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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 11 June

This is a very busy day for the Medal.  21 awards, most from the era before WWI, when the criteria for award was a lot looser and less consistent.

First up - the Civil War

Today's Medals will attract the attention of regular reader JTG, as they start with the Battle of Trevilian Station, the largest all-cavalry fight of the Civil War, and JTG has a connection to one of the Confederates who fought there.

General Wade Hampton, awakened the morning of the battle by the blare of Union bugles, noted when asked by his aides his intentions: "I propose to fight!"

Heh. The fighting at Trevilian Station proper occurred because Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee lost contact with Union Brevet Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer.  This fight would find Custer between a rock and a hard place, which becomes something of a bad habit for him.

Having followed his impulsive penchant to attack at all costs (not to mention scoring the Confederate supply wagons at the station, an easy target), he ended up breaking his force from contact with General Phil Sheridan's main body. Custer found his famous luck had almost run out as he was attacked from both left and right flanks at the station. Custer turned about and headed along the Gordonsville Road, taking his captured supply wagons with him, despite the fact they slowed him down dramatically. Due to his haste in his attack (insufficient reconaissance) and the disorganization caused by all the rapid manuevering in the woods he failed to note the Confederate artillery battery on a hill to his north, which opened fire as soon as Custer was in range, blasting his lead elements to shreds.

Custer was now surrounded. His forces arrayed in an ever-shrinking circle, as he was pressured on all sides. Sheridan at this point heard the firing from Custer's direction and deduced his impetuous Boy General was in trouble. Sheridan charged his two brigades down Trevilian Road, crashing into Hampton's smaller forces, pushing them back all the way to the station, and along with another Brigade pressuring Fitzhugh Lee, Sheridan was able to split the Confederate forces and relieve Custer.

12 years later, when in similar straits for similar reasons at the Little Big Horn, Reno and Benteen would not be able to come to Custer's relief. Of course, at Little Big Horn, Custer initially thought he was in the role of Sheridan, not realizing he was reprising his role at Trevilian Station, this time without a Little Phil to come rescue him.

On to the Medals!

Gunners! Make sure of your target!


FARNSWORTH, HERBERT E.

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 10th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Trevilian Station, Va., 11 June 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Cattaraugus County, N.Y. Date of issue: 1 April 1898. Citation: Voluntarily carried a message which stopped the firing of a Union battery into his regiment, in which service he crossed a ridge in plain view and swept by the fire of both armies.
Captain Farnsworth, aptly for a war hero, died on July 4, 1908, and is buried in Pomeroy, Washington.

Click here for more on Captain Farnsworth.

Gunner! Stand to your piece!


KENNEDY, JOHN

Rank and organization: Private, Company M, 2d U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Trevilian Station, Va., 11 June 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 19 August 1892. Citation: Remained at his gun, resisting with its implements the advancing cavalry, and thus secured the retreat of his detachment.

Click here for more on Private Kennedy's fight.

PRESTON, NOBLE D.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant and Commissary, 10th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Trevilian Station, Va., 11 June 1864. Entered service at: Fulton, N.Y. Birth: ------. Date of issue: 22 November 1889. Citation: Voluntarily led a charge in which he was severely wounded.

Click here for more on Lieutenant Preston, the "Fighting Commissary!"


RODENBOUGH, THEOPHILUS F.

Rank and organization: Captain, 2d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Trevlhan Station, Va., 11 June 1864. Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Born: 5 November 1838, Easton, Pa. Date of issue: 21 September 1893. Citation: Handled the regiment with great skill and valor, was severely wounded.
 
Click here for more on Captain Rodenbough.

1871 Korean Campaign

We're back to the fighting in Korea most of you don't know about.  One of the things about the Medal of Honor is that prior to WWI it was rarely awarded to people who died doing great deeds.  They got monuments and statues, the idea of awarding medals posthumously is a later development.  One of the things that struck me about the Medals awarded for the 1871 Korean Campaign was how many of them were tied to people who were involved with Lieutenant McKee.  So I dug around a bit - and here is the story of Lieutenant McKee.  In a different era, it would have been McKee who got the Medal.  
 
