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Federal (USV)


William H. Paul

(1844 - 1911)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 90th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

Age 17 and giving his age as 20, from Philadelphia, he enlisted and mustered into service there as Private, Company E, 90th Pennsylvania Infantry on 22 January 1862.

On the Campaign

At Antietam on 17 September 1862:

... in a hard and deadly struggle we were slowly but surely driving the enemy back, when Color-Sergeant Mason, who was in advance of our lines some four or five yards, cheering us on, was shot.

A rebel detachment immediately rushed forward to capture the fallen colors. Seeing this, I placed myself at the head of a few men, probably ten in number, and charged out to meet the enemy, and if possible rescue the colors. We clashed with a shock, and a sharp hand-to-hand fight ensued in which two of our men were killed and five so severely wounded, that they were unable to be of any assistance.

A rebel had already seized the colors, but I grasped them and with one supreme effort wrenched the precious banner from his hold. Waving it high above my head, I carried it throughout the remainder of the battle. In the melee my comrades managed to kill one of the enemy and capture another ...
He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Antietam.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Sergeant, date not known. He was wounded at Gettysburg in July 1863 and again at the Wilderness, VA in May 1864. He transferred to Company E, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry on 26 November 1864 and was discharged for disability at the South Street Hospital in Philadelphia on 11 February 1865.

After the War

By 1870 he was living with his parents and farming in Havre de Grace, MD. He married in 1880 and went out on his own in Harford County, MD, and was a business agent and newspaper reporter.

References & notes

His service from the Card File.1 The quote above from Paul himself, in Deeds of Valor.2 Details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1870-1910. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Ann "Annie" Martha E. Mitchell (1851-1938) in 1880 and they had two daughters.


10/3/1844; Philadelphia, PA


02/23/1911; Havre de Grace, MD; burial in Wesleyan Chapel Cemetery, Havre de Grace, MD


1   Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Adjutant-General, Pennsylvania Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866, Published <2005, first accessed 01 July 2005, <>  [AotW citation 23406]

2   Beyer, Walter F., and Oscar F. Keydel, compilers, Deeds of Valor: How America's Heroes Won the Medal of Honor , Detroit: The Perrien-Keydel Company, 1901, Vol. 1, pg. 90  [AotW citation 23407]