Member of the Regiment biography for
Morgan D. Lane (1997)
Second-Class PVT Morgan D. Lanes military
service began with his enlistment Aug. 22, 1862, in Company I, 5th Regiment of Michigan
Cavalry, at Allegan, Michigan. In the cavalry he rose to the rank of sergeant. In March
1864, SGT Lane transferred to the Signal Corps and was appointed a second-class private
April 1, 1864. His entire service was in the Army of the Potomac, from which he was
honorably discharged June 24, 1865.
After November 1864, he served in the 5th Corps, to whose
headquarters he was attached in early April 1865 as the orderly of LT P.H. Niles, a
Signal Corps officer. During the pursuit of GEN Robert E. Lees army, the event that
earned PVT Lane the Medal of Honor occurred. LT Niles description of the event was
quoted in the April 20, 1865, report of CPT Charles L. Davis, Chief Signal Officer, Army
of the Potomac:
"On the 6th of April, 1865, near Jetersville,
Virginia, in company with Captain Benyaurd, U.S. Engineers, and my orderly, Private Lane,
and in advance of the army, we pursued and captured 7 rebels, viz, 2 naval officers, 1
engineer, 1 acting signal officer (all of the rebel gunboat Nansemond), and 3 enlisted
men. The flag of the gunboat Nansemond was secured from one of these enlisted men by
Second-Class Private Morgan D. Lane, U.S. Signal Corps."
In early 1866 PVT Lane sent to Congressman Charles Upson
of Michigan a slightly different account of the event. PVT Lane claimed to have captured
the Nansemonds commanding officer and the flag that "was on his person."
Continuing, PVT Lane said he was given 30 days leave and was promised a "Gold
Medal" for his deed.
Congressman Upson forwarded PVT Lanes letter to the
War Department, which sought to locate the Nansemonds flag to substantiate PVT
Lanes claim that he had captured it. However, the search was in vain. When, in March
1866, the letter reached Chief Signal Officer COL Benjamin F. Fisher, he endorsed it by
quoting from CPT Davis report supporting PVT Lanes claim that he had secured
the flag but from one of the enlisted men, not from the Nansemonds commander.
COL Fishers endorsement was all the evidence the War Department needed. PVT
Lanes Medal of Honor was issued March 16, 1866.
The Signal Regiment inducted this Medal of Honor recipient
as a Distinguished Member of the Regiment in 1997.
Back to main Distinguished Member of the Regiment page
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