BROWN, CHARLES

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: New York, N.Y. Enlisted at: Hongkong, China. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado in action against a Korean fort on 11 June 1871. Assisted in capturing the Korean standard in the center of the citadel of the fort.

COLEMAN, JOHN

Rank and organization. Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 9 October 1847, Ireland. Accredited to: California. G.O. No. 169, 8 February 1872. Citation. On board the U.S.S. Colorado in action at Korea on 11 June 1871. Fighting hand-to-hand with the enemy, Coleman succeeded in saving the life of Alexander McKenzie.

DOUGHERTY, JAMES

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born. 16 November 1839, Langhash, Ireland. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Carondelet in various actions of that vessel. Wounded several times, Dougherty invariably returned to duty, presenting an example of constancy and devotion to the flag.

FRANKLIN, FREDERICK

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1840, Portsmouth, N.H. Accredited to. New Hampshire. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citatian: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the attack and capture of the Korean forts on 11 June 1871. Assuming command of Company D, after Lt. McKee was wounded, Franklin handled the company with great credit until relieved.

GRACE, PATRICK H.

Rank and organizatian: Chief Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835. Ireland. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No. 177, 4 December 1915. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Benicia during the attack on the Korean forts, 10 and 11 June 1871. Carrying out his duties with coolness, Grace set forth gallant and meritorious conduct throughout this action.

HAYDEN, CYRUS
Rank and organization: Carpenter, U.S. Navy. Born: 1843, York, Maine. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the attack and capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Serving as color bearer of the battalion, Hayden planted his flag on the ramparts of the citadel and protected it under a heavy fire from the enemy.

McKENZlE, ALEXANDER
Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837, Scotland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting at the side of Lt. McKee during this action, McKenzie was struck by a sword and received a severe cut in the head from the blow.

McNAMARA, MICHAEL
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1841, Clure, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Benicia during the capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Advancing to the parapet, McNamara wrenched the match-lock from the hands of an enemy and killed him.

A matchlock?!?  That's a very antique style weapon for the era - but not unusual for places that were out of the mainstream of world commerce.


OWENS, MICHAEL

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 6 February 1853, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the capture of Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting courageously in hand-tohand combat, Owens was badly wounded by the enemy during this action.

PURVIS, HUGH

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 5 March 1846, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Alaska during the attack on and capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Braving the enemy fire, Purvis was the first to scale the walls of the fort and capture the flag of the Korean forces.

ROGERS, SAMUEL F.

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1845, Buffalo, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the attack and capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting courageously at the side of Lt. McKee during this action, Rogers was wounded by the enemy.

TROY, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1848, Boston, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting at the side of Lt. McKee, by whom he was especially commended, Troy was badly wounded by the enemy.

Phillipine Insurrection.


MOSHER, LOUIS C.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Philippine Scouts. Place and date: At Gagsak Mountain, Jolo, Philippine Islands, 11 June 1913. Entered service at: Brockton, Mass. Birth: Westport, Mass. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: Voluntarily entered a cleared space within about 20 yards of the Moro trenches under a furious fire from them and carried a wounded soldier of his company to safety at the risk of his own life.

First World War

PETTY, ORLANDO HENDERSON

Rank and organization: Lieutenant (Medical Corps), USNRF. Born: 20 February 1874, Harrison, Ohio. Appointed from: Pennsylvania. Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in France during the attack in the Boise de Belleau, 11 June 1918. While under heavy fire of high explosive and gas shells in the town of Lucy, where his dressing station was located, Lt. Petty attended to and evacuated the wounded under most trying conditions. Having been knocked to the ground by an exploding gas shell which tore his mask, Lt. Petty discarded the mask and courageously continued his work. His dressing station being hit and demolished, he personally helped carry Capt. Williams, wounded, through the shellfire to a place of safety.

