Paul Horner forwarded this article with some additional information and images on the unclaimed Tiffany-made West Virginia Civil War medals
discussed last month. Thanks. -Editor
An act of the West Virginia legislature 152 years ago is still active and in the process of being carried out. Lawmakers in 1866 authorized
creation of a medal to be given to all West Virginia soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
The medals were meant to be a token of appreciation from a grateful state. But handing them out proved to be a challenge.
Initially the state gave out about 19,000 medals in 1866, but over subsequent years the numbers declined. In 1890, the Grand Army of the
Republic became involved and manged to give away several thousand more over the course of 10 years. In 1907, the medals were turned over to the State
Archives to continue the distribution.
A total of 3,392 medals remain at the Capitol to be awarded. They are neatly tucked away in individual envelopes in a storage cabinet deep inside
the State Archives. There are three different categories of medals. Most of the medals were Honorable Discharge Medals, which included the greatest
number of West Virginia soldiers. There is also a category for Killed in Battle and a third category called For Liberty which included soldiers who
died of disease, wounds, or other causes during their active military service.
"The medals have different scenes on the face," Marcum said. "The really nice part is they have the veterans name and unit engraved on the edge of
"Some of these soldiers were from Pennsylvania and some were from Ohio," said Marcum. "Union regiments in those states filled up rather
quickly, then when West Virginia started filling up their regiments, those guys who couldn't get into their own state came over and joined West
Any descendant who wants to start the process of obtaining a medal of a departed relative can begin at the website off the West Virginia Culture
and History website.
To read the complete article, see:
More than 3,000 W.Va. Civil War medals
waiting to be awarded (http://wvmetronews.com/2019/04/25/more-than-3000-w-va-civil-war-medals-waiting-to-be-awarded/)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WEST VIRGINIA'S UNCLAIMED CIVIL WAR MEDALS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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