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Hartwell Thomas Benton Compson
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Personal Information
Born: May 5, 1842(1842-05-05)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: August 31, 1905 (aged 63)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Colonel
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Commands: 8th New York Cavalry
Battles: American Civil War
Awards: Medal of Honor
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Hartwell Thomas Benton Compson (May 5, 1842 – August 31, 1905) was an American military officer who received the Medal of Honor for heroism in the American Civil War.


Compson was born May 5, 1842, in Seneca Falls, New York the second of thirteen children born to Jonas and Ruth Compson. He volunteered for the 8th Regiment New York Cavalry at the start of the Civil War. Rising rapidly through the ranks, he eventually became regimental commander. On March 2, 1865, he led his troops into battle at Waynesboro, Virginia. During fierce hand-to-hand combat, Major Compson personally captured the headquarters flag of Confederate general Jubal Early. For this action he would receive the Medal of Honor. In addition, Compson was breveted to colonel by General Philip Sheridan. Unlike many of the men whose bravery was not recognized for decades, Compson received his medal within a month of the battle. After the war, Compson worked as a U.S. Marshal and Postmaster and eventually moved to Oregon where he became Brigadier General of the Oregon National Guard. He died on August 31, 1905 in Portland, Oregon where he is buried in the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery. Following his death in 1905, Compson faded from memory and his grave went unmarked for 100 years until Civil War amateur historians Roy Vanderhoof and Mike Stephenson, along with the considerable assistance of Congresswoman Darlene Hooley of the 5th Congressional District, obtained a proper headstone from the Federal Veterans Administration.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Major, 8th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Waynesboro, Va., March 2, 1865. Entered service at: Seneca Falls, N.Y. Birth: Seneca Falls, N.Y. Date of issue: March 26, 1865.


Capture of flag belonging to Gen. Early's headquarters.

See also

  • List of Medal of Honor recipients
  • List of American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: A–F



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