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FOR GALLENTRY

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SGT. KELLY, ALEXANDER
Rank and Organization: First Sergeant, Company F, 6th U.S. Colored Troops.
Place and Date:
At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864.
Birth: Pennsylvania.
Date of Issue:
6 April 1865.
Citation:
Gallantly seized the colors, which had fallen near the enemy's lines, raised them and rallied the men at a time of confusion and in a place of the greatest danger. Died: June 19, 1907
BURIED: Saint Peters Cemetery
Pittsburgh
Allegheny County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Division 3, Grave 13  ~

SGT. FLEETWOOD, CHRISTIAN A.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant Major, 4th U.S. Colored Troops,
Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864.
Birth: Baltimore, Md.
Date of Issue: 6 April 1865.
Citation: Seized the colors, after 2 color bearers had been shot down, and bore them nobly through the fight.

Sergeant Major, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1840, Fleetwood entered service in Baltimore on August 11, 1863. He saw action on September 29, 1864 at Chaffin's Farm Fort Harrison, VA.

His citation stated that he "seized the colors, after two color bearers had been shot down, and bore them nobly through the fight." Christian Fleetwood was a 23-year-old clerk when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He stood 5'4 tall. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major on August 19, 1863.

Fleetwood described the act which won him the Medal of Honor as follows: "Saved the regimental colors after eleven of the twelve color guards had been shot down around it." The rank of Sergeant Major was at the time the highest rank a black soldier could attain in the U.S. Army. Died: 1914

BURIED: Harmony Memorial Park
Landover
Prince George's County
Maryland

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PVT. GARDINER, JAMES
Rank and Organization: Private, Company I, 6th U.S. Colored Troops.
Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864.
Birth:
Gloucester, Va.
Date of Issue:
6 April 1865.
Citation: 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.

SGT. HAWKINS, THOMAS R.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant Major, 6th U.S. Colored Troops.
Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864.
Entered Service At: Philadelphia, Pa.
Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio.
Date of Issue: 8 February 1870.
Citation: Rescue of regimental colors.

Sergeant Major, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thomas R. Hawkins entered service in Philadelphia, PA. He saw action at Chaffin's Farm in Fort Harrison, VA on September 29, 1864. His citation read the that he rescued the regimental colors. The Medal of Honor was presented on February 8, 1870. Died: 1870

BURIED: Harmony Memorial Park
Landover
Prince George's County
Maryland
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SGT. BEATY, POWHATAN
Rank and Organization: First Sergeant, Company G, 5th U.S. Colored Troops.
Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864.
Entered Service At: Delaware County, Ohio.
Birth: Richmond, Va.
Date of Issue: 6 April 1865.
Citation: Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it. Died: Dec. 6, 1916.

Thirty soldiers of the Union Army were awarded Medals of Honor for their heroism in battle against the Confederate forces during the September 29, 1864, battle at Chapin's Farm, Virginia. First Sergeant Powhatan Beaty earned the Medal of Honor for taking command of his company and valiantly leading it in the battle after all the officers of his company had been killed or wounded.

~

 

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Corp. Andrew Jackson Smith

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Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith, of Clinton, Illinois, a member of the 55th Massachusetts Voluntary 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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SGT. ALEXANDER KELLY CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and Organization: First Sergeant, Company F, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: Pennsylvania. Date of Issue: 6 April 1865.

CITATION:

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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SGT. CHRISTIAN FLEETWOOD CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and Organization: Sergeant Major, 4th U.S. Colored Troops, Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: Baltimore, Md. Date of Issue: 6 April 1865.

CITATION:

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

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PVT. JAMES GARDINER CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and Organization: Private, Company I, 36th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Birth: Gloucester, Va. Date of Issue: 6 April 1865.

CITATION:

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. THOMAS R. HAWKINS CITATION DOCUMENT

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

CITATION:

Rescue of regimental colors.

 

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SGT. POWHATAN BEATY CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and Organization: First Sergeant, Company G, 5th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and Date: At Chapin's Farm, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered Service At: Delaware County, Ohio. Birth: Richmond, Va. Date of Issue: 6 April 1865.

CITATION:

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

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SGT. WILLIAM HARRISON CARNEY CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Wagner, S.C., 18 July 1863. Entered service at: New Bedford, Mass. Birth: Norfolk, Va. Date of issue: 23 May 1900.

CITATION:When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.

SEE BIO BELOW

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LANDSMAN AARON ANDERSON aka SANDERSON

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Personal Information: Place of Birth: Plymouth, NC Age: 49 Complexion: Negro Occupation: Cook / Farmer Height: 5'10" Naval Service:

 Place of Enlistment: Philadelphia, PA Date of Enlistment: April 17, 1863 Term of Enlistment: 3 years Rating: Landsman

Detailed Muster Records: Date: Vessel: March 31, 1865 U.S.S. Wyandank July 1, 1865 U.S.S. Wyandank AARON SANDERSON: Citation: G.O. No.: 59, June 22, 1865. Served on board the U.S.S. Wyandank during a boat expedition up Mattox Creek (on Maryland side of Patomac River), March 17, 1865. Participating with a boat crew in the clearing of Mattox Creek, Landsman Anderson carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. His true name was Aaron Anderson. He was born in North Carolina. He entered the Union Navy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His citation reads "Served on board the USS Wyandank during a boat expedition up Mattox Creek (Virginia), 17 March 1865. Participating with a boat crew in the clearing of Mattox Creek, Landsman Sanderson carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places, and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy." (bio by: Don Morfe)

DEATH AND BURIAL: UNKNOWN

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The Congressional Medal Of Honor

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     The Medal of Honor, established by joint resolution of Congress, 12 July 1862 (amended by Act of 9 July 1918 and Act of 25 July 1963) is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, 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 any enemy of The United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which The United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of service is exacted and each recommendation for award of this decoration is considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

    

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor

to

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SGT. WILLIAM H. CARNEY

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CARNEY, WILLIAM H.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant, Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.
Place and Date: At Fort Wagner, S.C., 18 July 1863.
Entered Service St.: New Bedford, Mass. Birth: Norfolk, Va.
Date of Issue: 23 May 1900.
Citation: When the Color Sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.

