Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for January, 2016|Monthly archive page

To Honor Heroic Deeds

In Civil War, Uncategorized on January 5, 2016 at 12:27 am

By Michelle Ann Kratts

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Recently a very precious medal of solid gold, about two inches in diameter, was discovered by someone in southern Illinois.  Photographs were posted on a Civil War website and it was requested that someone give more information.  My heart raced when I saw this…not for the gold…but for the sentiment behind this artifact of Niagara Falls history.  For this beautiful Tiffany and Company medal was a remembrance of one of Niagara’s finest men, Col. Peter A. Porter.

The medal originally was struck in honor of the five men who were present at the Battle of Cold Harbor back in June of 1864.  This medal, in particular, (found in Illinois) had been presented to John Morris Duff of Hartland, New York.  He and the four others served with the 8th Heavy Artillery during the Civil War in one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on American soil.  Col. Porter, who was beloved by all of his men, for his humanity and courage, was killed and his body left behind enemy lines.  In a moment of bravery, five of his men volunteered to retrieve his body–all while under fire.  They were able to bring his body back and because of these men Col. Peter A. Porter was returned to Niagara Falls and his body respectfully laid to rest behind the gates of the Porter family plot at Oakwood Cemetery.  Another of Oakwood’s residents, LeRoy Williams, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his involvement in this very feat.

Following the war, the very exclusive Century Club of New York City, of which Col. Porter was a member, presented these men with these special engraved medals.  Below are images of the medal struck for John Morris Duff.

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At present the monetary value of this work of art is unknown, but to those of us who know the story behind the man, Col. Peter A. Porter, and those who served beside him, this is priceless.

 

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