previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 12 July

The Medal spread itself all over on this day.  The Civil War, the Indian Campaigns, the China Relief Expedition, World War II and Vietnam.

Civil War.  The first Medal is for the Battle of Peachtree Creek - which was fought on 20 July 1864, but the citation reads 12 July.  Digging around, I see that references citing this Medal prior to the official Senate book cite the 20 July battle, and not the 12th.  I suspect the date of the 12th for this citation is in error.  But I'm leaving it here, with this caveat, since I'm using the official US Army source at the Center for Military History, which itself publishes this caveat:

N.B.Some minor misspelling and other errors unfortunately, may be duplicated from the 1979 government publication. These were likely the result of the original transcriptions and reflect the nature of the published compilation. Other errors, however, may have crept into the citations during the course of digitizing the original report for website posting, every effort will be made to identify and correct those conversion errors.

The second Medal is for action at the Battle of Fort Stevens, part of Confederate General Jubal Early's raid on Washington as a part of the Second Valley Campaign.  DC itself was never seriously threatened, and the Battle of Fort Stevens is most notable for the fact that President Lincoln personally watched the battle.  From the Wikpedia entry on Fort Stevens:

President Lincoln, his wife Mary, and some officers rode out to observe the attack, and were briefly under enemy fire that wounded a Union surgeon standing next to him on the Fort Stevens parapet. Lincoln was brusquely ordered to take cover by an officer, probably Horatio Wright, although apocryphal stories claim that it was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge, former U.S. vice president and one of Lincoln's opponents in the presidential election of 1860, was one of the Confederate commanders; the Battle of Fort Stevens marks the only occasion in American history when two former opponents in a presidential election faced one another across battle lines and the only time in American history a sitting president was under fire in combat. Breckinridge was a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln's and a beau in her youth. (Stephen Douglas—another Lincoln opponent in the 1860 presidential election—was also a beau of Mary Todd.)



BALDWIN, FRANK D.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company D, 19th Michigan Infantry; First Lieutenant, 5th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 12 July 1864. Entered service at: Constantine, Mich. Birth: Michigan. Date of issue: 3 December 1891. Second award. Citation: Led his company in a countercharge at Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 12 July 1864, under a galling fire ahead of his own men, and singly entered the enemy's line, capturing and bringing back 2 commissioned officers, fully armed, besides a guidon of a Georgia regiment.

WRAY, WILLIAM J.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 1st Veteran Reserve Corps. Place and date: At Fort Stevens, D.C., 12 July 1864. Entered service at:------. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 15 December 1892. Citation: Rallied the company at a critical moment during a change of position under fire.

Indian Campaigns.  Kiowa Chief Kicking Bird kicks some Cavalry butt at the Battle of the Little Wichita River.


CONNOR, JOHN

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company H, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at:------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

ELDRIDGE, GEORGE H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Sacketts Harbor, N.Y. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

*GIVEN, JOHN J.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company K, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: Cincinnati, Ohio. Birth: Daviess County, Ky. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Bravery in action.

KERRIGAN, THOMAS

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company H, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at:------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

KIRK, JOHN

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: York, Pa. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

MAY, JOHN

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

NEAL, SOLON D.

Rank and organization: Private, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Hanover, N.H. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.


PORTER, SAMUEL

Rank and organization: Farrier, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Montgomery County, Md. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

SMITH, CHARLES E.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company H, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Auburn, N.Y. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

STOKES, ALONZO

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company H, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at:------. Birth: Logan County, Ohio. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

WATSON, JAMES C.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company I., 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at. ------. Birth: Cochecton, N.Y. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

WINDUS, CLARON A.

Rank and organization: Bugler, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Janesville, Wis. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.

WINTERBOTTOM, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 12 July 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: England. Date of issue: 25 August 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.
 


China Relief Expedition, the Battle of Peking.


MITCHELL, JOSEPH

Rank and organization: Gunner's Mate First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 27 November 1876, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 12 July 1900, Mitchell distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

STANLEY, ROBERT HENRY

Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice, U.S. Navy. Place and date: China, 13, 20, 21, and 22 June 1900. Entered service: Aboard U.S.S. Vermont. Born: 2 May 1881, Brooklyn N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy in volunteering and carrying messages under fire at Peking, China, 12 July 1900.
 

The Medal takes a few wars and campaigns off until 1944, in the Italian Campaign.


*HARMON, ROY W.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 362d Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Casaglia, Italy, 12 July 1944. Entered service at: Pixley, Calif. Birth: Talala, Okla. G.O. No.: 83, 2 October 1945. Citation: He was an acting squad leader when heavy machinegun fire from enemy positions, well dug in on commanding ground and camouflaged by haystacks, stopped his company's advance and pinned down 1 platoon where it was exposed to almost certain annihilation. Ordered to rescue the beleaguered platoon by neutralizing the German automatic fire, he led his squad forward along a draw to the right of the trapped unit against 3 key positions which poured murderous fire into his helpless comrades. When within range, his squad fired tracer bullets in an attempt to set fire to the 3 haystacks which were strung out in a loose line directly to the front, 75, 150, and 250 yards away. Realizing that this attack was ineffective, Sgt. Harmon ordered his squad to hold their position and voluntarily began a 1-man assault. Carrying white phosphorus grenades and a submachine gun, he skillfully took advantage of what little cover the terrain afforded and crept to within 25 yards of the first position. He set the haystack afire with a grenade, and when 2 of the enemy attempted to flee from the inferno, he killed them with his submachine gun. Crawling toward the second machinegun emplacement, he attracted fire and was wounded; but he continued to advance and destroyed the position with hand grenades, killing the occupants. He then attacked the third machinegun, running to a small knoll, then crawling over ground which offered no concealment or cover. About halfway to his objective, he was again wounded. But he struggled ahead until within 20 yards of the machinegun nest, where he raised himself to his knees to throw a grenade. He was knocked down by direct enemy fire. With a final, magnificent effort, he again arose, hurled the grenade and fell dead, riddled by bullets. His missile fired the third position, destroying it. Sgt. Harmon's extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and self-sacrifice saved a platoon from being wiped out, and made it possible for his company to advance against powerful enemy resistance.
 

Vietnam.


*REASONER, FRANK S.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: near Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 12 July 1965. Entered service at: Kellogg, Idaho. Born: 16 September 1937, Spokane, Wash. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. The reconnaissance patrol led by 1st Lt. Reasoner had deeply penetrated heavily controlled enemy territory when it came under extremely heavy fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet Cong insurgents. Accompanying the advance party and the point that consisted of 5 men, he immediately deployed his men for an assault after the Viet Cong had opened fire from numerous concealed positions. Boldly shouting encouragement, and virtually isolated from the main body, he organized a base of fire for an assault on the enemy positions. The slashing fury of the Viet Cong machinegun and automatic weapons fire made it impossible for the main body to move forward. Repeatedly exposing himself to the devastating attack he skillfully provided covering fire, killing at least 2 Viet Cong and effectively silencing an automatic weapons position in a valiant attempt to effect evacuation of a wounded man. As casualties began to mount his radio operator was wounded and 1st Lt. Reasoner immediately moved to his side and tended his wounds. When the radio operator was hit a second time while attempting to reach a covered position, 1st Lt. Reasoner courageously running to his aid through the grazing machinegun fire fell mortally wounded. His indomitable fighting spirit, valiant leadership and unflinching devotion to duty provided the inspiration that was to enable the patrol to complete its mission without further casualties. In the face of almost certain death he gallantly gave his life in the service of his country. His actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.