|Death: ||Sep. 19, 1869|
South Carolina, USA
Born in Ohio, Joseph Kerr Wilson served as a Private, Corporal, and Sergeant in Companies A and B of the 8th United States Infantry Regiment, and later as the Regimental Sergeant Major and Quartermaster Sergeant from July 9th, 1844, to September 7th, 1853. He served as an Ordnance Sergeant in the United States Army from September 7th, 1853, to June 9th, 1854. He re-enlisted again and was appointed as the Regimental Sergeant Major of the 8th Infantry Regiment, serving from december 15th, 1855, to May 7th, 1863, when he recieved his appointment as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the 8th Infantry Regiment. He served with the regiment throughout the Civil War and was brevetted to the rank of First Lieutenant on July 30th, 1864, for his gallant and meritorious services in the assualt on Petersburg, Virginia. He was promoted to First Lieutenant of Infantry in the regiment on July 19th, 1866, and was serving as the regimental Quartermaster from March 10th, 1868, until his death in September of 1869.
Lieutenant Joseph K. Wilson died of illness while stationed in Columbia, South Carolina, and is buried in the Masonic Plot in Elmwood Cemetery in that city.
At the begining of the American Civil War, then Sergeant Major Joseph K. Wilson and Coporal John C. Hesse of the 8th U.S. Infantry, preformed an action that would earn them both the first Congressional Medal of Honors awarded during the conflict, however these medals were later revoked in the 1916 purge of 991 of the medals that were awarded during the war. The exact reason for the rescinding of then Sergeant Major Wilson's medal is as yet unknown.
The account is related by Corporal Heese as follows: "At the outbreak of the rebellion the headquarters of the Eighth infantry were Btationed at San Antonio Texas. I was a corporal of Company A of that regiment and detailed as clerk at its headquarters. On the twenty third of April 1861 the officers and a few enlisted men at that time present at San Antonio were taken prisoners by the rebel troops under the command of Colonel Van Dorn. All the officers with the exception of Lieutenant Edward L Hartz Adjutant Eighth infantry left a few days afterward for the States.
"A few days subsequent going to the former office of the regimental headquarters the building then in possession and under the control of the rebels. I met there Lieutenant Hartz and Sergeant Major Joseph K Wilson Eighth infantry (now Second Lieutenant Eighth infantry). Our regimental colors being in the office Lieutenant Hartz proposed to us to take the colors from the staffs conceal them beneath our clothes and try to carry theag off. We did so I took the torn color the regiment had carried through the Mexican war put it around my body under my shirt and blouse and passed out of the building which was strongly guarded by the rebels. Our good luck would that the rebels did not suspect what a precious load we carried with us if they had our lives would not have been worth much. We put the colors in one of Lieutenant Hartz's trunks and next day left San Antonio for the North. On the route we guarded the colors with our lives always fearing that the rebels might find out what we had taken away and come after us but they did not. We arrived safe with our colors on the twenty sixth of May 1861 in Washington and turned them over to the regiment."
Elmwood Memorial Gardens
South Carolina, USA
Plot: Masonic Plot
Created by: Kenneth Robison II
Record added: Jan 05, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 63748250