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State has thousands of unclaimed medals

May 22, 2013

CHARLESTON - The state of West Virginia has more than 3,500 unclaimed Civil War medals, according to Greg Carroll, historian for the state Division of Culture and History.

Medals include 75 for the black soldiers in the 45th U.S. Infantry.

"We are always looking to get the word out about them," Carroll said.

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In 1866, West Virginia issued about 26,0000 bronze Civil War medals for Union soldiers. The medals commissioned by Gov. Arthur Boreman were divided into three classes: Class I, for honorable discharges; Class II for killed in action; and Class III for liberty, awarded to soldiers who perished as a result of disease or wounds received in battle.

No medals were made for Confederate soldiers.

Carroll said the medals are worth from $400 to more than $1,000.

Individuals interested in researching a potential claim on a medal can go to the archives website ( medals.html) and view the list.

"They are in alphabetical order, very easy to look at," Carroll said. "If they had a member of the family on the Union side, they can look it up and see if they want to apply."

The application fee is $50, Carroll said.

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