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This is a complete list of Medal of Honor recipients for the Battle of Gettysburg. 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.

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point.[1] Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's attempt to invade the North.

Elements of the two armies initially collided at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it. Low ridges to the northwest of town were defended initially by a Union cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Buford, and soon reinforced with two corps of Union infantry. However, two large Confederate corps assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed Union lines, sending the defenders retreating through the streets of town to the hills just to the south.

On the second day of battle, most of both armies had assembled. The Union line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a fishhook. In the late afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den, and the Peach Orchard. On the Union right, Confederate demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines.

On the third day of battle, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, known as Pickett's Charge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great loss to the Confederate army.

Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle, the most costly in US history.

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.[2]

Image Name Service Rank Date of action Notes
Nathaniel M. Allen.jpg Allen, Nathaniel M.Nathaniel M. Allen Army E-04Corporal Jul 2, 1863 When his regiment was falling back, this soldier, bearing the national color, returned in the face of the enemy's fire, pulled the regimental flag from under the body of its bearer, who had fallen, saved the flag from capture, and brought both colors off the field.
Bacon, Elijah W.Elijah W. Bacon* Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 16th North Carolina regiment (C.S.A.).
Benedict, George G.George G. Benedict Army O-01Second Lieutenant Jul 3, 1863 Passed through a murderous fire of grape and canister in delivering orders and re-formed the crowded lines.
Brown, Morris, Jr.Morris Brown, Jr.* Army O-03Captain Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag.
Carey, HughHugh Carey Army E-05Sergeant Jul 2, 1863 Captured the flag of the 7th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.), being twice wounded in the effort.
Carlisle, Casper R.Casper R. Carlisle Army E-01Private Jul 2, 1863 Saved a gun of his battery under heavy musketry fire, most of the horses being killed and the drivers wounded.
Profile of a white man with a drooping mustache wearing a double-breasted military jacket with a rectangular patch and star on each shoulder. Chamberlain, Joshua L.Joshua L. Chamberlain Army O-06Colonel Jul 2, 1863 For action at Little Round Top, portrayed in the film Gettysburg.
Clark, HarrisonHarrison Clark Army E-04Corporal Jul 2, 1863 Seized the colors and advanced with them after the color bearer had been shot
Clopp, John E.John E. Clopp Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 9th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.), wresting it from the color bearer
Coates, JeffersonJefferson Coates Army E-05Sergeant Jul 1, 1863 Unsurpassed courage in battle, where he had both eyes shot out.
Alonzo Cushing.jpg Cushing, Alonzo H.Alonzo H. Cushing* Army O-02First Lieutenant Jul 3, 1863 Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire in the face of the enemy.
Decastro, Joseph H.Joseph H. De Castro Army E-04Corporal Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 19th Virginia Infantry regiment (C.S.A.).
Dore, George H.George H. Dore Army E-05Sergeant Jul 3, 1863 The colors being struck down by a shell as the enemy were charging, this soldier rushed out and seized it, exposing himself to the fire of both sides.
Enderlin, RichardRichard Enderlin Army Musician Jul 1, 1863 – Jul 3, 1863 Voluntarily took a rifle and served as a soldier in the ranks during the first and second days of the battle. Voluntarily and at his own imminent peril went into the enemy's lines at night and, under a sharp fire, rescued a wounded comrade.
Falls, BenjaminBenjamin Falls* Army Color Sergeant Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag
Fassett, John B.John B. Fassett Army O-03Captain Jul 2, 1863 While acting as an aide, voluntarily led a regiment to the relief of a battery and recaptured its guns from the enemy.
Flynn, ChristopherChristopher Flynn Army E-04Corporal Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 52d North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.).
Frederick Füger.jpg Fuger, FrederickFrederick Fuger Army E-05Sergeant Jul 3, 1863 All the officers of his battery having been killed or wounded and five of its guns disabled in Pickett's assault, he succeeded to the command and fought the remaining gun with most distinguished gallantry until the battery was ordered withdrawn.
