Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 12 May

There are 38 Medals awarded for actions on this day, 35 of them for actions at Spotsylvania Courthouse in 1864. The rest are one each from the Indian Campaigns, WWII, and Vietnam. Happily, none were posthumous (whatever the enemy casualty count might have been).

Civil War- This is an interesting group, with more detail than the usual “Capture of flag” laconic citations from the era. Two of our flag-seizers apparently yelled, “Flags? We don’t need no stinking flags!” and tossed them aside and went on to killing Confederates. Then there’s the poker player who bluffed 6 rebels into giving up themselves and their colors while armed with a “an empty cocked rifle”, and the Private who would capture a flag this day, but by the end of the war less than a year later would be a Brevet Major. And a surprising number of junior officers acting as regimental commanders under fire. Like I said, not your usual acerbic citations for the Civil War.

ALBER, Frederick RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 17TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY ACTION DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION Bravely rescued Lt. Charles H. Todd of his regiment who had been captured by a party of Confederates by shooting down one, knocking over another with the butt of his musket, and taking them both prisoners.

AMMERMAN, Robert W RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 148TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of battle flag of the 8th North Carolina (C.S.A.), being one of the foremost in the assault.

BARKER, Nathaniel C RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY E, 11TH NEW HAMPSHIRE INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Six color bearers of the regiment having been killed, he voluntarily took both flags of the regiment and carried them through the remainder of the battle.

BEECH, John P RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 4TH NEW JERSEY INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Voluntarily assisted in working the guns of a battery, all the members of which had been killed or wounded.

BISHOP, Francis A RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: CORPORAL) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY C, 57TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag.

BURK, Michael RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY D, 125TH NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag, seizing it as his regiment advanced over the enemy’s works. He received a bullet wound in the chest while capturing the flag.

CLARKE, Dayton P RANK: CAPTAIN UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY F, 2D VERMONT INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Distinguished conduct in a desperate hand-to-hand fight while commanding the regiment.

CLAUSEN, Charles H RANK: FIRST LIEUTENANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 61ST PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Although severely wounded, he led the regiment against the enemy, under a terrific fire, and saved a battery from capture.

FALL, Charles H RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY E, 26TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, VIRGINIA
CITATION: Was one of the first to mount the Confederate works, where he bayoneted two of the enemy and captured a Confederate flag, but threw it away to continue the pursuit of the enemy.

FASNACHT, Charles H RANK: SERGEANT (HIGHEST RANK: FIRST LIEUTENANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 99TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION:Capture of flag of 2d Louisiana Tigers (C.S.A.), in a hand-to-hand contest.

FREEMAN, Archibald RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: SERGEANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY E, 124TH NEW YORK INFANTRYN DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag.

HARRIS, George W RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 148TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION:Capture of flag, wresting it from the color bearer and shooting an officer who attempted to regain it.

JONES, William RANK: FIRST SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 73D NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA
CITATION: Capture of flag of 65th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).

KINDIG, John M RANK: CORPORAL (HIGHEST RANK: SERGEANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 63D PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag of 28th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.).

MARSH, Albert RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 64TH NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag.

McANALLY, Charles RANK: SECOND LIEUTENANT (HIGHEST RANK: CAPTAIN) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY D, 69TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: In a hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy captured flag, was wounded in the act, but continued on duty until he received a second wound.

McFALL, Daniel R RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY E, 17TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Captured Col. Barker, commanding the Confederate brigade that charged the Union batteries; on the same day rescued Lt. George W. Harmon of his regiment from the enemy.

McHALE, Alexander U RANK: CORPORAL (HIGHEST RANK: SERGEANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 26TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Captured a Confederate color in a charge, threw the flag over in front of the works, and continued in the charge upon the enemy.

MITCHELL, Alexander H RANK: FIRST LIEUTENANT (HIGHEST RANK: CAPTAIN) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 105TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag of 18th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.), in a personal encounter with the color bearer.

MORGAN, Lewis RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: SERGEANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY I, 4TH OHIO INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag from the enemy’s works.

MORSE. Benjamin RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: CORPORAL) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY C, 3D MICHIGAN INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of colors of 4th Georgia Battery (C.S.A.).

NOLL, Conrad RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY D, 20TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Seized the colors, the color bearer having been shot down, and gallantly fought his way out with them, though the enemy were on the left flank and rear.

NOYES, William W RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY F, 2D VERMONT INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Standing upon the top of the breastworks, deliberately took aim and fired no less than 15 shots into the enemy’s lines, but a few yards away.

ROBBINS, Augustus J RANK: SECOND LIEUTENANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 2D VERMONT INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: While voluntarily serving as a staff officer, successfully withdrew a regiment across and around a severely exposed position to the rest of the command; was severely wounded.

ROBINSON, Thomas RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 81ST PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA
CITATION: Capture of flag in a hand-to-hand conflict.

ROSSBACH, Valentine RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: 34TH NEW YORK BATTERY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Encouraged his cannoneers to hold a very dangerous position, and when all depended on several good shots it was from his piece that the most effective were delivered, causing the enemy’s fire to cease and thereby relieving the critical position of the Federal troops.

ROUNDS, Lewis A RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: BREVET MAJOR) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY D, 8TH OHIO INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag.

