Wilson Brown (Wilson Wright Brown)

Wilson Brown

Wilson Brown was born December 25, 1837 in Logan County, Ohio, and enlisted September 6, 1861 at Findlay, Ohio in Company F, 21st Ohio Infantry, mustering into service September 19, 1861. He first saw action at Ivy Mountain, Ky., November 8–9, 1861. Chosen by James Andrews for his abilities as a locomotive engineer, as he had been an engineer on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad before the war, he took part in the Andrews’ Raid (Great Locomotive Chase) in April 1862. The raid sought to cut off Confederate supply lines from Atlanta to Chattanooga, by going behind Confederate lines and destroying the Western & Atlantic Railroad. Captured by the Confederates, he was imprisoned in Atlanta’s old Fulton County Jail for most of 1862 before escaping with seven of his fellow raiders. Wilson Brown was promoted to Sergeant, November 1, 1862. He later saw action at the Battle of Stones River, December 31, 1862 – January 3, 1863, at Dug Gap, Georgia, September 11, 1863 and was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga. In 1863, Brown was awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions during the raid. He was discharged May 15, 1864. He married Clarissa Lowman, July 12, 1863. In the years after the war, Wilson Brown remained friends with fellow raider Jacob Parrott. Edith Gertrude Brown, one of his eight children, subsequently married Jacob Parrott’s only son, John Marion Parrott.

Wilson Brown maintained a friendship with Captain William A. Fuller, the General’s engineer, and traveled with other raiders to Atlanta for reunions, on railroad passes issued by the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway, successor to the Western & Atlantic. In the 1950s Disney Studios released the movie The Great Locomotive Chase to herald the exploits of the Andrews Raid. He was portrayed by actor Stan Jones in the film. There is a Medal of Honor marker at Brown’s grave in Dowling, Ohio. The nearby Ohio Historical marker, erected June 27, 1965, identifies him as Medal of Honor recipient. In 2012, his descendants went to court to settle a dispute over whether Brown’s Medals of Honor should be donated to a museum. As a result of the court settlement, the original 1863 medal was placed in a Veteran’s Administration outpatient clinic in Toledo, Ohio. The other medal, issued in 1904 when the medal was redesigned, was donated, along with Brown’s papers, to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, Kennesaw, Ga., near the location where the raid began.


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  • December, 25, 1839
  • USA
  • Logan County, Ohio


  • December, 25, 1916
  • USA
  • Toledo, Ohio


  • New Belleville Ridge Cemetery
  • Dowling, Ohio
  • USA

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