Nathan H. Edgerton
|Nathan H. Edgerton|
August 28, 1839|
|Died||October 27, 1932
|Place of burial||on his farm in Agness, Oregon|
|Allegiance||United States of America
|Service/branch||United States Army
|Years of service||1863 - 1865|
|Commands held||6th United States Colored Infantry Regiment|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War
-Battle of New Market Heights
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Having been born and raised as a Quaker, Edgerton did not join the war until 1863, when the Army of Northern Virginia invaded Pennsylvania. He joined the Pennsylvania militia, and served until the end of the Gettysburg Campaign. A few months later, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the 6th United States Colored Infantry Regiment.
By 1864, Lt. Edgerton had become the adjutant of the 6th USCT. In the early morning of September 29, 1864, his regiment advanced against the Confederate line at the Battle of New Market Heights in Virginia.
The enemy held their fire until the Black soldiers were within 150 yards then unleashed a deadly volley of lead. One Union flag bearer was shot down, then another, then a third. Lt. Edgerton, despite being wounded himself, lifted up the flag and advanced it with his regiment until the Confederates retreated. Two senior non-commissioned officers of the regiment, both African-Americans, advanced the regimental colors with Lt. Edgerton. They were Sergeant Major Thomas R. Hawkins and First Sergeant Alexander Kelly. The three men, Edgerton, Hawkins, and Kelly are depicted in a painting, Three Medals of Honor by artist Don Troiani. The painting is scheduled to be unveiled June 24, 2013 at the Union League of Philadelphia.
For his conspicuous act of bravery, Nathan Huntley Edgerton was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He received his medal on March 30, 1898. A native of Ohio, Edgerton was promoted to captain before the end of the war. He later moved to Oregon where he died at the age of 93. He is buried on his farm in Agness, Oregon.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Lieutenant and Adjutant, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., September 29, 1864. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: ------. Date of issue: March 30, 1898.
Took up the flag after 3 color bearers had been shot down and bore it forward, though himself wounded.