RUSSELL, Charles L RANK: CORPORAL (HIGHEST RANK: SECOND LIEUTENANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 93D NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag of 42d Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).

SCHLACHTER, Philipp RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY F, 73D NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag of 15th Louisiana Infantry (C.S.A.).

THOMPSON, Charles A RANK: SERGEANT (HIGHEST RANK: SECOND LIEUTENANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY D, 17TH MICHIGAN INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: After the regiment was surrounded and all resistance seemed useless, fought singlehanded for the colors and refused to give them up until he had appealed to his superior officers.

WEEKS, John H RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 152D NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag and color bearer using an empty cocked rifle while outnumbered by five or six.

WESTERHOLD, William RANK: SERGEANT (HIGHEST RANK: FIRST LIEUTENANT) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY G, 52D NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag of 23d Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.) and its bearer.

WILCOX, William H RANK: SERGEANT UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY G, TH NEW HAMPSHIRE INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Took command of his company, deployed as skirmishers, after the officers in the command of the skirmish line had both been wounded, conducting himself gallantly; afterwards, becoming separated from command, he asked and obtained permission to fight in another company.

WILSON, Christopher W RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY E, 73D NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Took the flag from the wounded color bearer and carried it in the charge over the Confederate works, in which charge he also captured the colors of the 56th Virginia (C.S.A.) bringing off both flags in safety.

WISNER, Lewis S RANK: FIRST LIEUTENANT (HIGHEST RANK: CAPTAIN) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY K, 124TH NEW YORK INFANTRY DATE: MAY 12, 1864 PLACE: SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: While serving as an engineer officer voluntarily exposed himself to the enemy’s fire.

Indian Campaigns

LOHNES, Frank W RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 1ST NEBRASKA VETERAN CAVALRY DATE: MAY 12, 1865 PLACE: GILMANS RANCH, NEBRASKA, USA
CITATION: Gallantry in defending Government property against Indians.

World War II Young Staff Sergeant Shea led a charmed life that day.

SHEA, Charles W RANK: SECOND LIEUTENANT (RANK AT TIME OF ACTION: STAFF SERGEANT) UNIT/COMMAND: 2D SQUAD, 2D PLATOON, COMPANY F, 2D BATTALION, 350TH INFANTRY, 88TH INFANTRY DIVISION
DATE: MAY 12, 1944 PLACE: NEAR MOUNT DAMIANO, ITALY
CITATION: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, on 12 May 1944, near Mount Damiano, Italy. As 2d Lt. Shea and his company were advancing toward a hill occupied by the enemy, three enemy machine guns suddenly opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties upon the company and halting its advance. Second Lt. Shea immediately moved forward to eliminate these machine-gun nests in order to enable his company to continue its attack. The deadly hail of machine-gun fire at first pinned him down, but boldly continuing his advance, 2d Lt. Shea crept up to the first nest. Throwing several hand grenades, he forced the four enemy soldiers manning this position to surrender, and disarming them, he sent them to the rear. He then crawled to the second machine-gun position and after a short firefight forced two more German soldiers to surrender. At this time, the third machine gun fired at him, and while deadly small-arms fire pitted the earth around him, 2d Lt. Shea crawled toward the nest. Suddenly he stood up and rushed the emplacement and with well-directed fire from his rifle, he killed all three of the enemy machine gunners. Second Lt. Shea’s display of personal valor was an inspiration to the officers and men of his company.

Vietnam. A pilot doing some of that pilot shit. Boldly.

JACKSON, Joe M RANK: LIEUTENANT COLONEL (HIGHEST RANK: COLONEL) UNIT/COMMAND: 311TH AIR COMMANDO SQUADRON, DA NANG, 834TH AIR DIVISION. USAF DATE: MAY 12, 1968 PLACE: KHAM DUC, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
CITATION: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Lt. Col. Jackson distinguished himself as a pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a three-man USAF Combat Control Team from the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc. Hostile forces had overrun the forward outpost and established gun positions on the airstrip. They were raking the camp with small-arms, mortars, light and heavy automatic-weapons, and recoilless-rifle fire. The camp was engulfed in flames and ammunition dumps were continuously exploding and littering the runway with debris. In addition, eight aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and one aircraft remained on the runway reducing its usable length to only 2,200 feet. To further complicate the landing, the weather was deteriorating rapidly, thereby permitting only one air strike prior to his landing. Although fully aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt, Lt. Col. Jackson elected to land his aircraft and attempt to rescue. Displaying superb airmanship and extraordinary heroism, he landed his aircraft near the point where the combat control team was reported to be hiding. While on the ground, his aircraft was the target of intense hostile fire. A rocket landed in front of the nose of the aircraft but failed to explode. Once the combat control team was aboard, Lt. Col. Jackson succeeded in getting airborne despite the hostile fire directed across the runway in front of his aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson’s profound concern for his fellow men, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

Published by The Armorer

A grumpy old Cincinnatus who feeds goats, dogs, cats, ducks, peafowl, a horse, and sundry avians, especially in the winter. From time to time you will see guns. Until such time as the Progressives repeal the 2nd Amendment, everything you see is legal, Federal, State, Local, where I live. Your progressive paradise may have different rules. Don't project them onto me. Federalism still exists, even if it is but a shadow of what the Framers intended.

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