The assault on Fort Wagner would be the first real test of these young black, Union soldiers--everyone of them a volunteer.  Though the 54th Massachusetts was Federalized, it was an entirely separate regiment. As evening began to fall the order came.  The brave young men jumped to their feet and charged at a run towards the enemy stronghold.  The Confederate defenders were prepared for them and cannon fire and bullets flew through the air, devastating the advancing 54th. Ahead of them Sergeant John Wall carried the colors, the red, white and blue of the United States of America.  Suddenly a rifle bullet dropped Sergeant Wall and the flag began to fall to the ground.  Sergeant William Carney  threw his rifle aside and grasped the colors before they touched the ground.

Another rifle slug sliced through the air, this one hitting Sergeant Carney in the leg.  With soldiers falling all around him Carney mustered the strength to ignore the pain in his leg, hoist the colors high in the air, and continue to lead the advance.  Somehow he gained the entrance to the fort and proudly planted his flag...but he was alone...everyone else either killed or wounded.  The solitary figure and his flag pressed against the wall of the fort for half an hour as the battle raged on.  Then an attack to the right of the fort's entrance drew the enemy's attention away from him.  He noticed  a group of soldiers advancing towards him and, mistaking them for friendly troops, hoisted his flag high.  Again gunfire split the air as Carney realized all too late that they were Confederate soldiers.

In that moment of danger Carney remembered the flag that represented all he held dear and was fighting to protect that day.  Rather than dropping the flag and fleeing for his life, he wrapped the flag around the staff to protect it and ran down an embankment.  Stumbling through a ditch, chest-deep in water, he held his flag high.  Another bullet struck him in the chest, another in the right arm, then another in his right leg.  Carney struggled on alone, determined not to let his flag fall to the enemy. 

Sergeant William Carney of New Bedford, MA, became the first African American awarded the Medal of Honor for "most distinguished gallantry in action" during the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863. After being shot in the thigh, Carney crawled uphill on his knees, bearing the Union flag and urging his troops to follow.

From the safety of the distance to which they had retreated, what remained of the valiant warriors of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry watched the brave Sergeant struggle towards safety.  A retreating member of the 100th New York passed Carney and, seeing the severity of his wounds said, "Let me carry that flag for you."    With indomitable courage Sergeant Carney replied, "No one but a member of the 54th should carry the colors."  Despite the sounds of rifle and cannon fire that followed him, Carney struggled on.  Another enemy bullet found its mark, grazing his head, but Carney wouldn't quit.

Amid the cheers of his battered comrades Sergeant Carney finally reached safety.  Before collapsing among them from his many wounds his only words were, "Boys, I only did my duty.  The flag never touched the ground." Several months later Sergeant William Carney, propped up on a cane from the injuries to his right leg, posed for a picture holding the flag he had risked so much for that day at Fort Wagner.  The following year he was discharged from the army for the disabilities of his wounds. 

 

Died: Dec. 9, 1908.

BURIED: Oak Grove Cemetery
New Bedford
Bristol County
Massachusetts

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The Butler Medal

I had the fullest reports made to me of the acts of individual bravery of colored men on that occasion, and I had done for the negro soldiers, by my own order, what the government has never done for its white soldiers – I had a medal struck of like size, weight, quality, fabrication, and intrinsic value with those which Queen Victoria gave with her own hand to her distinguished private soldiers of the Crimea…These I gave with my own hand, save where the recipient was in a distant hospital wounded, and by the commander of the colored corps after it was removed from my command, and I record with pride that in that single action there were so many deserving that it called for a presentation of nearly two hundred.”.–"  -  Benjamin Franklin Butler

~Ferro iis libertas perveniet.  Inscribed on every Butler Medal is this quote which means freedom will be theirs by the sword.  The sword carried by courageous soldiers as well as the honor they carried beyond the battlefield has protected the freedom of the United States.~ 

The Butler Medal, also know as the Army of the James Medal, was created by Butler to be given to African-American troops after their bravery and courage during the Battle of New Market Heights.  Butler was known as a strong opponent of slavery and often recruited African-American troops for battle.  He also arranged for these troops to learn how to read and write.   The medal given for this battle is the first and only medal in American history specifically designed and manufactured for African-American troops. Sixteen African-American troops received the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.  Fourteen of these troops received the Medal of Honor at the battle of New Market Heights.   These troops accounted for the largest amount of African-American troops honored on a single day in American history. There were approximately 200 medals made and given to soldiers, although to who is unknown.  There are 21 known names from the National Archives, 14 of which received the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

Unfortunately, three months after awarding the medals, Butler was relieved of his command of the Army of the James, and African-American soldiers were told they could not display this medal on their uniforms [sited from Chicago Defender, Wednesday, August, 7, 1985].  The medal was also not recognized by the government, which makes knowledge of the medal and who received it nearly impossible to find.  Attempts in 1981 and 1985 to get the government to recognize the Butler Medal were denied.  The Department of Defense stated in 1981, “The Department takes the position that large numbers of unofficial medals were privately issued to members of the Armed Forces of the United States between 1861 and 1865.  The Butler Medal was but one of the many in this category.” 

To this day, the actual names of all recipients of the medal remain unknown. 

 

 

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