Janesville Medal of Honor Recipients

Something about Janesville having a significant number of recipients. The citations that follow come directly from U.S. Army Center of Military History Web site.

Civil War

CROFT, JAMES E.   Rank and organization: Private, 12th Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. Place and date: At Allatoona, Ga., 5 October 1864. Entered service at: Janesville, Wis. Birth: England. Date of issue: 20 March 1897. Citation: Took the place of a gunner who had been shot down and inspired his comrades by his bravery and effective gunnery, which contributed largely to the defeat of the enemy.

"Janesville Gazette," June 1, 1912: A Brief History of the Twelfth Wisconsin Battery in the War

JOHNSON, JOHN  Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 2d Wisconsin Infantry. Place and date: At Fredericksburg, Va., 13 December 1862; Antietam. Entered service at: Janesville, Rock County, Wis. Born: 25 March 1842, Norway. Date of issue: 28 August 1893. Citation: Conspicuous gallantry in battle in which he was severely wounded. While serving as cannoneer he manned the positions of fallen gunners.

POND, JAMES B.  Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company C, 3d Wisconsin Cavalry. Place and date: At Baxter Springs, Kans., 6 October 1863. Entered service at: Janesville, Rock County, Wis. Birth: Allegany, N.Y. Date of issue: 30 March 1898. Citation: While in command of 2 companies of Cavalry, was surprised and attacked by several times his own number of guerrillas, but gallantly rallied his men, and after a severe struggle drove the enemy outside the fortifications. 1st Lt. Pond then went outside the works and, alone and unaided, fired a howitzer 3 times, throwing the enemy into confusion and causing him to retire.

James Burton Pond Collection
James Burton Pond Collection: Commemorating Heroism, Missing Medals of Honor 
WVM press release: Rare Civil War medal to stop at Wisconsin Veterans Museum (PDF)

WWII

*ENDL, GERALD L. (Awarded posthumously)   Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U S. Army, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Anamo, New Guinea, 11 July 1944. Entered service at: Janesville, Wis. Birth: Ft. Atkinson, Wis. G.O. No.: 17, 13 March 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near Anamo, New Guinea, on 11 July 1944. S/Sgt. Endl was at the head of the leading platoon of his company advancing along a jungle trail when enemy troops were encountered and a fire fight developed. The enemy attacked in force under heavy rifle, machine gun, and grenade fire. His platoon leader wounded, S/Sgt. Endl immediately assumed command and deployed his platoon on a firing line at the fork in the trail toward which the enemy attack was directed. The dense jungle terrain greatly restricted vision and movement, and he endeavored to penetrate down the trail toward an open clearing of Kunai grass. As he advanced, he detected the enemy, supported by at least 6 light and 2 heavy machine guns, attempting an enveloping movement around both flanks. His commanding officer sent a second platoon to move up on the left flank of the position, but the enemy closed in rapidly, placing our force in imminent danger of being isolated and annihilated. Twelve members of his platoon were wounded, 7 being cut off by the enemy. Realizing that if his platoon were forced farther back, these 7 men would be hopelessly trapped and at the mercy of a vicious enemy, he resolved to advance at all cost, knowing it meant almost certain death, in an effort to rescue his comrades. In the face of extremely heavy fire he went forward alone and for a period of approximately 10 minutes engaged the enemy in a heroic close range fight, holding them off while his men crawled forward under cover to evacuate the wounded and to withdraw. Courageously refusing to abandon 4 more wounded men who were lying along the trail, 1 by 1 he brought them back to safety. As he was carrying the last man in his arms he was struck by a heavy burst of automatic fire and was killed. By his persistent and daring self-sacrifice and on behalf of his comrades, S/Sgt. Endl made possible the successful evacuation of all but 1 man, and enabled the 2 platoons to withdraw with their wounded and to reorganize with the rest of the company.

