We Defended This Country

CIVIL WAR MEDALERS

Anderson, Bruce

Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 142d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Fisher, N.C., 15 January 1865. Entered service at: Ephratah, N.Y. Born: Mexico, Oswego County, N.Y., 9 June 1845. Date of issue: 28 December 1914. Citation: Voluntarily advanced with the head of the column and cut down the palisading.

 

Barnes, William

Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: St. Marys County, Md. Date of issue 6 April 1865. Citation: Among the first to enter the enemy’s works; although wounded.

 

Baety, Powhatan

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company G, 5th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Delaware County, Ohio. Birth: Richmond, Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.

 

Blake, Robert

Rank and organization: Contraband, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Virginia. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Accredited to: Virginia. Citation: On board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, in an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Serving the rifle gun, Blake, an escaped slave, carried out his duties bravely throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy’s abandonment of positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.

 

Bronson, James H.

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company D, 5th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Delaware County, Ohio. Birth: Indiana County, Pa. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.

 

Brown, William H.

Rank and organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1836, Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Brooklyn during successful attacks against Fort Morgan rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Stationed in the immediate vicinity of the shell whips which were twice cleared of men by bursting shells, Brown remained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.

 

Brown, Wilson

Rank and organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1841, Natchez, Miss. Accredited to: Mississippi. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Knocked unconscious into the hold of the ship when an enemy shellburst fatally wounded a man on the ladder above him, Brown, upon regaining consciousness, promptly returned to the shell whip on the berth deck and zealously continued to perform his duties although 4 of the 6 men at this station had been either killed or wounded by the enemy’s terrific fire.

 

Carney, William Harvey

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Wagner, S.C., 18 July 1863. Entered service at: New Bedford, Mass. Birth: Norfolk, Va. Date of issue: 23 May 1900. Citation: When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.

 

Dorsey, Decatur

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 39th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 30 July 1864. Entered service at: Baltimore County, Md. Birth: Howard County, Md. Date of issue: 8 November 1865. Citation: Planted his colors on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men.

 

Fleetwood, Christian A.

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 4th U.S. Colored Troops, Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: Baltimore, Md. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Seized the colors, after 2 color bearers had been shot down, and bore them nobly through the fight.

 

Gardiner, James

Rank and organization: Private, Company I, 36th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: Gloucester, Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Rushed in advance of his brigade, shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet.

 

Harris, James H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At New Market Heights, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: St. Marys County, Md. Date of issue: 18 February 1874. Citation: Gallantry in the assault.

 

Hawkins, Thomas R.

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio. Date of issue: 8 February 1870. Citation: Rescue of regimental colors.

 

Hilton, Alfred B.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company H, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date. At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: Harford County, Md. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: When the regimental color bearer fell, this soldier seized the color and carried it forward, together with the national standard, until disabled at the enemy’s inner line.

 

Holland, Milton Murry

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 5th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Athens, Ohio. Born: 1844, Austin, Tex. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Took command of Company C, after all the officers had been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.

 

James, Miles

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company B, 36th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 30 September 1864. Entered service at: Norfolk, Va. Birth: Princess Anne County, Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Having had his arm mutilated, making immediate amputation necessary, he loaded and discharged his piece with one hand and urged his men forward; this within 30 yards of the enemy’s works.

 

Kelly, Alexander

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company F, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth. Pennsylvania. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Gallantly seized the colors, which had fallen near the enemy’s lines of abatis, raised them and rallied the men at a time of confusion and in a place of the greatest danger.

 

Lawson, John

Rank and organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837, Pennsylvania. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Wounded in the leg and thrown violently against the side of the ship when an enemy shell killed or wounded the 6-man crew as the shell whipped on the berth deck, Lawson, upon regaining his composure, promptly returned to his station and, although urged to go below for treatment, steadfastly continued his duties throughout the remainder of the action.

 

Mifflin, James

Rank and organization: Engineer’s Cook, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839, Richmond, Va. Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Brooklyn during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay, on 5 August 1864. Stationed in the immediate vicinity of the shell whips which were twice cleared of men by bursting shells, Mifflin remained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.

 

Please, Joachim

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: Long Island, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as loader on the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Pease exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by the divisional officer for gallantry under fire.

 

Pinn, Robet

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company I, 5th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Massillon, Ohio. Born: 1 March 1843, Stark County, Ohio. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Took command of his company after all the officers had been killed or wounded and gallantly led it in battle.

 

Ratcliff, Edward

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company C, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: James County, Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation. Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy’s works.

 

Veal, Charles

Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Portsmouth, Va. Birth: Portsmouth Va. Date of issue: 6 April 1865. Citation: Seized the national colors after 2 color bearers had been shot down close to the enemy’s works, and bore them through the remainder of the battle.

Spanish American War 1898

Baker, Edward L., Jr. Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Santiago, Cuba, 1 July 1898. Birth: Laramie County, Wyo. Date of issue: 3 July 1902. Citation: Left cover and, under fire, rescued a wounded comrade from drowning.

Bell, Dennis Rank and organization: Private, Troop H, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered service at: Washington, D.C. Birth: Washington, D.C. Date of issue: 23 June 1899. Citation: Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

Lee, Fitz Rank and organization: Private, Troop M, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered service at: Dinwiddie County, Va. Birth: Dinwiddie County, Va. Date of issue: 23 June 1899. Citation: Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts had been frustrated.

World War I-

Freddie Stowers gave all to America. Displaying great courage and intrepidity, Corporal Stowers continued to press the attack against a determined enemy. While crawling forward and urging his men to continue the attack on a second trench line, he was gravely wounded by machine gun fire. Although, Corporal Stowers was mortally wounded, he pressed forward, urging on the members of his squad, until he died. Inspired by the heroism and display of bravery of Corporal Stowers, his company continued the attack against incredible odds, contributing to the capture of Hill 188 and causing heavy enemy casualties.

 

Penn, Robert Rank and organization: Fireman First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 10 October 1872, City Point, Va. Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 501, 14 December 1898. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de Cuba, 20 July 1898. Performing his duty at the risk of serious scalding at the time of the blowing out of the manhole gasket on board the vessel, Penn haulted the fire while standing on a board thrown across a coal bucket 1 foot above the boiling water which was still blowing from the boiler.

 

Thompkins, WIlliam H.Rank and organization: Private, Troop G, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered service at: Paterson, N.J. Birth: Paterson, N.J. Date of issue: 23 June 1899. Citation. Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

 

Wanton, George (First black man to receive Medal of Honor )Rank and organization: Private, Troop M, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered service at: Paterson, N.J. Birth: Paterson, N.J. Date of issue: 23 June 1899. Citation: Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

The Tuskegee Airmen aka Red Tails

Like so many others in the late 1930s, the young black Americans who would become known as the Tuskegee Airmen were full of patriotic zeal and eager to serve in the military as the war in Europe and Asia intensified.  What set them apart was that they wanted to fight the enemy from the air as pilots, something that black people had never been allowed to do before. Many applied to U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) flight training program, but all were initially rejected because of the color of their skin – all branches of the U.S. military were deeply segregated.

The Tuskegee Airmen destroyed enemy aircraft, radar installations, and the belief that a man can be judged by the color of his skin.  The desegregation of the entire U.S. military in 1948 was a result of how bravely black men served in the air and on the ground during WWII.

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