There are ten Medals awarded for actions on this day, three of them posthumous. Unusually, one of the posthumous awards is to a Civil War soldier.
Civil War. In the case of Corporal McVeane, his posthumous award is either because he died in subsequent combat (or the myriad diseases) or other causes before his award was made in 1870. Dead men receive no surrenders, unless perhaps they are El Cid, and strapped to their horse. Upon further digging, it would appear McVeane was a colourful [sic] soldier. I use the brit spelling because he was a Canadian serving in the 49th NY Infantry. Mustered in as a Sergeant, busted to the ranks, promoted Corporal, got his Sergeant’s stripes back after his Medal action, and subsequently commissioned a Second Lieutenant. He died in the fighting in The Wilderness campaign in 1864.
BROWN, EDWARD, JR.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company G, 62d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Fredericksburg and Salem Heights, Va., 3-4 May 1863. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 6 July 1841, Ireland. Date of issue: 24 November 1880. Citation: Severely wounded while carrying the colors, he continued at his post, under fire, until ordered to the rear.
Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1826 Rochester, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Albatross during action against Fort De Russy in the Red River Area on 4 May 1863. After the steering wheel and wheel ropes had been shot away by rebel fire, Brown stood on the gun platform of the quarterdeck, exposing himself to a close fire of musketry from the shore, and rendered invaluable assistance by his expert management of the relieving tackles in extricating the vessel from a perilous position, and thereby aided in the capture of Fort De Russy’s heavyworks.
BUTTERFIELD, FRANK G.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company C, 6th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: At Salem Heights, Va., 4 May 1863. Entered service at: Rockingham, Vt. Birth: Rockingham, Vt. Date of issue: 4 May 1891. Citation: Took command of the skirmish line and covered the movement of his regiment out of a precarious position.
CLARK, CHARLES A.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant and Adjutant, 6th Maine Infantry. Place and date: At Brooks Ford, Va., 4 May 1863. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Sangerville, Maine. Date of issue: 13 May 1896. Citation: Having voluntarily taken command of his regiment in the absence of its commander, at great personal risk and with remarkable presence of mind and fertility of resource led the command down an exceedingly precipitous embankment to the Rappahannock River and by his gallantry, coolness, and good judgment in the face of the enemy saved the command from capture or destruction.
COFFEY, ROBERT J.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 4th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: At Banks Ford, Va., 4 May 1863. Entered service at: Montpelier, Vt. Birth: Nova Scotia. Date of issue: 13 May 1892. Citation: Single-handedly captured 2 officers and 5 privates of the 8th Louisiana Regiment (C.S.A.).
CUMMINGS, AMOS J.
Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 26th New Jersey Infantry. Place and date: At Salem Heights, Va., 4 May 1863. Entered service at: Irvington, N.J. Born: 15 May 1841, Conklin, N.Y. Date of issue. 28 March 1894. Citation: Rendered great assistance in the heat of the action in rescuing a part of the field batteries from an extremely dangerous and exposed position.
*McVEANE, JOHN P.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, 49th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Fredericksburg Heights, Va., 4 May 1863. Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Birth: Canada. Date of issue: 21 September 1870. Citation: Shot a Confederate color bearer and seized the flag; also approached, alone, a barn between the lines and demanded and received the surrender of a number of the enemy therein.
SHAW, GEORGE C.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 27th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Pitacus, Lake Lanao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, 4 May 1903. Entered service at: Washington, D.C. Birth: Pontiac, Mich. Date of issue: 9 June 1904. Citation: For distinguished gallantry in leading the assault and, under a heavy fire from the enemy, maintaining alone his position on the parapet after the first 3 men who followed him there had been killed or wounded, until a foothold was gained by others and the capture of the place assured.
World War II
*KINSER, ELBERT LUTHER
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 21 October 1922, Greeneville, Tenn. Accredited to: Tennessee. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while acting as leader of a Rifle Platoon, serving with Company I, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 4 May 1945. Taken under sudden, close attack by hostile troops entrenched on the reverse slope while moving up a strategic ridge along which his platoon was holding newly won positions, Sgt. Kinser engaged the enemy in a fierce hand grenade battle. Quick to act when a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Sgt. Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had yielded his own chance of survival that his comrades might live to carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
*FOURNET, DOUGLAS B.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 4 May 1968. Entered service at: New Orleans, La. Born: 7 May 1943, Lake Charles, La. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Fournet, Infantry, distinguished himself in action while serving as rifle platoon leader of the 2d Platoon, Company B. While advancing uphill against fortified enemy positions in the A Shau Valley, the platoon encountered intense sniper fire, making movement very difficult. The right flank man suddenly discovered an enemy claymore mine covering the route of advance and shouted a warning to his comrades. Realizing that the enemy would also be alerted, 1st Lt. Fournet ordered his men to take cover and ran uphill toward the mine, drawing a sheath knife as he approached it. With complete disregard for his safety and realizing the imminent danger to members of his command, he used his body as a shield in front of the mine as he attempted to slash the control wires leading from the enemy positions to the mine. As he reached for the wire the mine was detonated, killing him instantly. Five men nearest the mine were slightly wounded, but 1st Lt. Fournet’s heroic and unselfish act spared his men of serious injury or death. His gallantry and willing self-sacrifice are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.