Monday, May 29, 2017

Decatur Dorsey - slave to Medal of Honor recipient

Decatur Dorsey (1836-1891) was an enslaved African American in Howard County when he signed up in 1864. He would become a Sergeant in the 39th US Colored Troops and earned the Medal of Honor.

During the battle at Petersburg, Va., Dorsey "planted his colors [flag] on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men."

"Dorsey was honorably discharged in December 1865 while in Wilmington, North Carolina. He married soon after that and died in 1891, from the effects of typhoid and rheumatism he had contracted in Wilmington, at the approximate age of fifty-one."  

A plaque honoring him is in the parking lot for the 'Colored School, restored' museum in Ellicott City.

©2017 Patricia Bixler Reber
Forgotten history of Ellicott City & Howard County MD

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