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Downs, Henry W.


Age: 18, credited to Newfane, VT
Unit(s): 8th VT INF
Service: enl 11/28/61, m/i 2/18/62, PVT, Co. I, 8th VT INF, reen 1/5/64, pr CPL, pr SGT 12/13/63, pr 1SGT 3/21/65, comn 2LT 4/18/65 (4/26/65), m/o 6/28/65 (Medal of Honor)

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 08/29/1844, Jamaica, VT
Death: 07/02/1911

Burial: Dayton National Cemetery, Dayton, OH
Marker/Plot: Q/7/24
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Wade Davis
Findagrave Memorial #: 597447

Cenotaph: Woodlawn Cemetery, Newfane, VT
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Bob Edwards

Findagrave Memorial #: 0
(There may be a Findagrave Memorial, but we have not recorded it)


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, widow Lovisa B.
Portrait?: Gibson Collection, VHS Collections
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: OH
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Widow, Lovisa B. was a Civil War Nurse.


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Dayton National Cemetery, OH

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.




Cenotaph in Woodlawn Cemetery, Newfane, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may have cenotaphs there.

Medal of Honor

This soldier was awarded the Medal of Honor

Henry W. Downs

Rank and Organization: Sergeant, Co. I, 8th Vermont Infantry.
Place and date: Winchester, VA, 19 Sep 1864.
Entered service at: Newfane.
Born: 29 Aug 1844, Jamaica.
Died: 2 Jul 1911, Dayton, OH
Buried: Dayton National Cemetery (0-7-24)
Date of Issue: 13 Dec 1893.
Citation: With one comrade, voluntarily crossed an open field, exposed to a raking fire, and returned with a supply of ammunition, successfully repeating the attempt a short time thereafter.

NARA File Number: R&P 332358.

From the Eighth Regiment History:.


Vermont Officers Reunion Society Collection
Courtesy Vermont Historical Society

(Gibson Collection)

(Men of Vermont)

(Courtesy of Mike Serpa)

"Then an incident occurs which I shall always remember with peculiar interest. Our rifles become so hot and foul from constant and rapid use, that we are obliged to abandon them and take others from the dead soldiers lying within reach. But our ammunition is giving out, and Sergeants Henry Downs and Lamb volunteer to cross the open field to our rear for more, and soon return with a fresh supply; but none too soon, for the lull in our firing is evidently taken advantage of, and the rebels swarm out from the woods and charge towards us with wild yells. But they are quickly driven back by the fierce volleys along our line. Company I is losing heavily; four of their men are shot dead, and the captain falls and is supposed to be dying. A bullet strikes Sergt. Thorn, glances, and wounds Corporal Eddy, and others are wounded. Three times, after continued firing, our ammunition is exhausted, and Col. Thomas calls for volunteers to go for more cartridges, exposed to a raking fire. Downs and Lamb nobly respond." (p. 289)


DOWNS, HENRY W., of Newton, Mass., son of Calvin and Elizabeth Downs, was born in Jamaica Aug. 29, 18.44. He was educated in the public schools of his native town and, up to the breaking out of war, was employed on his father's farm. He enlisted at the age of 17 in Company I, 8th Vermont Volunteers, and immediately went to the front, serving four years, being mustered out as second lieutenant. Under Butler and Banks, in the army of the gulf, he participated in a dozen memorable engagements, -- Port Jackson, Morganzia Bend and the taking of New Orleans, -- as well as in the Red River campaign and the forty-four days' siege of Port Hudson. Afterward his regiment was transferred to the army of the Potomac, and under Sheridan, he took part in the Shenandoah Valley campaign, fought at Winchester, at Cedar Creek and in several other less important engagements, being promoted several times for bravery on the field. In 1891, Mr. Downs received the Congressional medal of honor awarded for conspicuous gallantry in the battle of Winchester, where he volunteered and bravely crossed the field, although exposed to a raking fire, to secure ammunition for the regiment, its supply being exhausted. At the close of the war Mr. Downs went to Massachusetts and engaged in business as a silk manufacturer, in which he continued till 1891, when he entered the dry goods and importing business on Tremont street, Boston, where he is still located. Mr. Downs is a conspicuous member of several military organizations, being a member and an ex-president of the Vermont Veterans' Association, of Boston, and is now its treasurer; he is a past commander of Post 62, G. A. R , of Newton, a member of the Loyal Legion and of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co., of Boston, and is assistant quartermaster general of the Massachusetts department, G. A. R. In the Massachusetts Volunteer militia, he has also served with honor in time of peace, as captain of Company C, 5th Infantry. In politics he is an ardent Republican, has served on the ward and city committees of Newton, and has been a delegate for many years to the Massachusetts State Republican conventions. He was married at Worcester, Mass., in 1867, to Lovisa B. Rawson, and their only child, Arthur W. Downs, is engaged in business with his father, under the firm name of the H. W. Downs Co.

Jacob G. Ullery, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Co., Brattleboro, 1894), p. 451.


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