William Pittenger (January 31, 1840 Knoxville, Jefferson County Ohio – April 24, 1904 Fallbrook, San Diego County, CA) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
The son of Thomas and Mary Mills Pittenger, Pittenger studied in the county schools until he had reached the age of sixteen. On the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in Co. H 2nd Ohio Infantry Regiment, April 17, 1861 and served in the First battle of Bull Run. Mustered September 11, 1861, Camp Dennison, Ohio three years. Enlisted as Corporal Co. G 2nd Ohio Infantry Regiment, September 15, 1861, Stubenville, Ohio. Promoted Sergeant, March 13, 1862. Saw action action in Andrews' Raid most commonly referred to as the Great Locomotive Chase. Captured on April 15, 1862, near Lafayette, GA He escaped execution as a spy, was imprisoned until 18 March, 1863. Paroled via City Point, VA. Following his parole and subsequent receipt of the Medal of Honor, Pittenger was promoted to Lieutenant in the Army and served until impaired health forced him to eventually resign. He was discharged with a disability on August 14, 1863, at Anderson Station, TN. He married Wilhelmina (Winnie) Clyde Osborne of New Brighton, PA, May 17, 1864 and had six children.
William Pittenger was awarded the 5th Medal of Honor on March 25, 1863 for his service during the Great Locomotive Chase.
The MOH Citation reads: "One of the 19 of 22 men (including 2 civilians) who, by direction of Gen. Mitchell (or Buell), penetrated nearly 200 miles south into enemy territory and captured a railroad train at Big Shanty, Ga., in an attempt to destroy the bridges and tract between Chattanooga and Atlanta."
Following his discharge from the Army, in 1864 Pittenger entered the Pittsburg conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in 1870 was transferred to the New Jersey conference, in which he now (1888) labors.' Since 1878 he has been a professor in the National school of elocution and oratory in Philadelphia. He is the author of " Daring and Suffering, a History of the Great Railroad Adventurers" (Philadelphia, 1863; enlarged ed., New York, 1887) ; "Oratory, Sacred and Secular" (Philadelphia, 1881); and "Extempore Speech" (1882).
He was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Fallbrook, April 25, 1904. Medal of Honor marker placed on grave July 7, 1988.