Doc. 84. bravery of Corporal J. C. Hesse
Washington, D. C., September 6, 1864.Sir: Believing that I am entitled to receive a “medal of honor” as provided by the resolution of Congress, under date of July 12, 1862, to provide for the presentation of “medals of honor” to enlisted men of the army and volunteer forces who have distinguished or may distinguish themselves in battle during the present war, I have the honor to make the following statement: At the outbreak of the rebellion the headquarters of the Eighth infantry were stationed 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 them 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. Under these circumstances I think I am entitled to the honor of receiving a medal, as I believe that Congress intended to award them to enlisted men who have done acts similar to mine. I, therefore, very respectfully request that I may receive one, believing that I have performed one of the highest duties of a soldier, “having saved the colors of my regiment.” And it will always be a happy day for me if I can see my regiment marching with their colors flying, and can say “that color I have carried on my body, and have rescued it from the hands of the rebels.” I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Washington, D. C., September 6, 1864.I endorse the within statement as true.
Edward L. Hartz, Late Captain U. S. Army.Note.--A medal was awarded Corporal Hesse for his good conduct in rescuing the colors of his regiment.