Luncheon to honor memory of Harford's only Medal of Honor recipient set for Saturday, Nov. 5 in Bel Air

Harford County residents and veterans will pay honor to the memory of Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton, the only Medal of Honor recipient born in the county, during a luncheon in Bel Air on Saturday, Nov. 5, where there also will be discussion about building a permanent monument.

Open to the public, the luncheon will be held at Ames United Methodist Church, 112 Baltimore Pike, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tickets are a $25 donation and can be purchased by calling Godfrey or Sue Clayton at 410-734-7755. The luncheon is sponsored by American Legion Bel Air Post 55.

Sgt. Hilton, a soldier for the Union Army, was awarded the nation's highest military honor for his bravery in action during the Civil War. He was born near Gravel Hill in the eastern part of Harford County in 1842.

Sgt. Hilton was wounded in the battle of Chaffin's Farm outside of Richmond, Va., on Sept. 29, 1864, during the Union Army's months long effort to capture the Confederate Capital. He died in an Army hospital in Virginia on Oct. 21, 1864 and was awarded the Medal of Honor the following April for bravery, while charging with the American flag and his 4th Regiment colors under heavy enemy fire.

An effort is under way in Harford County to honor Sgt. Hilton with a permanent monument, as other communities have honored their Medal of Honor recipients. A small county park near Sgt. Hilton's birthplace was renamed in his memory a few years ago.

In addition to honoring Harford's highest decorated veteran, the luncheon will initiate a dialogue within the county on how it should appropriately honor and remembered its local hero, according to the luncheon's organizers.

The keynote speaker for Saturday's luncheon will be Major General Bruce T. Crawford, commanding general, CECOM, Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Local historian and Hilton biographer, Jim Chrismer of the Historical Society of Harford County, will present a historic perspective during the event.

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