Missing: One Medal of Honor
Yet another interesting find at the National Archives! Allan Dougall was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of Bentonville in 1865.
Mixed in with all of his documents at the National Archives was a small box containing the ribbon and pin from his original Medal of Honor. Noticeably missing was the medal itself. The documents explained why.
He was extremely careful with his medal after receiving it. He never wore it in public until 1897, when he was involved in a parade to honor the new courthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When the parade was over, he looked down and found that ribbon was still pinned to his shirt, but the medal was missing. He rode up and down the parade route, but the muddy conditions on the streets made it impossible to find the medal. He put the word out that it was missing, but after three months, the medal was still not found or returned.
He sent back the original box and the remaining pieces of the medal, in hopes of getting a replacement. The box and the remaining pieces are still included as part of his file at the National Archives today.
The accompanying documents weren’t clear as to whether he was granted a replacement medal right away. In 1910, the documents showed that he applied again for a new one again though.
When I showed my find to a descendant of Allan Dougall, she sent me a photo of the Medal of Honor that they have in their family collection, proving that he did get a new one at some point. As far as we know though, that original medal could very well be out there, buried somewhere in the streets of downtown Fort Wayne.
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