A 110-year-old Medal of Honor has been added to the permanent collection of Kennesaw’s Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, donated by descendants of a participant in the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase.
The family also donated written accounts and personal belongings of Wilson W. Brown, a soldier in a group of Unionists who came to be known as Andrews Raiders. In 1862, they stole the General locomotive from Kennesaw as part of a plan to destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga.
Brown was bestowed the highest U.S. military honor in 1863 for his participation in the chase. The Medal his descendants donated in late May was a duplicate Brown received in 1904.
“We are honored to receive this rare Medal of Honor given to a true American hero,” said Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum, where the restored General is its largest and most famous artifact.
In addition to the medal, the family donated a letter Brown received in 1906 from William A. Fuller Jr., son of the Confederate conductor who pursued the Raiders from Big Shanty (now Kennesaw) north to Ringgold, where the chase ended, and a handwritten account of it that Brown penned in 1909.
Ed Ward, Brown’s great-grandson, said the family was pleased that the medal is to be displayed near the General. “We are gratified (it) will be used to educate future generations about the Great Locomotive Chase,” he said, “and the sacrifices so many made during the Civil War.”
The medal is the second one honoring a Raider the museum has received. One awarded to Sgt. John M. Scott was donated in in 2012 and is currently displayed. The two will rotate on view, but a schedule has not yet been determined.
The Southern Museum is open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. $7.50; $6.50 ages 60 and up; $5.50 ages 4-12. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117, www.southernmuseum.org.
To read an AJC story on the current Southern Museum exhibit “1864,” documenting the build-up to the Battle of Atlanta: artsculture.blog.ajc.com.