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Thomas R. Hawkins
Sergeant Major Thomas R. Hawkins
Born 1840
Died 1870 (aged 29–30)
Place of birth Cincinnati, Ohio
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1863 - 1865
Rank Sergeant Major
Unit 6th United States Colored Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War
*Battle of Chaffin's Farm
Awards Medal of Honor

Thomas R. Hawkins (1840 – 1870) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Hawkins joined the Army as a substitute from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 4, 1863, and became Sergeant Major of the 6th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment on August 23. On September 29, 1864, he fought in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia. He was discharged in May 1865 for wounds received in action.

More than five years later, on February 8, 1870, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for "rescue of regimental colors" during that battle.

Thomas Hawkins died at age 29 or 30 in 1870, and was buried in Columbian Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D.C. His remains were moved to National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland, in 1960 when the original cemetery closed and was sold. A memorial plaque was placed at his grave in 1997.[1]

Hawkins' courage at New Market Heights is depicted in a painting, Three Medals of Honor by artist Don Troiani. The painting is scheduled to be unveiled June 24, 2013 at the Union League of Philadelphia. Also portrayed in the painting are two fellow Medal of Honor recipients from the battle, Nathan H. Edgerton and Alexander Kelly.[2]

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., September 29, 1864. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio. Date of issue: February 8, 1870.


Rescue of regimental colors.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Harris, Hamil R. and Smith, Leef. "On Memorial Day, Soldiers and Citizens Honor Sacrifices of Those Who Fought for Freedom." Washington Post. May 27, 1997.
  2. http://sablearm.blogspot.com/2013/05/don-troianis-new-market-heights.html

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Melvin Claxton and Mark Puls, Uncommon valor : a story of race, patriotism, and glory in the final battles of the Civil War, (Wiley, 2006) (ISBN 0471468231)

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