Sunday, January 3, 2021

A forgotten Delco Hero

A print of George W. Roosevelt as a diplomat about 1885. He was a third cousin of Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Note: George W. Roosevelt was one of the very few men to be nominated for the Medal of Honor twice. A of Chester, after the war he served overseas as a diplomat for some 30 years. He has long been forgotten as a true Delco hero.

George Roosevelt received his Medal of Honor in the mail in Brussels, Belgium where he worked as a diplomat. He received it in the late summer of 1887. There was no big ceremony, etc. Roosevelt had waited almost 25 years for the honor.
George Washington Roosevelt  was born in Chester in 1843. He was the son of Solomon Roosevelt and his wife Elizabeth Morris. His parents ran a small store on Market St. in Chester. Following the outbreak of the American Civil War, Roosevelt enlisted as a corporal in Company K of the 26th Regiment of the Penna. Infantry on May 1, 1861. Roosevelt was just 17 years old. He was promoted to sergeant on September 1, 1862.
His Citation for the Medal of Honor is quite brief, see below

For extraordinary heroism while serving with Company K, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry. At Bull Run, Virginia, on 30 August 1862, First Sergeant Roosevelt recaptured the colors, which had been seized by the enemy. At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 2 July 1863, he captured a Confederate Color Bearer and color, during this heroic effort he was severely wounded.
Note: wounded was an understatement, Roosevelt lost his leg at Gettysburg.  
He was honorably discharged from the Army at Philadelphia on March 14, 1864. In recognition of his war service, Roosevelt received a brevet promotion to captain. Although he was one of the few men in American history to be nominated twice for the Medal of Honor, Roosevelt rarely mentioned he had been nominated twice. When contacted by an author writing a book on Medal of Honor winners, Roosevelt only mentioned the Battle of Bull Run as his only nomination, See below                                            
                                                                                                          75 Boulevard de Waterloo                                                                                                                                  Brussels, Belgium                                                                                                                                              January 9, 1894                             
My dear Sir and Comrade:
   I have pleasure in acknowledging receipt of your favor of December 23, 1893, and in filling out the blank
as requested.  I may mention that at the time of action (Bull Run)j which won for me my medal. I was only 19 years of age, having enlisted at the early age of seventeen. I inclose herewith a photograph taken two years ago.  Please tell me the cost of your book when it is finished.
                                                                                                          Very sincerely yours,
                                                                                                         Geo. W. Roosevelt
                                                                                                         U.S. Consul"
The author was stunned when he found out the truth, that Roosevelt had been nominated twice and had lost a leg at Gettysburg.
 Following the war, Roosevelt had a 30-year career as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State. He began serving in 1877 and never returned to the U.S. His final posting was as the U.S. Consul General in Brussels in 1906.
Captain Roosevelt died in Brussels in 1907 at the age of 63. He is buried  in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington D.C.

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