Here are two York/Adams fighting men who received Medal of Honor
Recent news service stories told of phony Medals of Honor for sale on the Web. People who have never served in uniform are wearing, making or selling the coveted award.
True recipients of the honor are, indeed, scarce. Here are two local men in uniform who received this highest of all honors… .
Oscar Schmidt Jr. of York County won the Medal of Honor in World War I. The gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy earned the high honors after rescuing two men from certain death when their vessel blew up. Schmidt also contributed to the Allied cause in WW II. He made a large war bond pledge during Hedy Lamarr’s visit to York Safe and Lock in 1942.
In the Civil War, Sgt. Daniel P. Reigel of the 87th Pennsylvania, a York/Adams unit, became a hero at Cedar Creek.
The following excerpt from “East of Gettysburg,” based on George Prowell’s regimental history, tells this Union soldier’s story:
He was near Edgar Ruhl, carrying a banner, when a bullet struck the captain.
“Boys, it’s all up with me,” Ruhl cried.
Reigle stuck the flag into the ground and carried his fallen commander to the rear. He then rushed forward to retrieve the banner with the enemy only 10 yards away.
Reigle later fought to capture and hold a battery, finally helping to pull the cannons to the rear because the artillery horses were dead.
When the rebels made a final charge, Reigel captured their flag.
Flags were important to men in uniform, serving as a beacon for troop movement and forming the heart of the regiment. To defend the flag was an honor; to lose the banner, a disgrace.
Not only had Reigel defended his flag, but the banner he captured would have demoralized the rebel unit. His commanding general recognized Reigle’s bravery by sending him to Washington to present the flag to the War Department.
For his bravery, he received the Medal of Honor.