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This is a complete list of Medal of Honor recipients for the Third battle of Petersburg.

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.[1]

Sixty men would receive the Medal of Honor for their actions in this battle. More than 15 medals were presented to soldiers who risked their lives to capture the Confederate unit flags including Lieutenant William Brant who captured the battle flag of 46th North Carolina (C.S.A.).[n 1]

Third battle of Petersburg[edit | edit source]

The Third Battle of Petersburg, also known as the Breakthrough at Petersburg or the Fall of Petersburg, was fought on April 2, 1865, south and southwest of Petersburg, Virginia. The battle came at the end of the 292-day Richmond–Petersburg Campaign and in the beginning stage of the Appomattox Campaign near the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Union Army (Army of the Potomac, Army of the Shenandoah and Army of the James) under the overall command of General-in-chief, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, launched an assault on General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's Petersburg, Virginia trenches and fortifications after the Union victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. As a result of that battle the Confederate right flank and rear were exposed, and the remaining supply lines cut, and the Confederate defenders were reduced by over 10,000 men killed, wounded, taken prisoner or in flight.

The thinly held Confederate lines at Petersburg had been stretched to the breaking point by earlier Union movements that extended those lines beyond the ability of the Confederates to man them adequately and by desertions and casualties from recent battles. As the much larger Union forces assaulted the lines, desperate Confederate defenders held off the Union breakthrough long enough for Confederate government officials and most of the remaining Confederate army, including local defense forces and some Confederate Navy personnel, to flee Petersburg and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia during the night of April 2–3. Confederate corps commander Lieutenant General A.P. Hill was killed during the fighting.

