The Medal of Honor is the highest honor in recognition of “gallantry in action.” Yet when President Abraham Lincoln signed “An act to further promote the efficiency of the Navy” into law on December 21, 1861, the creation of this honor is just a paragraph in section seven.
Only 200 “medals of honor” were authorized by Lincoln to be awarded to enlisted members of the Navy “during the present war.” Over the years, the medal has changed, going through revisions to the design, the rules under which it was awarded, and the inclusion of officers and members of the other branches of service.
It has been awarded fewer than 3,500 times.
One medal is currently on display through January 17, 2012, in the Rotunda of the National Archives.
This Medal of Honor was awarded to Sgt. James Hill, 14th New York Artillery, for extraordinary heroism on July 30, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia, for capturing a flag and shooting a Confederate officer who was rallying his men. Hill died in captivity at Andersonville, Georgia, before the medal could be presented. The medal was designed by William Wilson & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1862.
The display also includes a letter of recommendation to another soldier. After the Civil War ended, the historian of the 37th Massachusetts Regimental Association, recommended that Pvt. Samuel E. Eddy of Company D be awarded a … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 6, 2011, under - Civil War, Letters in the National Archives, Unusual documents.
Tags: 14th New York Artillery, 1862, 37th Massachusetts Regimental Association, abraham lincoln, Lt. John S. Bradley, Medal of Honor, Navy, Pennsylvania, Petersburg, Philadelphia, Pvt. Samuel E. Eddy, Rotunda, Sailor’s Creek, Sgt. James Hill, virginia, William Wilson & Sons
About 20,000 women volunteered in military hospitals during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the majority of them left little or no written evidence of their sacrifice in the war.
Louisa May Alcott, renowned 19th-century author of Little Women, was one of them, and her service is documented in a Washington, D.C., hospital’s muster roll.
Alcott was an abolitionist from an early age and eager to give her share, however small, to the war effort. She began sewing Union uniforms and badges before serving as a nurse at the age of 30.
As her muster roll indicates, she was stationed at the “Union Hotel U.S.A. General Hospital,” a makeshift military hospital in “Georgetown, D.C.” She served under the superintendent of Union Army nurses, Dorothea Dix, as a “female nurse” for November and December 1862 and received ten dollars pay.
“My greatest pride is in the fact that I lived to know the brave men and women who did so much for the cause, and that I had a very small share in the war which put an end to a great wrong,” Alcott wrote.
A bout with typhoid ultimately ended her short career as a nurse. Alcott never fully recovered from her illness, and for the rest of her life, she suffered from mercury poisoning as a result of her treatments with calomel.
Her time as … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 29, 2011, under - Civil War, Unusual documents.
Tags: 1862, abolitionist, calomel, civil war, Dorothea Dix, Hospital Sketches, Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, mercury poisoning, military hospitals, nurses, typhoid