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Medal of Honor Recipient Retires in Agness, Ore.

Far from the battlefields of the Civil War, a grave stone near the remote Rogue River town of Agness, Ore., reads:

Nathan H. Edgerton


Captain 6 U.S. Cld. Inf.

Aug. 28, 1838  Oct. 27, 1932

Medal of Honor


There lies the body of a Quaker-raised hero who shed his pacifist upbringing to join the Union Army, where he led African-American soldiers who only recently had been freed from slavery.  In 1864, Edgerton led the black regiment against an entrenched Confederate position at Chaffin’s Farm in Virginia. Civil War artist Don Troiani has immortalized Edgerton and two black soldiers in a painting titled “Three Medals of Honor.”  It depicts them retrieving the regimental flag from the field of battle after several color guard soldiers had been shot down.  Wounded, they continued the advance against the enemy until ordered to retreat.  Fourteen African-American soldiers and two white officers who fought in the successful battle were awarded Medals of Honor.

Edgerton and his wife, Esther, moved to Agness, Ore., late in life, where they spent 10 years on their farm above the Rogue River, where he died shortly before his 94th birthday.


Sources: Nathan Huntley Egerton." Find a Grave. Ed. John J. Griffith. N.p., 28 Oct. 2003. Web. 29 Dec. 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8038092;   "Hidden History of Civil War Oregon." Facebook. Ed. Randol B. Fletcher. N.p., 28 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarOregon/;  "Phillie Honors Oregon Civil War Hero." The Union Volunteer The Newsletter of Colonel Edward D. Baker Camp No. 6 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War 8.7 (2013). Web. 29 Dec. 2015. .

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.