Stephen Welch was born at Groton, New York, on June 13, 1824 and moved to Cattaraugus County with his family as a child. He enrolled at age 38 on August 11, 1862, at Allegany, to serve three years, and was mustered in as a Sergeant in Company C of the 154th New York. He was captured in action on May 2, 1863, at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, but was paroled and returned to his company. He was promoted to First Sergeant, mustered in as first lieutenant on June 9, 1864, and discharged on May 15, 1865. Welch was awarded the Medal of Honor for having “risked his life in rescuing a wounded comrade under fire of the enemy,” as described in the entry above for Charles W. McKay. McKay recalled the deed after Welch died in an article, “Act of Heroism,” published in the Ellicottville Post on July 4, 1906. After describing the 154th New York’s attack at Dug Gap on Rocky Face Ridge, McKay wrote, “We were driven back about 20 rods, when the lines were reformed. Steve Welch, then a sergeant, came to me and said: ‘Charlie, George Greek lies out there wounded, will you go out and help me bring him in?’ George Greek was a corporal of our Co., and one of the color guard. He was brought in wounded in both limbs, and Sergeant Welch was the man who saved him from capture. Bear in mind that Greek lay right under the point blank range of the enemy and those who went to his relief, simply exposed their lives to the enterprise.”
Welch died on March 30, 1906, and is buried in Allegany Cemetery. His Medal of Honor has been preserved by generations of his descendants.
Submitted by CAMP members.