The following article appeared in the June 1997 issue of 'Historical Happenings'. It was written by Michael Murphy
PALLBEARER FOR ABRAHAM LINCOLN
RESTS IN SAINT MARY'S CEMETERY
William H. Wiseman was born in 1839 in the village of Bluden in the County of Cork, Ireland.
He immigrated to the United States in 1848 during Ireland's holocast. He enlisted in the army on August 12, 1862.
The five foot nine inch, blue eyed, dark haired Wiseman served with Company K of the 139th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
He followed the trade of Printer. On 16 September 1863 Wiseman was transferred to the brigade hospital near Warrenton Virginia, with acute dysentery. On 15 March 1864 he was redeployed to the Invalid Corps. Late in the war the Invalid Corps was renamed the Veterans Reserve Corps. The VRC's basic function was to use disabled, who had already performed honorable service, to replace able-bodied men who were performing necessary, but mundane, military duties. The unit was comprised of men who had exhibited meritorious service, but who now were unfit for regular duty. They were authorized to carry weapons. They performed light duty marching, escorting, guarding and such as paper work.
When physically able they were returned to their former units.
The Corps was selected to transport President Lincoln's body from our Nation's Capital, through the country, back to Springfield,
Eight states were represented and 1st Sergeant William H. Wiseman represented the Keystone State.
The United States Congress, not the Army awarded the escorts the Medal Of Honor.
Wiseman's Medal Of Honor was inscribed as follows:
"The Congress To 1st Sergt. WM. H. Wiseman CO. E 24th Vet Res Corps Of Escort To Remains Of President Abraham Lincoln April 1865."
After his military service, Wiseman returned to Pittsburg and worked as a Printer for 'The Pittsburg Dispatch' newspaper.
He lived at 716 Watson Street in the Uptown section of the city. William H. Wiseman died on November 6, 1903, and was buried
from Epiphany Church. He had six sons, two daughters and a wife. He is buried in the St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville,
Section N Lot 167-168.
An eight foot high monument marks his grave. The inscription reads:
"William H. Wiseman 1839-1903
Civil War Vet Three Years."
In June of 1916 a panel of five retired Generals reviewed the criteria under which Medal Of Honor Recipients were bestowed
their accolades. They decided that Wiseman did not meet the minimum requirements for courage "Above & Beyond the call of duty;. William Wiseman was posthumously stripped of his Medal of Honor. Wiseman's Medal Of Honor has been donated to Allegheny County's Soldier's & Sailor's Hall. Authorities at the Hall decided not to return the medal. The medal was reported missing in March of 1983 from the Hall and to date has not been found.
Source = Lawrenceville Historical Society
5 February 1917
The Medal of Honor review board released its findings, striking
the names of 911 medal recipients from the honor roll. The
stricken names included all the medals awarded to the 27th
Maine, 29 members of President Lincoln's funeral guard, and
six civilians (whose courage the board did not deny, but who
were ruled ineligible for the Medal due their civilian status).
Five of the civilians were scouts from the Indian Campaigns
including Buffalo Bill Cody. The sixth was Civil War Assistant
Surgeon Mary Walker. Though she had participated in major
campaigns from Bull Run to Chickamauga, even endured three
months as a Confederate prisoner of war, her civilian status
denied her continued recognition as a Medal of Honor recipient.