Post-war photo of Edward Browne Jnr.
Edward Browne (Brown) Jnr was born in Ireland in 1842. He enlisted in the army at New York on 5 August, 1861. He mustered into Co. G. 62d NYSV as a Private on 15 August, 1861. He was promoted to Corporal on 15 February, 1862. Edward was wounded at Chancellorsville on 3 May 1863. It was for his valour in this action that he was awarded the “Congressional Medal of Honor” on 24 November, 1880.
“On the morning of May 3rd, General Hooker was at Chancellorsville and General Sedgwick, with the Sixth Corps, crossed to the right bank of the Rappahannock, about three miles below Fredericksburg, and took up his line of march toward that city. The advance, after considerable resistance on the part of the Confederates, entered the city just before daybreak and drove them out. My recollection is that the enemy found refuge behind a stone wall at the base of the heights back of the city. At daylight, six companies of the Sixty-second were thrown in advance to uncover the enemy if behind the wall. I was with the color-guard at the time.
We advanced in line of battle until we came within the rebel works, which formed a circle at the foot of the hill, and uncovered them. But we reached the spot through a murderous fire of small arms at point-blank range, opened upon our front and flanks, and it seemed like going to sure destruction. Our men were literally mowed down. Those of us who were not incapacitated, sought the cover of the city as soon as we could. The color-bearer was injured in the engagement, but my comrades and I brought him back with the colors.
Upon our return to the city, the remaining companies of the regiment were brought up and the regiment reformed. The colors were entrusted to me. About noon we were in line of battle for the charge, which carried the stone wall and the heights beyond. I was among the first upon the wall with the colors, and kept them flying until we reached the top of the heights and the enemy were routed.
In the afternoon we pressed forward, after having reformed our columns, to Salem Church or Heights, about four miles to the rear of Marye’s Heights, where, in a belt of woods, our advance became engaged with what we supposed to be the rear guard of the enemy. We afterwards learned that it was a part of Lee’s forces on their return from Chancellorsville. The Sixty-second Regiment was in the second line of battle, supporting a battery, with its right resting on the road from Fredericksburg. Generals Newton and Wheaton were close by, mounted.
Suddenly our boys came in hurried retreat from the woods, followed by the enemy in good form. I was at that time in front of the line waving the colors, when on turning to the right, I observed a line of the enemy emerging from a belt of woods in that direction, and called the colonel’s attention to it. At the same time I was wounded in the side. The colonel noticed that I had been hit, and suggested my retirement to the rear. But the boys were coming across the open field between the woods and our line, and I remained with the colors open so that they might know they had something to rally about, and to show the enemy that we were not in a panic. I remained at my post until the boys had crossed the open and were within our lines, and the enemy had been brought to a halt by our fire. Then the colonel, C. B. Hamilton, commanded me to give up the colors and get to the hospital.
I transferred the colors to a noble fellow, who afterwards fell under them; and after the enemy’s line was broken and they had retired to the woods whence they came, late in the afternoon, I went to the field hospital. On the following day I crossed t the left bank of the river, and from a safe position, in the stone house which served as a hospital, I saw the battle.
I returned to my regiment as soon as my wound was healed, and was with it in all engagements up to the fight before Washington in ’64. I was made sergeant, and a commission was offered me, but I declined the latter through lack of appreciation of its worth. I was brevetted second and first lieutenant and captain in the New York Volunteers.
“I remained with the Colors.”
Edward was promoted to Sergeant on 15 October, 1863. He mustered out at New York, NY on 22 September, 1864. Edward Browne Jr died at New York, NY on 5th November, 1911 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, Queens County, NY.
Source: Beyer, W. F. & Keydel, O. F. (Ed). (1994). ‘Stuck to His Colors’, in “Deeds of Valor: How America’s Civil War Heroes Won the Congressional Medal of Honor”. Longmeadow Press, Stamford, pp. 162-163.