Interwar period:


HUBER, WILLIAM RUSSEL

Rank and organization: Machinist's Mate, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Aboard the U.S.S. Bruce at the Naval Shipyard, Norfolk, Va., 11 June 1928. Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Birth: Harrisburg, Pa. Citation: For display of extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession on 11 June 1928, after a boiler accident on the U.S.S. Bruce, then at the Naval Shipyard, Norfolk, Va. Immediately on becoming aware of the accident, Huber without hesitation and in complete disregard of his own safety, entered the steam-filled fireroom and at grave risk to his life succeeded by almost superhuman efforts in carrying Charles H. Byran to safety. Although having received severe and dangerous burns about the arms and neck, he descended with a view toward rendering further assistance. The great courage, grit, and determination displayed by Huber on this occasion characterized conduct far above and beyond the call of duty.
Back to Normandy.  V Corps and VII Corps have finally linked up, making the US lodgements at Utah and Omaha contiguous.  The fight is shifting to expand the lodgement and break out into the Contentin Peninsula and getting joined up with the Brits and Canadians, so as to present a contiguous front to the Germans.


*COLE, ROBERT G.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division. Place and date: Near Carentan, France, 11 June 1944. Entered service at: San Antonio, Tex. Birth: Fort Sam Houston, Tex. G.O. No.: 79, 4 October 1944. Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty on 11 June 1944, in France. Lt. Col. Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last 4 bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well-prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over 1 hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, Lt. Col. Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he rose to his feet in front of his battalion and with drawn pistol shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching up a fallen man's rifle and bayonet, he charged on and led the remnants of his battalion across the bullet-swept open ground and into the enemy position. His heroic and valiant action in so inspiring his men resulted in the complete establishment of our bridgehead across the Douve River. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and outstanding leadership displayed by Lt. Col. Cole reflect great credit upon himself and are worthy of the highest praise in the military service.
 

Korea.  Ola Mize is something of a legend - born to sharecroppers and a high school dropout, he  forged ahead to eventually don a Green Beanie and retired a Colonel in 1981.  I'm not alone in my admiration for the man.  Colonel Mize was one of the first things Matt of Blackfive blogged about - and gave Matt good advice: "Someday, Matt, you will have the honor of being led around by a lieutenant. When that day comes, don't be a jackass."

Good advice to any officer.


MIZE, OLA L.

Rank and organization: Master Sergeant (then Sgt.), U.S. Army, Company K, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Surang-ni, Korea, 10 to 11 June 1953. Entered service at: Gadsden, Ala. Born: 28 August 1931, Marshall County, Ala. G.O. No.: 70, 24 September 1954. Citation: M/Sgt. Mize, a member of Company K, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Company K was committed to the defense of "Outpost Harry", a strategically valuable position, when the enemy launched a heavy attack. Learning that a comrade on a friendly listening post had been wounded he moved through the intense barrage, accompanied by a medical aid man, and rescued the wounded soldier. On returning to the main position he established an effective defense system and inflicted heavy casualties against attacks from determined enemy assault forces which had penetrated into trenches within the outpost area. During his fearless actions he was blown down by artillery and grenade blasts 3 times but each time he dauntlessly returned to his position, tenaciously fighting and successfully repelling hostile attacks. When enemy onslaughts ceased he took his few men and moved from bunker to bunker, firing through apertures and throwing grenades at the foe, neutralizing their positions. When an enemy soldier stepped out behind a comrade, prepared to fire, M/Sgt. Mize killed him, saving the life of his fellow soldier. After rejoining the platoon, moving from man to man, distributing ammunition, and shouting words of encouragement he observed a friendly machine gun position overrun. He immediately fought his way to the position, killing 10 of the enemy and dispersing the remainder. Fighting back to the command post, and finding several friendly wounded there, he took a position to protect them. Later, securing a radio, he directed friendly artillery fire upon the attacking enemy's routes of approach. At dawn he helped regroup for a counterattack which successfully drove the enemy from the outpost. M/Sgt. Mize's valorous conduct and unflinching courage reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service
*Indicates a posthumous award.