Union soldiers occupied Richmond and Petersburg on April 3, 1865, but most of the Union Army pursued the Army of Northern Virginia until they surrounded it, forcing Robert E. Lee to surrender that army on April 9, 1865 after the Battle of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Name Service Rank Date of action Notes[2][3]
Allen, Abner P.Abner P. Allen Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Gallantry as color bearer in the assault on Fort Gregg.
Apple, Andrew O.Andrew O. Apple Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Conspicuous gallantry as color bearer in the assault on Fort Gregg.
Babcock, William J.William J. Babcock Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Planted the flag upon the parapet while the enemy still occupied the line; was the first of his regiment to enter the works.
Barber, James A.James A. Barber Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picked artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party, and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Blackwood, William R. D.William R. D. Blackwood Army Surgeon Apr 2, 1865 Removed severely wounded officers and soldiers from the field while under a heavy fire from the enemy, exposing himself beyond the call of duty, thus furnishing an example of most distinguished gallantry.
Blickensderfer, MiltonMilton Blickensderfer Army E-04Corporal Apr 3, 1865 Capture of flag
Boutwell, John W.John W. Boutwell Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Brought off from the picket line, under heavy fire, a comrade who had been shot through both legs.
Brant, WilliamWilliam Brant Army Lieutenant Apr 3, 1865 Capture of battle flag of 46th North Carolina (C.S.A.).
Briggs, Elijah A.Elijah A. Briggs Army E-04Corporal Apr 3, 1865 Capture of battle flag.
Buffington, John E.John E. Buffington Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Was the first enlisted man of the 3d Division to mount the parapet of the enemy's line.
Camp, Carlton N.Carlton N. Camp Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Brought off from the picket line, under heavy fire, a comrade who had been shot through both legs.
Corcoran, JohnJohn Corcoran Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picked artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party, and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Curtis, Josiah M.Josiah M. Curtis Army O-01Second Lieutenant Apr 2, 1865 Seized the colors of his regiment after 2 color bearers had fallen, bore them gallantly, and was among the first to gain a foothold, with his flag, inside the enemy's works.
Dolloff, Charles W.Charles W. Dolloff Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
Ennis, Charles D.Charles D. Ennis Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picked artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Ewing, John C.John C. Ewing Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Captured the enemy flag.
Fesq, Frank E.Frank E. Fesq Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag of 18th North Carolina (C.S.A.) within the enemy's works.
Fisher, JosephJoseph Fisher Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Carried the colors 50 yards in advance of his regiment, and after being painfully wounded attempted to crawl into the enemy's works in an endeavor to plant his flag thereon.
Fox, William R.William R. Fox Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Bravely assisted in the capture of one of the enemy's guns; with the first troops to enter the city, captured the flag of the Confederate customhouse.
Gardner, Robert J.Robert J. Gardner Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Was among the first to enter Fort Gregg, clearing his way by using his musket on the heads of the enemy.
Gibbs, WesleyWesley Gibbs Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
Gould, Charles G.Charles G. Gould Army O-03Captain Apr 2, 1865 Among the first to mount the enemy's works in the assault, he received a serious bayonet wound in the face, was struck several times with clubbed muskets, but bravely stood his ground, and with his sword killed the man who bayoneted him.
Hack, Lester G.Lester G. Hack Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag of 23d Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.) with several of the enemy.
Harmon, Amzi D.Amzi D. Harmon Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
Havron, John H.John H. Havron Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picket artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Highland, PatrickPatrick Highland Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Conspicuous gallantry as color bearer in the assault on Fort Gregg.
Hoffman, Thomas W.Thomas W. Hoffman Army O-03Captain Apr 2, 1865 Prevented a retreat of his regiment during the battle.
Howard, JamesJames Howard Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Carried the colors in advance of the line of battle, the flagstaff being shot off while he was planting it on the parapet of the fort.
Hunter, Charles A.Charles A. Hunter Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 In the assault on Fort Gregg, bore the regimental flag bravely and was among the foremost to enter the work.
James, IsaacIsaac James Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
Kane, JohnJohn Kane Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Gallantry as color bearer in the assault on Fort Gregg.
Lewis, Samuel E.Samuel E. Lewis Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picked artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Lilley, JohnJohn Lilley Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 After his regiment began to waiver he rushed on alone to capture the enemy flag. He reached the works and the Confederate color bearer who, at bayonet point, he caused to surrender with several enemy soldiers. He kept his prisoners in tow when they realized he was alone as his regiment in the meantime withdrew further to the rear.
Loyd, GeorgeGeorge Loyd Army E-01Private April 2, 1865 Capture of division flag of General Heth
Mangam, Richard C.Richard C. Mangam Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag of 8th Mississippi Infantry (C.S.A.)
Marquette, CharlesCharles Marquette Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Sergeant Marquette, although wounded, was one of the first to plant colors on the enemy's breastworks.
Matthews, John C.John C. Matthews Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Voluntarily took the colors, whose bearer had been disabled, and, although himself severely wounded, carried the same until the enemy's works were taken.
McCauslln, JosephJoseph McCauslln Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Conspicuous gallantry as color bearer in the assault on Fort Gregg.
McGraw, ThomasThomas McGraw Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 One of the three soldiers most conspicuous for gallantry in the final assault.
McKee, GeorgeGeorge McKee Army Color Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Gallantry as color bearer in the assault on Fort Gregg
McMillen, Francis M.Francis M. McMillen Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
Merrill, AugustusAugustus Merrill Army O-03Captain Apr 2, 1865 With 6 men, captured 69 Confederate prisoners and recaptured several soldiers who had fallen into the enemy's hands.
Mitchell, TheodoreTheodore Mitchell Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Capture of the flag of the Tennessee Brigade (C.S.A.).
Molbone, ArchibaldArchibald Molbone Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picked artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Orr, Robert L.Robert L. Orr Army O-04Major Apr 2, 1865 Carried the colors at the head of the column in the assault after two color bearers had been shot down.
Parker, ThomasThomas Parker Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Planted the first color on the enemy's works. Carried the regimental colors over the creek after the regiment had broken and been repulsed. Also received for actions in the Battle of Sayler's Creek, Virginia Apr 6, 1865
Plimley, WilliamWilliam Plimley Army O-02First Lieutenant Apr 2, 1865 While acting as aide to a general officer, voluntarily accompanied a regiment in an assault on the enemy's works and acted as leader of the movement which resulted in the rout of the enemy and the capture of a large number of prisoners.
Potter, George W.George W. Potter Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Was one of a detachment of 20 picked artillerymen who voluntarily accompanied an infantry assaulting party, and who turned upon the enemy the guns captured in the assault.
Reeder, Charles A.Charles A. Reeder Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag
Sargent, JacksonJackson Sargent Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 First to scale the enemy's works and plant the colors thereon.
Shubert, FrankFrank Shubert Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Capture of two markers.
Sperry, William J.William J. Sperry Army O-04Major Apr 2, 1865 With the assistance of a few men, captured 2 pieces of artillery and turned them upon the enemy.
Thompson, Freeman C.Freeman C. Thompson Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Was twice knocked from the parapet of Fort Gregg by blows from the enemy muskets but at the third attempt fought his way into the works.
Tracy, Charles H.Charles H. Tracy Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 At the risk of his own life, at Spotsylvania, 12 May 1864, assisted in carrying to a place of safety a wounded and helpless officer. Also received for actions in Petersburg, Virginia.
Tucker, AllenAllen Tucker Army E-05Sergeant Apr 2, 1865 Was 1 of the 3 soldiers most conspicuous in the final assault.
Tucker, Jacob. R.Jacob. R. Tucker Army E-04Corporal Apr 1, 1865 Gallantry in action.
VanMatre, JosephJoseph Van Matre Army E-01Private Apr 2, 1865 In the assault on Fort Gregg, this soldier climbed upon the parapet and fired down into the fort as fast as the loaded guns could be passed up to him by comrades.
Welch, RichardRichard Welch Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
White, AdamAdam White Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Capture of flag.
Wilson, Francis A.Francis A. Wilson Army E-04Corporal Apr 2, 1865 Was among the first to penetrate the enemy's lines and himself captured a gun of the 2 batteries captured.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 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]

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.

External links[edit | edit source]

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