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.
Seventeen men would receive the Medal of Honor for their actions in this battle.
Second Battle of Petersburg[edit | edit source]
The Second Battle of Petersburg, also known as the Assault on Petersburg, was fought June 15–18, 1864, at the beginning of the Richmond–Petersburg Campaign (popularly known as the Siege of Petersburg) in Petersburg, Virginia. Union forces under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant attempted to capture Petersburg, Virginia, before Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia could reinforce the city.
The four days of the battle included repeated Union assaults against a substantially smaller Confederate force commanded by Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Beauregard's strong defensive positions and poorly coordinated actions by the Union generals made up for the disparity in the sizes of the armies. By June 18, the arrival of significant reinforcements from Lee's army made further assaults impractical. The failure of the Union to defeat the Confederates in these actions resulted in the start of the ten-month Siege of Petersburg.
During the battle as many as 38,000 Confederate forces under the command of Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard repelled a Union force of 62,000 led by Generals Ulysses S. Grant and George G. Meade. Casualties in the battle were high with 11,386 total Union casualties; 1,688 killed, 8,513 wounded and 1,185 missing or captured Confederate losses were lower with a approximately 4,000 casualties; 200 killed, 2,900 wounded and 900 missing or captured.
|Name||Service||Rank||Date of action||Notes|
|William H. Appleton||Army||First Lieutenant||Jun 15, 1864||The first man of the Eighteenth Corps to enter the enemy's works at Petersburg, Virginia, 15 June 1864. Valiant service in a desperate assault at New Market Heights, Virginia, inspiring the Union troops by his example of steady courage. Also received from actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia Sep 29, 1864|
|John Brosnan||Army||Sergeant||Jun 17, 1864||Rescued a wounded comrade who lay exposed to the enemy's fire, receiving a severe wound in the effort.|
|Henry F. Chandler||Army||Sergeant||Jun 17, 1864||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.|
|James G. Clark||Army||Private||Jun 18, 1864||Distinguished bravery in action; was severely wounded|
|William D. Dickey||Army||Captain||Jun 17, 1864||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.|
|Joseph O. Gregg||Army||Private||Jun 16, 1864||Received for actions near the Richmond & Petersburg Ry., Virginia. Voluntarily returned to the breastworks which his regiment had been forced to abandon to notify 3 missing companies that the regiment was falling back; found the enemy already in the works, refused a demand to surrender, returning to his command under a concentrated fire, several bullets passing through his hat and clothing.|
|John H. Harbourne||Army||Private||Jun 17, 1864||Capture of flag along with 3 enemy men.|
|Edwin Leonard||Army||Sergeant||Jun 18, 1864||Voluntarily exposed himself to the fire of a Union brigade to stop their firing on the Union skirmish line.|
|Carl Ludwig||Army||Private||Jun 18, 1864||As gunner of his piece, inflicted singly a great loss upon the enemy and distinguished himself in the removal of the piece while under a heavy fire.|
|Henry C. Meyer||Army||Captain||Jun 17, 1864||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.|
|Patrick Monaghan||Army||Corporal||Jun 17, 1864||Recapture of colors of 7th New York Heavy Artillery.|
|George H. Plowman||Army||Sergeant Major||Jun 17, 1864||Recaptured the colors of the 2d Pennsylvania Provisional Artillery.|
|Robert Reid||Army||Private||Jun 17, 1864||Capture of flag of 44th Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.).|
|Henry W. Rowe||Army||Private||Jun 17, 1864||With 2 companions, he rushed and disarmed 27 enemy pickets, capturing a stand of flags.|
|Bernard A. Strausbaugh||Army||First Sergeant||Jun 17, 1864||Recaptured the colors of 2d Pennsylvania Provisional Artillery.|
|John H. Wageman||Army||Private||Jun 17, 1864||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.|
|Benjamin F. Young||Army||Corporal||Jun 17, 1864||Capture of flag of 35th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.)|
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.
- Bonekemper, p. 313. The author presents casualty figures from a wide variety of sources and provides his best estimate. Trudeau, p. 55, agrees with the 4,000 Confederate losses, but cites Union killed and wounded at 8,150, with an additional 1,814 missing. Kennedy, p. 353, cites 9,964–10,600 for the Union, 2,974–4,700 for the Confederates; Salmon, p. 406, cites 8,150 Federal and 3,236 Confederate casualties.
- "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.
- 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.