Henry Warfel
Henry Clay Warfel

September 14, 1844June 17, 1923 (78 years old)
Hometown: Philipsburg, PA
September 14, 1844June 17, 1923
(78 years old) | Philipsburg, PA

Life Story

Henry Warfel was born Sept. 14, 1844 in Huntingdon County near the town of Mill Creek.  He spent his youth in Huntingdon County.  At the time of the Civil War he was working as an apprentice in a tinner’s shop.  Henry’s patriotic fervor was stirred. He enlisted the first time in August of 1862 in the infantry, Co. I, 125 PA. Vol. His enlistment was for 9 months.  The term of his first enlistment was spent mainly in Maryland, but he participated in the battle of Chancellorsville, and at the battle of Antietam, where his regiment was virtually annihilated.

At the expiration of his first enlistment, he reenlisted in Co. A, 1st PA Cav. And served with this group until the end of the war.  His Medal of Honor was awarded for his performance at the battle of Paine’s Cross Roads, VA.  This was part of battle of Amelia Springs that took place in Amelia County, Virginia on April 5 - 6, 1865, during the Appomattox Campaign. On April 5, 1865, three brigades of Major General Fitzhugh Lee’s Confederate cavalry counterattacked a brigade of Major General George Crook’s Union cavalry about three miles north of Amelia Springs. Additionally, the Battle of Sailor’s Creek occurred on April 6, 1865, near Farmville, Virginia, as part of the same campaign. It was the last major engagement between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, and the Union Army of the Potomac, under the overall direction of Union General-in-Chief Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. The Union forces exploited the rough terrain, causing a bottleneck at the bridges over Sailor’s Creek and Little Sailor’s Creek, leading to significant losses for the Confederates.  At this time Henry Warfel captured a Virginia Battle Flag. The colors are protected at all costs so it must have been an heroic effort.  He was in fact present at Appomattox at the time of Lee’s surrender and marched in the grand review in Washington DC.  He received the Medal of Honor at a special ceremony on May 3, 1865.

After receiving his discharge in May 1865, he returned to to his apprentice tinning work in Huntingdon Co.  After completing his apprenticeship, he traveled to Illinois to look for work.  Not finding any, he came to Philipsburg in 1869 where he established a business as a plumber and a tinner.  He married Sarah Ann DuBree (B. Feb. 4, 1852 Phila.-D. Jan.25, 1927) and with her sired three children, Emma D. (Womelsdorf), Juniata F. (1880-1889), Daniel D. (1890-1915). 

During his time in Philipsburg he served as Postmaster, Burgess, and Justice of the Peace.  He also was a noted personality and was personally visited by former Pres. William H. Harrison when he visited Philipsburg in 1887.  He also received a VIP invitation to the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. This occurred on November 11, 1921, exactly three years after the end of World War I, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia during an Armistice Day ceremony presided over by President Warren G. Harding. An unknown American soldier, who had fallen somewhere on a World War I battlefield, arrived in the nation’s capital from a military cemetery in France two days before the dedication. The soldier was buried with the highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As he was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932.

During his life in Philipsburg he served in many capacities including, councilmen, Burgess, Justice of the Peace, and was very active in the John W. Geary Post #90, Grand Army of the Republic.

He applied for a pension in 1877 but was rejected.  Eventually he did receive a pension including a $10 bonus for being a Medal of Honor recipient.  He passed away June 17, 1923 and is buried in the Philipsburg Cemetery,