Newest Acquisition to Medal of Honor Gallery


(Sullivan Museum; Mark Collier photo.)

The Norwich University Medal of Honor Gallery has a new look. This past spring, the in-house portraits of Norwich alumni who received the nation’s highest military honor were reframed and remounted, and their permanent home near the main entrance of Jackman Hall features a photo of the medals courtesy of the Medal of Honor Foundation.

The collection also welcomes a new acquisition, a photograph of William H. “Willie” Johnston, Class of 1870 (right), who received the medal in 1863, at age 13. As a drummer boy for the 3rd Vermont Infantry, he served during the Seven Days fighting retreat in the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. Marius Peladeau wrote in his book, Willie Went to War, that Johnston was deemed worthy of the honor for “retaining his drum—the only musician in his division to do so—in the disastrous retreat of Major General George B. McClellan’s forces to Harrison’s Landing in 1862 … ” Johnston, who attended Norwich after the war, remains the youngest Medal of Honor recipient in U.S. history.

The Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, Vt., which houses the original photograph, provided the reproduction.

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