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William R. Pelham
Landsman William Pelham
Born (1845-12-24)December 24, 1845 or (1847-12-08)December 8, 1847
Died March 30, 1933(1933-03-30) (aged 85)[1]
Place of birth Halifax, Nova Scotia or New York City[1]
Place of death Brooklyn, New York
Buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Allegiance United States of America
Union
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Landsman
Unit USS Hartford
Battles/wars
Awards Medal of Honor

William R. Pelham (December 24, 1845 or December 8, 1847 – March 30, 1933[1]) was a Union Navy sailor during the American Civil War and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions at the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Pelham enlisted in the Navy from either Nova Scotia or New York City[2] and took part in the Civil War as a Landsman on Rear Admiral David Farragut's flagship, the USS Hartford. On August 5, 1864, the Hartford participated in the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama. Five months after the battle, on December 31, 1864, Pelham was issued the Medal of Honor for his conduct in that action.

Pelham died at age 85 or 87 and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Rank and Organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: Halifax, Nova Scotia. Enlisted in: Nova Scotia. G.O. No.: 45, December 31, 1864.

Citation:

On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful actions against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram CSS Tennessee (1863) in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. When the other members of his guncrew were killed or wounded under the enemy's terrific shellfire, Pelham calmly assisted the casualties below and voluntarily returned and took his place at an adjoining gun where another man had been struck down. He continued to fight his gun throughout the remainder of the battle which resulted in the capture of the Tennessee.[3]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Records are inconsistent on Pelham's date and place of birth. The book Deeds of Valor states that he was born on December 24, 1845 in New York City.[1] The Naval Historical Center states that he was born on December 8, 1847 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[2] His Medal of Honor citation states that he was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia."Civil War Medal of Honor recipients (M-Z)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/civwarmz.html. Retrieved July 1, 2010. 
  2. Records are inconsistent on Pelham's place of enlistment. His Medal of Honor citation states that he enlisted in Nova Scotia."Civil War Medal of Honor recipients (M-Z)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/civwarmz.html. Retrieved July 1, 2010.  The Naval Historical Center states that he enlisted in New York City.[3]
  3. "PELHAM, WILLIAM, Civil War Medal of Honor recipient". American Civil War website. 2007-11-08. http://americancivilwar.com/medal_of_honor7.html. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

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