This is a complete list of Medal of Honor recipients for the Battle of the Crater.
Medal of Honor[edit | edit source]
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government and is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "…conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States…" Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.
21 men would receive the Medal of Honor for their actions in this battle.
Battle of the Crater[edit | edit source]
The Battle of the Crater was fought on July 30, 1864 during the American Civil War as part of the Siege of Petersburg. After weeks of preparation, on July 30 the Federals exploded a mine in Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps sector, blowing a gap in the Confederate defenses of Petersburg, Virginia and creating a huge crater. Everything deteriorated rapidly for the Union attackers from that point on. Unit after unit charged into and around the crater, where soldiers milled in confusion. Grant considered the assault "the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war." The Confederates quickly recovered and launched several counterattacks led by Brig. Gen. William Mahone. The breach was sealed off, and the Federals were repulsed with severe casualties including Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's division of black soldiers that was badly mauled in the fighting. This may have been Grant's best chance to end the Siege of Petersburg. Instead, the soldiers settled in for another eight months of trench warfare. Burnside was relieved of command for the last time for his role in the debacle, and he was never again returned to command.
|Name||Service||Rank||Date of action||Notes[n 1]|
|Isaac S. Catlin||Army||Colonel||Jul 30, 1864||In a heroic effort to rally the disorganized troops was disabled by a severe wound. While being carried from the field he recovered somewhat and bravely started to return to his command, when he received a second wound, which necessitated amputation of his right leg.|
|Abraham Cohn||Army||Sergeant Major||Jul 30, 1864||During Battle of the Wilderness rallied and formed, under heavy fire, disorganized and fleeing troops of different regiments. At Petersburg, Virginia, 30 July 1864, bravely and coolly carried orders to the advanced line under severe fire. Also for actions during the Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia May 6, 1864|
|Andrew Davidson||Army||First Lieutenant||Jul 30, 1864||One of the first to enter the enemy's works, where, after his colonel, major, and one-third the company officers had fallen, he gallantly assisted in rallying and saving the remnant of the command.|
|Charles H. De Puy||Army||First Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Being an old artillerist, aided General Bartlett in working the guns of the dismantled fort.|
|Robert F. Dodd||Army||Private||Jul 30, 1864||While acting as orderly, voluntarily assisted to carry off the wounded from the ground in front of the crater while exposed to a heavy fire.|
|Decatur Dorsey||Army||Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||For carrying the regimental colors while under fire.|
|Nathaniel Gwynne||Army||Private||Jul 30, 1864||When about entering upon the charge, this soldier, then but 15 years old, was cautioned not to go in, as he had not been mustered. He indignantly protested and participated in the charge, his left arm being crushed by a shell and amputated soon afterward.|
|James Hill||Army||Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Capture of flag, shooting a Confederate officer who was rallying his men with the colors in his hand.|
|Franklin Hogan||Army||Corporal||Jul 30, 1864||Capture of flag of 6th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).|
|Conrad Homan||Army||Color Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Fought his way through the enemy's lines with the regimental colors, the rest of the color guard being killed or captured.|
|Charles H. Houghton||Army||Captain||Jul 30, 1864||In the Union assault at the Crater (30 July 1864), and in the Confederate assault repelled at Fort Haskell, displayed most conspicuous gallantry and repeatedly exposed himself voluntarily to great danger, was 3 times wounded, and suffered loss of a leg. Also for the Battle of Fort Stedman Mar 25, 1865.|
|Walter Jamieson||Army||First Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Voluntarily went between the lines under a heavy fire at Petersburg, Virginia, to the assistance of a wounded and helpless officer, whom he carried within the Union lines. At Fort Harrison, Virginia, seized the regimental color, the color bearer and guard having been shot down, and, rushing forward, planted it upon the fort in full view of the entire brigade. Also for actions at Fort Harrison, Battle of Chaffin's Farm Sep 29, 1864.|
|William H. Mathews||Army||First Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Enlisted under the name Henry Sivel, and original Medal of Honor issued under that name. A new medal was issued in 1900 under true name.|
|Benjamin F. McAlwee||Army||Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Picked up a shell with burning fuse and threw it over the parapet into the ditch, where it exploded; by this act he probably saved the lives of comrades at the great peril of his own.|
|George Schneider||Army||Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||After the color sergeant had been shot down, seized the colors and planted them on the enemy's works during the charge.|
|Charles J. Simons||Army||Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Was one of the first in the exploded mine, captured a number of prisoners. and was himself captured, but escaped.|
|Harlan J. Swift||Army||Second Lieutenant||Jul 30, 1864||Having advanced with his regiment and captured the enemy's line, saw 4 of the enemy retiring toward their second line of works. He advanced upon them alone, compelled their surrender and regained his regiment with the 4 prisoners.|
|Charles M. Thatcher||Army||Private||Jul 30, 1864||Instead of retreating or surrendering when the works were captured, regardless of his personal safety continued to return the enemy's fire until he was captured.|
|James Welsh||Army||Private||Jul 30, 1864||Bore off the regimental colors after the color sergeant had been wounded and the color corporal bearing the colors killed thereby saving the colors from capture.|
|Leander A. Wilkins||Army||Sergeant||Jul 30, 1864||Recaptured the colors of 21st Massachusetts Infantry in a hand-to-hand encounter.|
|Albert D. Wright||Army||Captain||Jul 30, 1864||Advanced beyond the enemy's lines, capturing a stand of colors and its color guard; was severely wounded.|
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Many of the awards during the Civil War were for capturing or saving regimental flags. During the Civil War, regimental flags served as the rallying point for the unit, and guided the unit's movements. Loss of the flag could greatly disrupt a unit, and could have a greater effect than the death of the commanding officer.
References[edit | edit source]
- "A Brief History — The Medal of Honor". United States Department of Defense. http://archive.defense.gov/faq/pis/med_of_honor.aspx.
- John F. Schmutz (2009). The Battle of the Crater: A Complete History. McFarland. p. 319. ISBN 0786453672.
- "The Crater". National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/pete/learn/historyculture/the-crater.htm.
- "Medal of Honor recipients". Civil War (A-L) Medal of Honor Recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. July 29, 2013. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/civwaral.html. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Medal of Honor recipients". Civil War (M-Z) Medal of Honor Recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. June 27, 2011. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/civwarmz.html. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Bonekemper, Edward H., III. A Victor, Not a Butcher: Ulysses S. Grant's Overlooked Military Genius. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2004. ISBN 0-89526-062-X.
- Kennedy, Frances H., ed. The Civil War Battlefield Guide. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998. ISBN 0-395-74012-6.
- Salmon, John S. The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8117-2868-4.
- Schmultz, John F., The Battle of the Crater: A Complete History. McFarland, 2009. ISBN 0-786-45367-2
- Trudeau, Noah Andre. The Last Citadel: Petersburg, Virginia, June 1864 – April 1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8071-1861-3.
[edit | edit source]
- "Medal of Honor recipients". Listing of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who received the Medal of Honor during World War II. United States Army Center of Military History. March 21, 2016. http://www.history.army.mil/moh/index.html. Retrieved April 22, 2017.