Historical Marker #1867 at Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, Kentucky, commemorates the life of William H. Horsfall, the youngest Kentuckian to earn a Medal of Honor, which was received for his bravery during the Civil War.
Horsfall was born in Newport in 1847. After running away from home at age fourteen, Horsfall enlisted in the Union army and served as a drummer in the 1st Kentucky Infantry. During actions around Corinth, Mississippi, on May 21, 1862, Horsfall risked his life to save a wounded officer lying between the lines. The fifteen-year-old drummer was awarded the United States military's highest medal of valor for his actions, making him the youngest Kentucky recipient to date. He received the award in 1895.
After his heroic actions at Corinth, Horsfall continued to serve with the 1st Kentucky and participated in a number of battles. He was captured in 1863 and was held at the infamous Andersonville prison camp in Georgia. Released in 1864, Horsfall returned to Newport and enlisted in a veteran reserve unit in Cincinnati.
The Medal of Honor was created in 1861. President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill before the end of the year, authorizing the creation of the medal to be awarded to sailors, soldiers, and marines for gallantry in action. Since then, less than 3,500 soldiers have received the Medal of Honor. William H. Horsfall remains one of the few elite recipients of this prestigious award.
Horsfall eventually became the commander of the William Nelson Grand Army of the Republic post in Newport. He died in 1922 at age seventy-five, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate.