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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 1 October

Today, after the fire and thunder of the last week, is a pretty calm day for the Medal, with only five awarded for actions on this day in history, four of those during the Civil War, all on the same day, and one for WWI. The most interesting holder is the one held by a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

It's a comparatively happy day, too - as all the recipients survived to receive their Medals.

There are three Medals for related fights in Virginia, and one in Georgia, as Sherman marches through.



Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 1st New Jersey Cavalry. Place and date: At Vaughn Road, Va., 1 October 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Albany, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 July 1865. Citation: Shot the Confederate Gen. Dunovant dead during a charge, thus confusing the enemy and greatly aiding in his repulse.


Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company D, 13th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: Near Chattahoochee River, Ga., 1 October 1864. Entered service at: Detroit, Mich. Born: 24 July 1843, England. Date of issue: 4 August 1899. Citation: While an escaped prisoner of war within the enemy's lines witnessed an important movement of the enemy, and at great personal risk made his way through the enemy's lines and brought news of the movement to Sherman's army.


Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 10th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Peebles Farm, Va., 1 October 1864. Entered service at: New York. Born: 9 July 1841, Germany. Date of issue: 12 December 1898. Citation: At the imminent risk of his own life, while his regiment was falling back before a superior force of the enemy, he dragged a wounded and helpless officer to the rear, thus saving him from death or capture.


Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 14th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Chapel House Farm, Va., 1 October 1864. Entered service at: Woodstock, Conn. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 25 November 1869. Citation: Gallantry in action.

WWI.  An infantry Major leads a tank in the assault - on foot.  Major (later Colonel) Thompson was an interesting man; recipient of the Medal of Honor, lawyer, Pennsylvania state legislator, head football coach of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, and College Football Hall of Fame inductee.
I haven't checked yet - but I'm pretty sure he's the only Medal holder in the College Football Hall of Fame.


Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, 110th Infantry, 28th Division. Place and date: Near Apremont, France, 1 October 1918. Entered service at: Beaver Falls, Pa. Born: 26 September 1871, Kilkeel, County Down, Ireland. G.O. No.: 21, W.D., 1925. Citation: Counterattacked by 2 regiments of the enemy, Maj. Thompson encouraged his battalion in the front line of constantly braving the hazardous fire of machineguns and artillery. His courage was mainly responsible for the heavy repulse of the enemy. Later in the action, when the advance of his assaulting companies was held up by fire from a hostile machinegun nest and all but 1 of the 6 assaulting tanks were disabled, Maj. Thompson, with great gallantry and coolness, rushed forward on foot 3 separate times in advance of the assaulting line, under heavy machinegun and antitank-gun fire, and led the 1 remaining tank to within a few yards of the enemy machinegun nest, which succeeded in reducing it, thereby making it possible for the infantry to advance.



the Battle of Vaughan Road – a lesser battle or skirmish of Cavalry forces protecting the flank of the main attack during the Battle of Pebbles Farm – took place on and about my farm.
Dates: September 30-October 2, 1864
Other Names: Poplar Springs Church, Wyatt’s Farm, Chappell’s House, Pegram’s Farm, Vaughan Road, Harmon Road
Location: Peebles’ Farm, Virginia
Outcome: Union Victory. 3,800 total casualties
Overview of the Battle :
In combination with Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s offensive north of the James River, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant extended his left flank to cut Confederate lines of communication southwest of Petersburg. Two divisions of the IX corps under Maj. Gen. John G. Parke, two divisions of the V Corps under Maj. Gen. G.K. Warren, and Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg’s cavalry division were assigned to the operation. On September 30, the Federals marched via Poplar Spring Church to reach Squirrel Level and Vaughan Roads. The initial Federal attack overran Fort Archer, flanking the Confederates out of their Squirrel Level Road line. Late afternoon, Confederate reinforcements arrived, slowing the Federal advance. On October 1, the Federals repulsed a Confederate counterattack directed by Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill. Reinforced by Maj. Gen. Gershom Mott’s division, the Federals resumed their advance on the 2nd, captured Fort MacRae which was lightly defended, and extended their left flank to the vicinity of Peebles’ and Pegram’s Farms. With these limited successes, Meade suspended the offensive. A new line was entrenched from the Federal works on Weldon Railroad to Pegram’s Farm.

Sergeant, Company C, 1st New Jersey Cavalry. Place and Date: At Vaughn Road, Va., 1 October 1864. Birth: Albany, N.Y. Date of Issue: 3 July 1865.
Citation: Shot the Confederate Gen. Dunovant dead during a charge, thus confusing the enemy and greatly aiding in his repulse.

Brig. Gen. John Dunovant (b. 1825, d. 1864) It took two tries in Confederate service for John Dunovant to reach the grade of brigadier general in Confederate service. … By June of 1862, Dunovant’s drinking caught up to him and he was dismissed from duty, a move which received endorsement from President Jefferson Davis. After working to clean up his reputation, Dunovant was back later that year as colonel of the 5th South Carolina Cavalry, appointed by Gov. Francis Pickens. In March of 1864, this regiment was ordered to Virginia…. Dunovant’s men stood out at Cold Harbor, Trevilian Station and in the early part of the Petersburg Campaign. He was able to change the mind of President Davis, who appointed him brigadier general with temporary rank Aug. 22, 1864. After losing a fight with Federal cavalry Oct. 1, 1864, Dunovant sought permission to attack the Federal left near the Vaughan Road south of the James River. It was a dangerous attack which was finally approved by Maj. Gen. M.C. Butler. Dunovant was killed at the head of his troops when they attacked Federal dismounted cavalry Oct. 2, 1864. … On receipt of news of the death of the gallant soldier, General Lee replied to General Hampton : "I grieve with you at the loss of General Dunovant and Dr. Fontaine, two officers whom it will be difficult to replace.”

From the official records of the civil War:

October 4, 1864-9.15 a. m.
Major-General HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Staff:
General Gregg is now here and desires to know if there are any changes in his orders. He wishes to establish a camp so that his regiments, not on duty, may unsaddle. His picket-line is established on the road leading to Hawks', in sight, and within carbine shot of the enemy's works, down the Squirrel Level road to its intersection with the Vaughan road at Wilkinson's, with vedettes in front of Squirrel Level road; pickets toward Dinwiddie and Reams' Station. The cavalry not on picket to be posted at J. Davis', the intersection of the Wyatt and Vaughan roads, where the ground is sufficiently open to make camps and unsaddle. j. Davis' is about one mile and a half from Poplar Spring Church. Please answer, so that he may establish his camp as soon as possible in order that he may relieve and unsaddle the horses not on duty.
JNumbers G. PARKE,

October 4, 1864-10.20 a. m.
Major-General PARKE, Commanding Ninth Corps:
Your dispatch concerning General Gregg is received. The part respecting picket-line was not clear, and I have asked the telegraph operator to repeat it. The general-disposition of this force, as proposed by General Gregg, is approved by the commanding general, and General Gregg will carry out his proposition.
Major-General and Chief of Staff.

While it is difficult to imagine that any communication in the US Army could have been garbled in transmission (I am a retired Signal Officer), I like to think that some 145 years later another group of Yankees established camp & unsaddled their horses on this property (being a Yankee and having some horses).
Nice to have a bit of land with some history to it, eh?

Thanks for the expansion on the fight!