Organization: 90th Pennsylvania Infantry
Entered Service: Pennsylvania.
Birth: 2 March 1836, Plumsteadville, Bucks County, Pa.
Date Medal Issued: 21 July 1894.
Date of Action: 1 July 1863.
Place of Action: Gettysburg, Pa.
Voluntarily led the regiment under a withering fire to a position from which the enemy was repulsed.
More about this award
Though repulsed early during the afternoon of July 1 [at Gettysburg], the Confederates soon rallied and made a most desperate attack upon the Union left, along Willoughby's Run. The Federals were driven back on all sides. The First Corps which had sustained the first shock of the fierce assault of the enemy, formed a new line along Seminary Ridge, and what remained of its artillery was posted as advantageously as possible. This movement left the extreme left of the Eleventh Corps uncovered and when, still later in the afternoon, the Confederates made a second attack upon the Union forces, the enemy broke through the Federal center and threw the entire Union line into disorder. This was the situation of affairs, when, by assuming a responsibility which he was in no way called upon to undertake, Major Alfred J. Sellers, of the Ninetieth Pennsylvania Infantry, saved the Eleventh Army Corps from probable annihilation by repulsing the enemy's attack.
"At the battle of Gettysburg," Major Sellers says, "the Eleventh Corps was being forced back by the rebels, who were coming from the north in overwhelming numbers, and late in the afternoon, July 1, 1863, it gave way, carrying the First Corps along with it as far as Cemetery Hill. This left the Confederates occupying the principal part of the town of Gettysburg. Our brigade was on the crown of Oak Ridge, parallel with Cemetery Ridge, and when the Eleventh Corps gave way, a change of front was ordered under fire. At such a time celerity of motion is of vital importance, as a change of front seemingly indicates a reverse, and it is essential to create confidence in the men as to its object. Although not in command, I rushed to the front, superintended the movement and quickly established the line in its new and more advantageous position."
"This enabled us to pour an effective fire into the ranks of O'Niel's Alabama Brigade of Infantry, repulsing its attempt to turn the right flank of the First Army Corps."
- from Walter F. Beyer and Oscar F. Keydel's Deeds of Valor. How America's Heroes Won the Medal of Honor (1871).