Chester S. Furman.jpg Furman, Chester S.Chester S. Furman Army E-04Corporal Jul 2, 1863 Was 1 of 6 volunteers who charged upon a log house near Devil's Den, where a squad of the enemy's sharpshooters were sheltered, and compelled their surrender.
Gilligan, Edward L.Edward L. Gilligan Army E-08First Sergeant Jul 1, 1863 Assisted in the capture of a Confederate flag by knocking down the color sergeant.
Hart, John W.John W. Hart Army E-05Sergeant Jul 2, 1863 Was one of six volunteers who charged upon a log house near the Devil's Den, where a squad of the enemy's sharpshooters were sheltered, and compelled their surrender.
Hincks, William B.William B. Hincks Army E-09Sergeant Major Jul 3, 1863 During the high-water mark of Pickett's charge on 3 July 1863 the colors of the 14th Tenn. Inf. C.S.A. were planted 50 yards in front of the center of Sgt. Maj. Hincks' regiment.
Horan, ThomasThomas Horan Army E-05Sergeant Jul 2, 1863 In a charge of his regiment this soldier captured the regimental flag of the 8th Florlda Infantry (C.S.A.).
Drawing of a white man with hair parted in the center and a mustache, wearing a suit coat over a shirt and tie. Huidekoper, Henry S.Henry S. Huidekoper Army O-05Lieutenant colonel Jul 1, 1863 While engaged in repelling an attack of the enemy, received a severe wound of the right arm, but instead of retiring remained at the front in command of the regiment.
Irsch, FrancisFrancis Irsch Army O-03Captain Jul 1, 1863 Gallantry in flanking the enemy and capturing a number of prisoners and in holding a part of the town against heavy odds while the Army was rallying on Cemetery Hill.
Jellison, Benjamin H.Benjamin H. Jellison Army E-05Sergeant Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 57th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.). He also assisted in taking prisoners.
Johnson, Wallace W.Wallace W. Johnson Army E-05Sergeant Jul 2, 1863 With five other volunteers gallantly charged on a number of the enemy's sharpshooters concealed in a log house, captured them, and brought them into the Union lines.
Knox, Edward M.Edward M. Knox Army O-01Second Lieutenant Jul 2, 1863 Held his ground with the battery after the other batteries had fallen back until compelled to draw his piece off by hand; he was severely wounded.
Lonergan, JohnJohn Lonergan Army O-03Captain Jul 2, 1863 Gallantry in the recapture of 4 guns and the capture of 2 additional guns from the enemy; also the capture of a number of prisoners
Mayberry, John B.John B. Mayberry Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Captured the enemy flag
McCarren, BernardBernard McCarren Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag.
Mears, George W.George W. Mears Army E-05Sergeant Jul 2, 1863 With five volunteers he gallantly charged on a number of the enemy's sharpshooters concealed in a log house, captured them, and brought them into the Union lines.
Miller, JohnJohn Miller Army E-04Corporal Jul 3, 1863 for capture of 2 flags
Miller, William E.William E. Miller Army O-03Captain Jul 3, 1863 Without orders, led a charge of his squadron upon the flank of the enemy, checked his attack, and cut off and dispersed the rear of his column.
Munsell, Harvey M.Harvey M. Munsell Army E-05Sergeant Jul 1, 1863 – Jul 3, 1863 Gallant and courageous conduct as color bearer. (This noncommissioned officer carried the colors of his regiment through 13 engagements.)
OBrien, Henry D.Henry D. O'Brien Army E-04Corporal Jul 3, 1863 Taking up the colors where they had fallen, he rushed ahead of his regiment, close to the muzzles of the enemy's guns, and engaged in the desperate struggle in which the enemy was defeated, and though severely wounded, he held the colors until wounded a second time.
James Milton Pipes.jpg Pipes, JamesJames Pipes Army O-03Captain Jul 2, 1863 and Aug 25, 1864 While a sergeant and retiring with his company before the rapid advance of the enemy at Gettysburg, he and a companion stopped and carried to a place of safety a wounded and helpless comrade; in this act both he and his companion were severely wounded. A year later, at Reams Station, Virginia, while commanding a skirmish line, voluntarily assisted in checking a flank movement of the enemy, and while so doing was severely wounded, suffering the loss of an arm.
Postles, James P.James P. Postles Army O-03Captain Jul 2, 1863 Voluntarily delivered an order in the face of heavy fire of the enemy.
James Jackson Purman (1864).jpg Purman, James J.James J. Purman Army Lieutenant Jul 2, 1863 Voluntarily assisted a wounded comrade to a place of apparent safety while the enemy were in close proximity; he received the fire of the enemy and a wound which resulted in the amputation of his left leg.
Raymond, William H.William H. Raymond Army E-04Corporal Jul 3, 1863 Voluntarily and under a severe fire brought a box of ammunition to his comrades on the skirmish line.
Reed, Charles W.Charles W. Reed Army Bugler Jul 2, 1863 Rescued his wounded captain from between the lines.
