Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients

William Carney - 54th Massachussets

Sergeant William Carney

In the attack on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863, Sergeant Carney was advancing with his regiment when the color sergeant was shot down. Rushing to the flag, Sergeant Carney hoisted it and gallantly led the regiment to the parapet of the fort where he planted it. Within twenty minutes Sergeant Carney and his flag were alone, surrounded only by dead and wounded as the Union troops fell back. As dusk fell Sergeant Carney saw a group of soldiers approaching and, mistaking them for Union forces, raised his flag only to be met with a heavy volley of hostile fire. He wrapped the flag around the staff to protect it, and though wounded repeatedly including a serious wound in his leg, crossed the wide expanse of beach while under continuing enemy fire to bring the colors safely off the field. Before collapsing from his wounds among his surviving and cheering comrades he stated, "Men, I only did my duty. The flag never touched the ground.

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Sergeant Decatur Dorsey

Planted his colors on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men.

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PVT William Henry Barnes

Among the first to enter the enemy's works; although wounded.

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1SG Powhatan Beaty

Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.

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1SG James H. Bronson

Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.

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SGM Christian A. Fleetwood

Seized the colors, after 2 color bearers had been shot down, and bore them nobly through the fight.

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PVT James Daniel Gardner

Rushed in advance of his brigade, shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet.

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SGT James H. Harris

Gallantry in the assault.

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SGM Thomas R. Hawkins

Rescue of regimental colors.

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SGT Alfred B. Hilton

When the regimental color bearer fell, this soldier seized the color and carried it forward, together with the national standard, until disabled at the enemy's inner line.

SGM Milton Murray Holland

Took command of Company C, after all the officers had been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it.

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1SG Alexander Kelly

Gallantly seized the colors, which had fallen near the enemy's lines of abatis, raised them and rallied the men at a time of confusion and in a place of the greatest danger.

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1SG Robert A. Pinn

Took command of his company after all the officers had been killed or wounded and gallantly led it in battle.

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1SG Edward Ratcliff

Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy's works.

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PVT Charles Veal

Seized the national colors after 2 color bearers had been shot down close to the enemy's works, and bore them through the remainder of the battle.

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CPL Miles James

Having had his arm mutilated, making immediate amputation necessary, he loaded and discharged his piece with one hand and urged his men forward; this within 30 yards of the enemy's works.





CPL Andrew J. Smith

 Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith, of Clinton, Illinois, a member of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, distinguished himself on 30 November 1864 by saving his regimental colors, after the color bearer was killed during a bloody charge called the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina.   In the late afternoon, as the 55th Regiment pursued enemy skirmishers and conducted a running fight, they ran into a swampy area backed by a rise where the Confederate Army awaited.  The surrounding woods and thick underbrush impeded infantry movement and artillery support.  The 55th and 54th regiments formed columns to advance on the enemy position in a flanking movement.  As the Confederates repelled other units, the 55th and 54th regiments continued to move into flanking positions.  Forced into a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy position, the 55th's Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire.  Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle.  Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry Regiment were not lost to the enemy.  Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith's extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the 55th Regiment, and the United States Army.

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PVT Bruce Anderson

Voluntarily advanced with the head of the column and cut down the palisading.