**Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 4th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry.
Place and date: At Weldon Railroad, Virginia, 23 June 1864.
Date of issue: 18 January 1893
Citation: Saved the colors of his regiment when it was surrounded by a much larger force of the enemy and after the greater part of the regiment had been killed or captured.**
By the time of U. S. Grant's Overland Campaign of 1864, the 4th Regiment of Vermont Volunteer Infantry was a veteran outfit having served since 1862 as part of the proud Vermont Brigade of the Sixth Army Corps, AOP. On Thursday morning, June 23, 1864, the 4th Vermont, 230 strong, was sent on picket duty south of Petersburg under the command of Major John E. Pratt. These Vermonters were strung out in a long line covering one-half mile in front of the left end of the Vermont Brigade facing the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. In the late afternoon the Virginia Brigade of Brigadier General William Malone's Division, A. P. Hill's Corps ANV, crashed into them. The Confederates split the picket line and fanned out behind it onto the farm of Dr. Gurley. Captain William C. Tracy assembled the left wing of the regiment for a brief fight but he soon fell mortally wounded, shot through the neck, and after a few more of the Vermonters were shot down, the rest surrendered. Major Pratt and the right wing of the regiment retreated north and eventually were forced to surrender. Somehow, in all this, Color Sergeant James Drury managed to escape with the regimental colors making it back to the safety of the Sixth Corps main line.
James Drury was born in Limerick, County Clare, Ireland, on August 27, 1837. His father died when he was age eleven and with his mother he joined an older brother in Chester, Vermont. He enlisted at age 24 as a private in Company C, 4th Vermont in August 1861. He reenlisted in December 1863 earning the appellation of "Veteran Volunteer." Drury was promoted to Sergeant on June 18, 1864 just prior to the battle at the Weldon Railroad. He appears to have been a model soldier. Captain Charles G. Fisher , in requesting Drury be granted a 25 day furlough in February 1865, wrote:
This veteran soldier, the color bearer of the regiment, has served from the commencement of the war until the present time with a singleness of purpose%u2026Disregarding danger, he has led his regiment in all the battles it participated in from May 5, 1864 to October 19, 1864. In the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg, his coolness and bravery in action commanded the respect of his officers as well as the faith and confidence of his comrades. In the engagement near the Weldon Railroad, when misfortune overtook the greater part of his regiment, he saved its colors. But more particularly did he distinguish himself in the battles in the Shenandoah valley, Charleston, Berryville, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek being names impressed upon the memories of his comrades in common with his.
Drury was promoted 2nd lieutenant of Company D on June 4, 1865 but was mustered out as a sergeant in Company C the following month. He returned to Vermont and married Jane Daugherty of Keene, New Hampshire. The Drury's moved to a two hundred acre farm near Albia, Monroe County, Iowa, [now the Lake Miami area] in 1869 where they raised a family of ten children.
In 1890 Drury was described as a prosperous businessman in Albia and was color bearer of the Bluff Creek Veterans' Association. His GAR comrades elected him "standard bearer" of Orman Post No. 123 in Albia with the admonition: "We give to your keeping this flag that our sons may emulate your noble deeds." He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1893. He died on Christmas day in 1919. Following a Solemn High Requiem Mass, he was interred in the church yard of St. Peter's Church in Lovilia. Shaded by a large Chinese elm, he is buried next to his wife and surrounded my other members of his family. The grave marker is inscribed:
Lieut. James Drury
Co C, 4 VT
BURIED: Lovilia Cemetery