By Brad Gottfried
Born on February 20, 1840, in Chatham Ohio, Leonidas H. Inscho enlisted in Company E, 12th Ohio Infantry on June 16, 1861. He had risen to the rank of corporal by the time his regiment, part of Col. Eliakim Scammon’s brigade (Kanawha Division, IX Corps), marched to Fox’s Gap on the morning of September 14, 1862.
Inscho’s citation reads: “Alone and unaided and with his left hand disabled, captured a Confederate captain and four men.”
Inscho’s deeds are best described in his own words:
“. . . our regiment, with others, charged the Confederates, who were posted behind a stone wall on the side of the mountain. As we approached the enemy, a rifle-ball struck my gun, wounding my left hand. While stopped to examine my piece and my hand, the regiments made a flank movement to the left, leaving me alone near the wall. A Confederate captain was on the other side, and as he came near me, I caught him by the collar and told him to surrender. He refused, and pointed his revolver at my head, but I caught it by the barrel and turned it up just as he fired. I clung to the revolver and disarmed him, and grabbing him by the shoulders began to pull him over the wall. He struggled vigorously and struck me in the face several times, but I got him over the wall and knocked him down compelling him to surrender.
“I then turned my attention to some of his men, who were taking refuge behind a clump of trees. I pointed my revolver at them and demanded their surrender. Four of them dropped their guns and came over to the Union side of the wall, but a fifth man came up to me with his gun in his hand and swore he would not give up to a Yankee. He took aim at me as he spoke, and I dropped behind the wall just as he fired. He turned to run away and I at once rose from my position and emptied the contents of my revolver into him. I then ordered the captain and his four men to fall in, and marched them over to the colonel of my regiment [Carr B. White].”
Inscho’s 12th Ohio was up against the 23rd North Carolina of Brig. Gen. Samuel Garland’s brigade (Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill’s division) and the regiment did shift to the right to attack Confederates near the Wise house, as Inscho described.
Inscho would fight with his regiment until it was mustered out during the summer of 1864. He subsequently re-enlisted in the 23rd Ohio and rose to the rank of lieutenant. Inscho was wounded again at the battle of Third Winchester on September 19, 1864. A comrade noted how he, “never was sick a day during his whole term of service, and never missed a roll call, drill or guard duty.”
After mustering out of service on August 7, 1865, Inscho returned home to Ohio, married in 1870 and opened a grocery store. He would not receive his medal until January 31, 1894. He died on November 12, 1907.
Inscho slipped into obscurity until a local historian learned of his exploits. The mayor of Newark, Ohio subsequently proclaimed November 12, 1988 as “Leonidas H. Inscho Day” that included placing a bronze marker at his grave site.