medal of Honor for his gallantry at the Battle of Chickamauga.

After the war, William J. Carson was married to the former Deborah J. Conn (1834 – November 15, 1934), daughter of Simon and Sarah Conn. The Carsons had a son, Clarence H. Carson (1867 – March 27, 1939), who never married and who ultimately was buried in the same cemetery as his parents.

William Carson was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic after the war. Colonel Goddard recounted his good standing in the community and his proud playing of the bugle calls at meetings of his G.A.R. Post: “Comrade Carson is a member of Williams Post G.A.R., “Department of Indiana”, and at its meeting blows the calls which rallied the Regulars on the bloody field of Chickamauga. He is the proud head of an intelligent and devoted family, to whom he will leave a good name and this imperishable record of gallant service to his country.”

Carson became the Vice President of the Survivors of the Regular Brigade, Army of the Cumberland for at least three years in the 1890s. He finally received his Medal of Honor on 27 January 1894. In 1895, the veterans returned to the Stones River battlefield and to the Chickamauga battlefield for the dedication of the national battlefield park on the anniversary of the battle, September 19, 1895.



The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Musician William J. Carson, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 19 September 1863, while serving with Company E, 15th U.S. Infantry, in action at Chickamauga, Georgia. At a critical stage in the battle when the 14th Corps lines were wavering and in disorder, Musician Carson, on his own initiative bugled “to the colors” amid the 18th U.S. Infantry who formed by him, and held the enemy. Within a few minutes he repeated his action amid the wavering 2d Ohio Infantry. This bugling deceived the enemy who believed reinforcements had arrived. Thus, they delayed their attack.