WILSON BROWN (1841 – 1900)
Wilson Brown was born August 1841, a slave in Natchez, Mississippi. Wilson Brown grew up in the traditional slave role on a southern plantation. In March of 1863 at the age of twenty-one, Brown escaped his life of bondage and enlisted in the Navy on the Mississippi River. He was trained and assigned to the duty of shell-boy aboard the flagship, USS Hartford, under the command of Admiral D. G. Farragut.
It was at the Battle of Mobile Bay that Brown proved to be a strong and gallant individual. On 5 August 1864, Adm. Farragut forced his wooden sloops, led by four monitors, through a narrow channel defended by mines and powerful gunfire from Fort Morgan. During the fierce fight, Brown performed beyond the call of duty. Because of the victory of the Hartford at Mobile Bay, the Confederate blockade running in the Gulf of Mexico ended. General Order No. 45 of 31 December 1864 authorized the Congressional Medal of Honor to Wilson Brown.
Brown remained in the Navy and served aboard the USS Washington until 19 May. 1865, when he was discharged because of disability. After the Civil War and his discharge, Brown returned to Natchez, Mississippi, where he met and married Lizzie Walker. Lizzie and Wilson did not have any children of their own but they did help raise a Godchild, Rev. Benjamin Smith and two other children, Cynthia Brown Lewis and Bud Brown. On 26 September 1881, Lizzie and Wilson Brown purchased a tract of land on Cemetery Road where they built a home and small store. Brown was one of the founders and a deacon of Clermont Baptist Church on Cemetery Road.
Brown lived a quiet life in Natchez, his peers unaware of his participation or honor in the Civil War. Brown died 24 January 1900, and was interred in the National Cemetery of Natchez. It wasn't until December 1956 that he was recognized as a Medal of Honor recipient. Eighty-two years after his death, the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor was presented.