Son Seeks First Medal of Congress, Lost by Father

The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport CT, 25 July 1924

Search for the first Congressional Medal of Honor, issued by the United States government during the Civil War to Oscar Edward Peck, for many years a resident of Bridgeport, has been started by S. Oscar Peck, of Australia, a son of the Civil War veteran, who offers a reward of $50 for information leading to the recovery of the missing memento.

Peck, a veteran of many campaigns, including the Japanese-Russian war, the Spanish American war, was granted the Victoria Cross by the British government, and is making an effort to located the medal granted his father in order that the collection may be handed down to his children.

In addition to the Congressional Medal of Honor, the senior Peck was granted a special medal from the State of Connecticut, the only one of its kind ever issued. At the time of the death of the veteran, this was also found to be missing. Both medals were last seen in 1905, when they adorned the jacket of Mr. Peck during the Memorial Day parade.

During the summer of 1905, the veteran was stricken with illness and taken to the Hartford hospital, later being removed to the Soldiers and Sailors Home at Norton. While an inmate of this institution, he died on October 9 1906.

At the time of his father's death, Mr. Peck was a resident of Australia and was prevented from returning to America. Since then he never gave up hope of returning to the city of his childhood, and succeeded in obtaining a year furlough from the British war department a few months ago. He immediately took passage for American with the intention of seeing that his parent had been provided with a suitable grave and with the hope of recovering the two medals of honor which had been treasured in the family for many years.

Inquiry at the Solders and Sailors Home at Norton brought forth the information that at the time the elder Peck was admitted to the institution the medals were not in his possession. Officials of the Hartford hospital were also unable to furnish any information regarding them.

This brought Peck to believe that the medals had been either lost or stolen and the officer of a reward might be the means of having them returned. Any person having knowledge of the medals, which bear an inscription of Mr. Peck's name on the back is requested to communicate with S. Oscar Peck, Stratfield Hotel, or Mrs. Duncan C. Carson, 216 Laurel Avenue.

Members of the Peck family have written pages of American history. Oscar Edward Peck and William C. Peck, brothers, both enlisted with the Union forces early in the Civil War, and were assigned to duty aboard frigates of the Navy.

The act for which Oscar Peck received the Congressional Medal occurred during the battle of New Orleans on April 24 1862. Serving as a powder monkey aboard the ship Varnua, he was required to climb into the hold of the vessel to get shells and powder for the guns. Entering the powder magazine on one trip, he spied a lighted fuse attached to large shell. Seizing the shell he plunged it into a pail of water, probably saving the ship from destruction. For his courage and devotion to duty, he was promoted to the office of master mate in addition to the award of the Congressional Medal.