Reisinger, J. MonroeJ. Monroe Reisinger Army E-04Corporal Jul 1, 1863 Specially brave and meritorious conduct in the face of the enemy. Awarded under Act of Congress, January 25, 1907.
Head and torso of a white man with thick dark hair and a full beard, wearing a double-breasted military jacket with a rectangular patch atop each shoulder. Rice, EdmundEdmund Rice Army O-04Major Jul 3, 1863 Conspicuous bravery on the third day of the battle on the countercharge against Pickett's division where he fell severely wounded within the enemy's lines.
Richmond, JamesJames Richmond* Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag.
Robinson, John H.John H. Robinson Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 57th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).
Rood, Oliver P.Oliver P. Rood Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 21st North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.).
Roosevelt, George W.George W. Roosevelt Army E-08First Sergeant Aug 30, 1862 and Jul 2, 1863 At Bull Run, Virginia, recaptured the colors, which had been seized by the enemy. At Gettysburg captured a Confederate color bearer and color, in which effort he was severely wounded.
Roush, J. LeviJ. Levi Roush Army E-04Corporal Jul 2, 1863 Was 1 of 6 volunteers who charged upon a log house near the Devil's Den, where a squad of the enemy's sharpshooters were sheltered, and compelled their surrender.
Rutter, James M.James M. Rutter Army E-05Sergeant Jul 1, 1863 At great risk of his life went to the assistance of a wounded comrade, and while under fire removed him to a place of safety.
Sellers, Alfred J.Alfred J. Sellers Army O-04Major Jul 1, 1863 Voluntarily led the regiment under a withering fire to a position from which the enemy was repulsed.
Sherman, MarshallMarshall Sherman Army E-01Private July 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 28th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).
Head and torso of a white man with a pointed mustache and bags under his eyes, wearing a double-breasted military jacket with a rectangular patch over each shoulder. Sickles, Daniel E.Daniel E. Sickles Army E-011Major general Jul 2, 1863 Displayed most conspicuous gallantry on the field vigorously contesting the advance of the enemy and continuing to encourage his troops after being himself severely wounded.
Smith, Thaddeus S.Thaddeus S. Smith Army E-04Corporal July 2, 1863 Was 1 of 6 volunteers who charged upon a log house near the Devil's Den, where a squad of the enemy's sharpshooters were sheltered, and compelled their surrender.
Stacey, CharlesCharles Stacey Army E-01Private Jul 2, 1863 Voluntarily took an advanced position on the skirmish line for the purpose of ascertaining the location of Confederate sharpshooters, and under heavy fire held the position thus taken until the company of which he was a member went back to the main line.
Thompson, James B.James B. Thompson Army E-05Sergeant Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of 15th Georgia Infantry (C.S.A.).
Tozier, Andrew J.Andrew J. Tozier Army E-05Sergeant Jul 2, 1863 At the crisis of the engagement this soldier, a color bearer, stood alone in an advanced position, the regiment having been borne back, and defended his colors with musket and ammunition picked up at his feet.
Profile of a white man with a long mustache and goatee wearing a suit coat, vest, and bow tie. Below are the words "Wheelock G. Veazey, Judge Advocate General, Rutland, Vt." Veazey, Wheelock G.Wheelock G. Veazey Army O-06Colonel Jul 3, 1863 Rapidly assembled his regiment and charged the enemy's flank; charged front under heavy fire, and charged and destroyed a Confederate brigade, all this with new troops in their first battle.
Wall, JerryJerry Wall Army E-01Private Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag
Waller, Francis A.Francis A. Waller Army E-04Corporal Jul 1, 1863 Capture of flag of 2d Mississippi Infantry (C.S.A.).
Profile of a dark-haired white man with a mustache and scraggly goatee, wearing a double-breasted military jacket and sitting with a military cap in his lap. Webb, Alexander S.Alexander S. Webb Army E-010Brigadier general Jul 3, 1863 Distinguished personal gallantry in leading his men forward at a critical period in the contest.
William Wells (Vermont).jpg Wells, WilliamWilliam Wells Army O-04Major Jul 3, 1863 Led the second battalion of his regiment in a daring charge.
Wiley, JamesJames Wiley Army E-05Sergeant Jul 3, 1863 Capture of flag of a Georgia regiment.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Rawley, p. 147; Sauers, p. 827; Gallagher, Lee and His Army, p. 83; McPherson, p. 665; Eicher, p. 550. Gallagher and McPherson cite the combination of Gettysburg and Vicksburg as the turning point. Eicher uses the arguably related expression, "High-water mark of the Confederacy".
  2. Defense link Medal of Honor history

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Porter, David D. The Naval History of the Civil War Castle, Secaucus, NJ, 1984, ISBN 0-89009-575-2.


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