KINGWOOD — During its Thursday meeting, members of Vietnam Veterans Post 977 voted unanimously to add a brick to the Veterans Memorial Walkway in Kingwood for Cpl. Emisire Shahan.
Bill Benson, a member of Post 977, said the brick will be placed in the walkway prior to the dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Shahan, who was born and raised in Preston County, was one of the first Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. He was awarded the medal on May 3, 1865, for actions performed at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek in Virginia.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society (CMOHS) describes the Medal of Honor as “the United States’ highest award for military valor in action.”
Shahan, also known as Amaziah Shahan, was the son of Samuel and Rebecca Wolfe Shahan. He was born Aug. 14, 1843, in Preston County, one of three siblings and three half-siblings. He married Rebecca Miller in 1864 and Melvina H. Knight in 1894, and fathered a total of nine children, according to Find-A-Grave.
Shahan enlisted in the Army as a corporal on July 1, 1861, and was mustered into Company A of the First West Virginia Cavalry. On April 6, 1885, at the Battle of Sailor’s (or Sayler’s) Creek, Shahan captured the flag of the Confederate 76th Georgia Infantry.
According to History.org, the Battles of Sailor’s Creek (there were three of them) were fought on April 6, 1865, as part of the Apposattox Campaign during Robert E. Lee’s retreat from Petersburg.
“Union General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant had besieged the railroad hub south of Richmond for 10 months before finally breaking through at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1.
“Both Richmond and Petersburg fell the next day, and Lee set his Army of Northern Virginia in retreat to the west, harassed the whole way by Union cavalry and quickly marching infantry.
“On April 6, a gap opened up between Confederate troops under James Longstreet and those under Richard H. Anderson, Richard S. Ewell and John B. Gordon. Union cavalry and infantry attacked Anderson at Marshall’s Crossroads. At the same time, the Union Sixth Corps attacked and overwhelmed Ewell after crossing the rain-swollen Sailor’s Creek.
“A later attack against Gordon was stopped by darkness, but by day’s end, the Confederates had suffered more than 8,000 casualties, including the capture of Ewell and eight other generals. Lee, watching from a hilltop, wondered if his whole army hadn’t dissolved. He would surrender to Grant three days later.”
According to CMOHS.org, Shahan’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:
“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Emisire Shahan, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 6 April 1865, while serving with Company A, 1st West Virginia Cavalry, in action at Deatonsville (Sailor’s Creek), Virginia, for the capture of the flag of the 76th Georgia Infantry (Confederate States of America).”
Shahan is buried in the Masonic Cemetery, Elma, Grays Harbor County, Washington state, in Block 134, lot 4, according to Find-A-Grave.
Benson said Veterans Chapter 977 will accept orders for bricks until Sept. 15 to be installed before the Dedication of the Memorial Walkway on Veteran’s Day during a ceremony conducted by the Preston County Honor Guard. Bricks are $75 each. Send checks to VVA Chapter 977, P.O. Box 803, Masontown, WV 26542. Follow @VVAChapter 977 on Facebook for information about meetings.