The Gaujot brothers, Antoine August Michel Gaujot and Julien E. Gaujot, are one of the five sets of brothers who have received the Medal of Honor and the only pair to have been so honored for actions in different wars. Both brothers graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The brothers lived in Williamson, West Virginia and Julien died in Williamson, West Virginia on April 7, 1938 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Antoine is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in West Williamson.
Julien Gaujot joined the Army in May 1898 as a Captain of volunteers. He was commissioned as a First Lieutenant of the 10th Cavalry Regiment (a Buffalo Soldier regiment) in February 1901.
Julien’s brother, Antoine Gaujot, received the Medal of Honor for actions on December 19, 1899 as a United States Army corporal at the Battle of Paye near Mateo during the Philippine–American War. Julien, a regular army officer, became obsessed with his brother’s achievement. Referring to Antoine, Julien said “He wears it for a watch fob, the damn civilian, I got to get me one of them things for myself if I bust.” Julien Gaujot received the medal for actions on the Mexican border on April 13, 1911. He is the only soldier ever awarded the Medal for actions of a peacekeeping nature.
In Douglas, Arizona, stray bullets from fighting among Mexican rebels and government troops caused American casualties. Infuriated, Julien mounted his beloved horse “Old Dick”, and rode across the border into the teeth of the battle. He moved between the two groups of belligerents for an hour under heavy fire, eventually securing the safe passage of the Mexican government soldiers and American prisoners over the border to the United States. His actions saved five Americans taken prisoner by the Mexicans, 25 Mexican government soldiers, an unrecorded number of Mexican rebels, and averted further danger to those on the U.S. side of the border.
General Leonard Wood later said in referring to the incident that Julien’s action warranted “either a court martial or a Medal of Honor.” That Medal was approved November 23, 1912 and awarded by President William Howard Taft at the White House the following month, in one of the earliest White House presentations of the Medal of Honor. Julien served in the United States Army from 1898 to 1934 and participated in five major engagements: the Spanish-American War, Philippine–American War, Cuban Pacification, Mexican Border, and World War I.
He retired from the Regular Army in 1934 with the rank of colonel.
Antoine Gaujot received the Medal of Honor for actions on December 19, 1899 as a United States Army corporal at the Battle of Paye near Mateo during the Philippine-American War. ” He made persistent effort under heavy enemy rifle fire to locate a ford in order to help his unit cross the swollen river to attack. Unable to accomplish this he swam with a companion again under fire and against a dangerous current across the river to the enemy side. There, he secured an enemy canoe and returned it to the friendly side of the river.”
Antoine’s medal was issued February 15, 1911 and sent to him by registered mail (a common procedure at that time). He was later commissioned in the National Guard and saw service during the Mexican Border Crisis and in France during World War I.
Tony was mustered out along with his brother and the rest of 2nd West Virginia Volunteers on April 10, 1899.
The National Guard Armory in Williamson was dedicated in honor of the Gaujot brothers. There is a plauque at that building in honor of the two Medal of Honor recipients.
(Information for this article came from Wikipedia)
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)