United States Army First Lieutenant David Jones is one of four Medal of Honor recipients buried in Fayette County. All four received their medal for valor during the Civil War. This Memorial Day, the members of Henry Casey Camp 92 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War remembered all four of them with a floral wreath.
Lt. Jones from Good Hope was awarded the Medal of Honor as a result of his heroic action on May 22, 1863 at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 22-year-old Jones was one of 150 soldiers who volunteered for a mission that was termed the “forlorn hope.” The volunteers knew their assignment was a very dangerous one and only single men were allowed to volunteer for the assignment.
One hundred and fifty volunteers were needed to lead the general assault and prepare the way for the real attack that was to follow. These men were certain to draw the enemy’s fire and their chance of returning alive was small.
These volunteers were to build a bridge over the ditch which protected the front of the enemy’s fort, plant their scaling ladders against the embankment, and then the supporting brigades would attack the enemy.
Lt. Jones was one of the survivors, but he suffered a concussion from the cannon fire causing his ears to bleed. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for “Gallantry in the charge of the volunteer storming party.”
At the start of the war, Jones served three months as a private in Company F, 22nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and then enlisted as a private in Company C, 54th Ohio Volunteers Infantry and was promoted to sergeant in 1864, and advanced to the rank of First Lieutenant in 1865 and placed in command of Company I.
Following the war, Jones returned to Fayette County, got married and raised a family of six children. He died from congestive heart failure on June 18, 1911 at the age of 70. His grave is marked with a special Medal of Honor head stone. In 2010, the Fayette County Travel and Tourism Bureau had the Ohio Historical Society place an Ohio Historical Marker near the entrance to the Good Hope Cemetery in honor of Lt. Jones.
Two of the county’s other Medal of Honor recipients are buried in the Washington Cemetery: Sergeant Major Francis M. McMillen and Corporal Isaac Carman. McMillen served in Company C, 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He died in 1913 at the age of 81. Corporal Carman served in Company A, 48th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He died in 1919 at the age of 78.
The county’s other Medal of Honor recipient is Corporal Henry Casey who is buried in the Bloomingburg Cemetery. He died on May 9, 1919 at the age of 81. The local Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War camp is named in his honor.
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is chartered by the United States Congress as the legal heir to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), and the members of the local camp, descendants of Civil War veterans, also placed a wreath on the grave of the last Fayette County Civil War veteran, Elon Thornton, who served in Company D, 168th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and died in 1941 at the age of 97. He is buried in the Washington Cemetery not far from Corporal Carman and Sgt. Major McMillen.