In July 1862 Congress authorized the president to present medals to soldiers of the United States Army for gallant and meritorious service. On September 14, 1862, two soldiers so distinguished themselves during the fighting at Crampton's Gap that they would later be awarded this "Congressional Medal of Honor."
The 4th Vermont pursued Munford's retreating Virginians from the stone wall near the foot of South Mountain to an unused wagon track on the eastern slope of the mountain. Once there, First Lieutenant George W. Hooker led four companies south to silence the Confederate guns still firing from Brownsville Pass. Hooker, riding ahead of his men, came upon a gathering of Confederate soldiers. Acting alone, he confronted 116 men of the 16th Virginia. He told the Confederates that a large force was near and convinced them to surrender. Hooker received the Medal of Honor in 1891.
To the north, at Whipp's Ravine, Privates James Allen and James Richards, 16th New York, became separated from their unit. As they neared the foot of the mountain, a bullet struck Richards' left leg. Allen found a comfortable spot for Richards and followed the retreating Confederates.
"By this time...the only thing for me to do was climb also. As I drew myself up, I was met by another volley, but was only slightly wounded. Putting on a bold face, and waving my arms, I said to my imaginary company, ?Up men, up!' The Rebels [of the 16th Georgia] thinking they were cornered, stacked their arms.... I made haste to get between them and the guns and found I had fourteen prisoners and a flag from the color guard."
Allen became a corporal that day and received the Medal of Honor in 1890.
Presented to the people of the United States in memory of Captain James Colwell by his Colwell descendants.