HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. — Grant, Lee, Sherman---in the records of Civil War history, many may never have even heard of.
21-year-old Alfred Hilton of Harford County, including his great, great, great niece, Joi Hilton, until she had nearly reached adulthood.
“I remember my father talking about this medal that my grandfather had, and we didn’t actually know who it belonged to,” recalled Hilton.
Ultimately, the Hiltons learned that their forefather had enlisted with the Union army as a free man during the Civil War and served as the soldier who carried the American flag during battles.
When a comrade was felled by a bullet during a conflict outside Richmond, Hilton carried both until he, too, was shot and ultimately died from his wound.
“Without even thinking what could possibly happen to him if he picked up those two big targets he was holding, he grabbed them and he raced towards the enemy,” said Havre de Grace Mayor William Martin. “That is why we’re here today.”
A memorial to Hilton will be constructed in David R. Craig Park in Havre de Grace later this year sharing his heroics, which earned him the congressional medal of honor after his death.
“To know that was my ancestor and to know he did something so bright as to shine right now, it’s amazing,” said Hilton. “It just fills us up. It fills us with joy and pride to be able to share that with everyone as well.”
Alfred Hilton still holds the distinction of being the only Harford County native to receive the Medal of Honor from any war.