For photo of S/Sgt. Endl, see The 32nd "Red Arrow" Veteran Association: Medal of Honor Recipients

Frontier War

WINDUS, CLARON A.   Rank and organization: Bugler, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Janesville, Wis. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

WINDUS, CLARON AUGUSTUS (1850?-1927). Claron A. Windus, Medal of Honor recipient, was born to George and Mary Windus in Janesville, Wisconsin. He received his education in the Janesville public schools. Windus ran away from home in 1864 and joined the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry as a drummer. He saw action during the Civil War when the Fifth Wisconsin participated in the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. He was mustered out in July 1865. He then joined the United States Army in October 1866, having lied about his age, and saw lengthy service in Texas with Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. He was court-martialed in February 1868 for desertion and theft and was sentenced to twelve months of hard labor.

In July 1870 Private Windus was a member of Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. Under the command of Capt. Curwen B. McLellan, a mixed troop from Companies A, H, K, and L was dispatched to recover the mail from Indians who had attacked a mail coach sixteen miles west of Fort Richardson on July 6. The force of fifty-eight men, led by guide James Dosher, followed the trail of a small group of Indians until July 11, when nightfall found them on the south bank of the North Fork of the Little Wichita River, some forty miles northwest of Fort Richardson. On July 12, after they were unable to cross the river because of heavy rains on July 10 and 11, they were attacked by a band of Kiowa Indians. The ensuing battle came to be known as the battle of the Little Wichita River.qv Windus was bugler and orderly and assisted the wounded army surgeon, George W. Hatch, in caring for the soldiers. He also assisted in the clearing of enemy snipers from prominent elevations. On the morning of July 13, Windus, Dosher, and Sgt. George Eldridge volunteered to go to Fort Richardson for help. They eluded the Indians and brought relief to the beleaguered command. Windus and twelve others were recommended for the Medal of Honor by McLellan for "conspicuous acts of bravery." The awards were presented at Fort Richardson on October 13 and 23, 1870.

Windus was discharged on October 12, 1871, and worked as a teamster and mail agent until 1875, when he was appointed deputy sheriff at Brackettville, Texas. In 1877, while attempting to arrest four fugitive felons, Windus shot and killed Adam Paine, a Black Seminole scoutqv who was also a Medal of Honor recipient. This is the only known incident in which one Medal of Honor recipient was killed by another.

After becoming ill on September 20, 1927, Windus entered the hospital at Fort Sam Houston, and died there on October 18. He was survived by his wife and two daughters. Windus was buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Brackettville, Texas. Source: Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863-1973.Washington: GPO, 1973

The Handbook of Texas Online citation 

Vietnam War

Bellrichard, Leslie A.  (Awarded posthumously) For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Acting as a fire team leader with Company C, during combat operations Pfc. Bellrichard was with 4 fellow soldiers maning a foxhole on their unit's perimeter when the position came under a massive enemy attack. Following a 30-minute mortar barrage, the enemy launched a strong ground assault. Pfc. Bellrichard rose in face of a group of charging enemy soldiers and threw hand grenades into their midst, eliminating several of the foe and forcing the remainder to withdraw. Failing in their initial attack, the enemy repeated the mortar and rocket bombardment of the friendly perimeter, then once again charged against the defenders in a concerted effort to overrun the position. Pfc. Bellrichard resumed throwing hand grenades at the onrushing attackers. As he was about to hurl a grenade, a mortar round exploded just in front of his position, knocking him into the foxhole and causing him to lose his grip on the already armed grenade. Recovering instantly, Pfc. Bellrichard recognized the threat to the lives of his 4 comrades and threw himself upon the grenade, shielding his companions from the blast that followed. Although severely wounded. Pfc. Bellrichard struggled into an upright position in the foxhole and fired his rifle at the enemy until he succumbed to his wounds. His selfless heroism contributed greatly to the successful defense of the position, and he was directly responsible for saving the lives of several of his comrades. His acts are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

Photo of Pfc. Bellrichard 
Madison West Hgh School Class of '61: Special tribute to Bellrichard