previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 17 June

There are 19 Medals awarded on this day in history, all of them from the 19th century, starting with the Civil War through the Indian Campaigns.

First up - here's an interesting story in this citation from a battle at Aldie, Virginia, in 1863.  Colonel DiCesnola of the 4th New York was under arrest (which also means unarmed) when his unit was attacked.  He led his regiment anyway - under circumstances where he actually could have sat the fight out.  Turns out he was an interesting fellow, very much a product of his time.  Soldier,  founder of a military college, amateur archaeologist, director of an art museum...


DI CESNOLA, LOUIS P.

Rank and organization: Colonel, 4th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Aldie, Va., 17 June 1863. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 29 June 1832, Rivarola, Piedmont, Italy. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: Was present, in arrest, when, seeing his regiment fall back, he rallied his men, accompanied them, without arms, in a second charge, and in recognition of his gallantry was released from arrest. He continued in the action at the head of his regiment until he was desperately wounded and taken prisoner.
 

The next 13 Medals are from the Battle of Petersburg, four days of hard fighting 15-18 June 1864.  In my mind, for many years, the Civil War Medals of Honor were tied to capturing the enemy's colors.  June 17, 1864 might explain why I thought that way... since 7 of the 13 involve capturing or re-capturing unit colors.  One reason they are so common is that back in the Civil War a unit's colors were oft times bound up with the fate of the unit, in the minds of the soldiers.  Great was the shame to lose your colors, and great the glory of taking the enemy's - as the Colors were the focus and rallying point on the battlefield for the unit.  Selection to be the Color Bearer was considered a great honor (though I do wonder how many good troops to whom the offer was made found a way to honorably decline the honor to be the single greatest target at the front of the line).  The very prominence of the Color meant that actions concerning it were sure to be noticed.


BROSNAN, JOHN

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 164th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 18 January 1894. Citation: Rescued a wounded comrade who lay exposed to the enemy's fire, receiving a severe wound in the effort.

CHANDLER, HENRY F.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 59th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Andover, Mass. Date of issue: 30 March 1898. Citation: Though seriously wounded in a bayonet charge and directed to go to the rear he declined to do so, but remained with his regiment and helped to carry the breastworks.

DICKEY, WILLIAM D.

Rank and organization: Captain, Battery M, 15th New York Heavy Artillery. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Newburgh, N.Y. Born: 11 January 1845, Newburgh, N.Y. Date of issue: 10 June 1896. Citation: Refused to leave the field, remaining in command after being wounded by a piece of shell, and led his command in the assault on the enemy's works on the following day.

HARBOURNE, JOHN H.

Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 29th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Born: 9 September 1840, England. Date of issue: 24 February 1897. Citation: Capture of flag along with 3 enemy men.

MEYER, HENRY C.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company D, 24th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Birth: Hamburg, N.Y. Date of issue: 29 March 1899. Citation: During an assault and in the face of a heavy fire rendered heroic assistance to a wounded and helpless officer, thereby saving his life and in the performance of this gallant act sustained a severe wound.

MONAGHAN, PATRICK

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company F, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Minersville, Pa. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 1 December 1864. Citation: Recapture of colors of 7th New York Heavy Artillery.

MORRISON, FRANCIS

Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 85th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Bermuda Hundred, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Drakestown, Pa. Birth: Fayette County, Pa. Date of issue: 2 August 1897. Citation: Voluntarily exposed himself to a heavy fire to bring off a wounded comrade.

PLOWMAN, GEORGE H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 3d Maryland Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at:------. Birth: England. Date of issue: 1 December 1864. Citation: Recaptured the colors of the 2d Pennsylvania Provisional Artillery.

REID, ROBERT

Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Pottsville, Pa. Birth: Scotland. Date of issue: 1 December 1864. Citation: Capture of flag of 44th Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.).

ROWE, HENRY W.

Rank and organization: Private, Company I, 11th New Hampshire Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Candia, N.H. Born: April 1840, Candia, N.H. Date of issue: 1 December 1864. Citation: With 2 companions, he rushed and disarmed 27 enemy pickets, capturing a stand of flags.

STRAUSBAUGH, BERNARD A.

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company A, 3d Maryland Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Warfordsburg, Pa. Birth: Adams County, Pa. Date of issue: 1 December 1864. Citation: Recaptured the colors of 2d Pennsylvania Provisional Artillery.

WAGEMAN, JOHN H.

Rank and organization: Private, Company I, 60th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Amelia, Ohio. Birth: Clermont County, Ohio. Date of issue: 27 July 1896. Citation: Remained with the command after being severely wounded until he had fired all the cartridges in his possession, when he had to be carried from the field.

YOUNG, BENJAMIN F.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company I, 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Entered service at: Canada. Born: 1844, Canada. Date of issue: % December 1864. Citation: Capture of flag of 35th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.).
 


Indian Campaigns -

Battle of the Rosebud - forerunner to Little Big Horn.


McGANN, MICHAEL A.

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company F, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Rosebud River, Mont., 17 June 1876. Entered service at:------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 9 August 1880. Citation: Gallantry in action.

ROBINSON, JOSEPH

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company D, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Rosebud River, Mont., 17 June 1876. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 23 January 1880. Citation: Discharged his duties while in charge of the skirmish line under fire with judgment and great coolness and brought up the lead horses at a critical moment.

SHINGLE, JOHN H.

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Troop 1, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Rosebud River, Mont., 17 June 1876. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 1 June 1880. Citation: Gallantry in action.

SNOW, ELMER A.

Rank and organization: Trumpeter, Company M, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Rosebud Creek, Mont., 17 June 1876. Entered service at: ------. Birth. Hardwick, Mass. Date of issue: 16 October 1877. Citation. Bravery in action; was wounded in both arms.
 
And one at White Bird Canyon, Idaho, a year later.


PARNELL, WILLIAM R.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 1st U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At White Bird Canyon, Idaho, 17 June 1877. Entered service at: New York. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 16 September 1897. Citation: With a few men, in the face of a heavy fire from pursuing Indians and at imminent peril, returned and rescued a soldier whose horse had been killed and who had been left behind in the retreat.
Interestingly enough - the 20th Century took a break from 17 June.