This is an image of the painting by Keith Rocco of Henry doing his Medal of Honor deed. The original is at the village hall in Tinley Park, Illinois.
VFW Post 2791
17147 Oak Park Ave
Tinley Park, IL
3rd Monday in JAN, MAR, MAY, JUL, SEP and NOV.
Private Henry M Hardenbergh Camp No. 39,
Tinley Park, IL
Little is known of the young man from what is now Tinley Park who was a volunteer infantryman in the Civil War and earned his nation's highest award for valor: the Medal of Honor. According to the state muster records for the unit he was in, Company G of the 39th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Henry M. Hardenbergh was born in Noble County, Indiana. When the Civil War started, he was living in the tiny Cook County town of New Bremen which later became Tinley Park.
On August 16, 1864 the 39th Illinois took part in a 200 yard charge on enemy entrenchments. Despite heavy fire, the rebel fortifications were reached and overwhelmed. Hardenbergh, carrying his regiment's flag, was shot in his shoulder. Another member of his regiment picked up the flag and carried it on, but Hardenbergh kept going on to the enemy earthworks. There Hardenbergh had a hand-to-hand struggle with the color bearer of the 10th Alabama Infantry whom he left mortally wounded and whose flag he took, according to a written account by Captain Homer Plimpton of Company G. All this happened in the first minutes of what would ultimately come to be known as the Second Battle of Deep Bottom. The fight would last for three hours with the Confederates ultimately beating back the Federals.
Flag captures were considered a special high honor during the Civil War, Hardenbergh presented the rebel flag to his corps commander, Major General David Birney. His heroism resulted in a recommendation for a Medal of Honor. Hardenbergh's gallant conduct also earned him a recommendation for an officer's commission in a U.S. Colored Regiment. "He has been in my company over three years and I have always found him to be a faithful and brave soldier and one who could be trusted in any place and under all circumstances," wrote Lieutenant James M. Harrington of Company G.
But on August 28, before receiving his first lieutenant's commission in the 36th U.S. Colored Troops, Hardenbergh was killed while on picket duty. Hardenbergh's Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously on April 6, 1865.