Private Howell Gilliam Trogdon (USA)

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Private Howell Gilliam Trogdon (USA)'s Geni Profile

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Howell Gilliam Trogdon

Birthplace: Randolph, NC, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of John Trogdon and Isabella Trogdon
Brother of Belle Trogdon; Alson Trogdon and Mary J Trogdon

Managed by: Brittany Christine Jenkins
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Private Howell Gilliam Trogdon (USA)

First North Carolinian to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Medal of Honor citation: Gallanry in the charge of the "volunteer storming party." He carried the regiment's flag and tried to borrow a gun to defend it.


  • BIRTH 1840 at Cedar Falls, North Carolina
  • ENTERED SERVICE AT St. Louis, Missouri
  • RANK/ORGANIZATION Private, Company B, 8th Missouri Infantry
  • MOH CITATION Gallantry in the charge of the “volunteer storming party.” He carried his regiment’s flag and tried to borrow a gun to defend it.
  • PLACE/DATE At Vicksburg, Mississippi; 22 May 1863
  • DATE OF ISSUE 03 August 1894

[extracted from and ]

Howell G. Trogdon wrote the following sketch in explanation of his Medal of Honor award:

“On the 22 of May ’63 a detail was called for out of our Regiment, but for what we did not know. There were 22 volunteers from our Regiment. We were ordered to take a hundred rounds of ammunition, 40 in our cartridge box and 60 in our pockets. We were then marched in front of General Grant’s headquarters where we stacked arms. We here met details from other Regiments which swelled the number to 250 all told. Generals Grant, Sherman, Cogan, Morgan and Smith, Jiles A. Smith, Ewing, Oustenhouse, Steele, F.P. Blair and others were there. Attention was called and Gen. Sherman made a short speech. Pointing to the front he told us that we were there as a forlorn hope to the front, that we were to file to the right and go into the mouth of a cut where we would be provided with the scaling ladders.

“I noticed here that there was no one bearing the flag. Then I cried out to General Sherman, ‘Say, General, won’t it be advisable for some one to carry the flag so if we get scattered we will see something to rally to?’ About twenty yards from us there was a fine silk flag set in the ground in front of some general’s headquarters. General Sherman walked over and taking the flag brought it to me saying in a jovial manner, ‘It’s a dangerous job my boy to try to put that flag on the fort.’

“We then marched on into the cut and awaited the signal for the charge on the fort with our improvised scaling ladders. At 10 o’clock [A.M.] we heard the boom of the cannon which was our signal to charge. Then we swept forward and were met by a terrific fire from the enemy so deadly that our little band was almost annihilated. At this moment I ran forward waving the flag and rushed on toward the fort. A canister struck the staff a few inches above my hand and cut it half in two. Then they depressed their guns and a cannon ball struck the folds and carried it half away, knocking it out of my hands. I got down off of the fort and picked the flag up and rushed back and flaunted it in the faces of the rebels and said, ‘What flag are you fighting under today, Johnny?’” [Quoted in The Randolph Guide, April 15, 1970," Cedar Falls Man Fought for Yanks," Trogdon's statement was provided by his great-granddaughter, Mary P. Johnston.]

Howell Trogdon closes by saying :

“Only three of my comrades succeeded in reaching the fort with me: Sergeant Nagle who was killed on the spot and a Private from 54 Reg. who shared the same fate. The reply to my question to the Reb ['What flag are you fighting under today, Johnny?"] was, ‘You’d better surrender Yank.’ ‘Oh no Johnny, you’ll surrender first,’ was my answer.

“I never left that place of death until after midnight. My canteen was shot away, my clothes was full of holes and the banner was hardly recognizable. Then I crawled back over the corpses of the Forlorn Hope over dead and through the cane and back into our lines with the remnant of the Flag.” [From his statement in The Randolph Guide.]

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Private Howell Gilliam Trogdon (USA)'s Timeline

October 24, 1840
Randolph, NC, USA
May 28, 1861
Age 20
St Louis, MO, USA
June 12, 1861
Age 20
June 1862
Age 21

He was captured near Ripley, Mississippi bearing dispatches from General William Sherman to General Schuyler Hamilton. He was tried and condemned to death, but the sentence was commuted to incarceration at federal prison camps in Tupelo, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Montgomery, Ala., and Richmond, Va. (taken from

November 19, 1862
Age 22
May 22, 1864
Age 23
August 3, 1894
Age 53
December 2, 1910
Age 70
Los Angeles, CA, USA