Today’s Medal of Honor moment for 5 June

There are nine Medals awarded for this day, two of them posthumous, one kinda unfairly so. We start with six during the Civil War, continue through WWII and our unfairly posthumous award, and end with Korea, and a Master Sergeant so badass he was awarded the Medal for one day, and was recommended again for another one for his actions on the next day. But Army regs wouldn’t allow two, so he had to settle for a Distinguished Service Cross instead.

Benjamin F Wilson, who was recommended for two Medals of Honor – for actions on two consecutive days. Courtesy the CMOHS.

Civil War – and, we’ll lead with quality, the Redleg in the group, Lieutenant Avery:

AVERY, WILLIAM B.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 1st New York Marine Artillery. Place and date: At Tranters Creek, N.C., 5 June 1862. Entered service at: Providence, R.I. Born: 10 September 1840, Providence, R.I. Date of issue: 2 September 1893. Citation: Handled his battery with greatest coolness amidst the hottest fire.
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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 4 June

There are seven Medals awarded for actions on this day, spanning a real headache in the Civil War, through what appears to be almost gladiatorial combat in Arizona during the Indian Campaigns, through determined pilots, sailors in WWII, and some really hard-as-woodpecker-lips soldiers in Korea and Vietnam.

Medal of Honor recipient Richard E Fleming. Courtesy the CMOHS.

Civil War – Private Hilliker gets a hell of a migraine.

HILLIKER, Benjamin F RANK: MUSICIAN UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 8TH WISCONSIN INFANTRY DATE: JUNE 4, 1863 PLACE: MECHANICSBURG, MISSISSIPPI, USA
CITATION: When men were needed to oppose a superior Confederate force he laid down his drum for a rifle and proceeded to the front of the skirmish line which was about 120 feet from the enemy. While on this volunteer mission and firing at the enemy he was hit in the head with a minie ball which passed through him. An order was given to “lay him in the shade; he won’t last long.” He recovered from this wound being left with an ugly scar.

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 3 June

There are fifteen Medals awarded for actions on this day, spanning the Civil War to WWII, including a lot of fights over colors, a too-clever naval officer and the ratings who broke the cardinal rule and volunteered, and a Colonel who went in harm’s way and caused one of his Sergeants to earn the Medal.

Medal of Honor recipient Richmond P Hobson. Courtesy the CMOHS.

Civil War and the Battle of Cold Harbor. The last major “victory” (gained at such cost as to ensure that the Army of the Potomac was going to essentially grind the Army of Northern Virginia to ineffectiveness) of the Army of Northern Virginia. This day, June 3, was the bloodiest of many bloody days of the two weeks of fighting that culminated Grant’s Overland Campaign. Unit colors, as they often do, loom large here, and bearing those colors was a very dangerous, if sought-after, duty. Lastly, I may dig around to try and find out why Sergeant William’s dead colonel was perambulating close to the enemy’s lines – not a usual location to find the commander of the Heavy Artillery unit.
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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 2 June

There are seven Medals awarded for actions on this day. As is common in the Modern Era of the Medal, the absence of Civil War, Indian Campaign, Span-Am and lifesaving awards can dramatically change the ratio of living to posthumous recipients. Prior to WWI, it was unusual, though it happened, to award Medals to people who died during their Medal actions. Today, six of our seven recipients died earning the Medal, and two had to wait more than 50 years to be recognized. I rather like Sergeant Kobashigawa’s attitude.

Medal of Honor recipient Yeiki Kobashigawa. Courtesy the CMOHS

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 1 June

There are ten Medals awarded for actions on this date, nine from the Civil War and one from the Indian Campaigns.  The Modern Era takes a knee.  Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin, Lieutenant Capron, and Sergeant Martin are listed here on 1 June because their citations had no specific dates, just listed a month and year.  In the case of our gallant artillery officer Benjamin, his citation covers from June 1861 to May 1864, quite a span of heroic artillery-ing!

Medal of Honor recipient Samuel Benjamin, shown here as a West Point cadet. Courtesy the CMOHS

Four from the Civil War battle of Fair Oaks, fought 1 June, 1862.  Heh.  Back in the day, the NY Times actually covered things like that, without any snarkitude.  Haskell went on to gain a commission, and was enmeshed in the desperate fighting to repel Pickett’s charge, 3 July 1863.  Interestingly enough, Haskell was killed at Cold Harbor – where that second group of Medals was earned.  Howard had a mixed career during the Civil War, his corps being roughly handled at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg – but he stuck it out and went on to conduct the campaign to subdue the Nez Perce and to found Howard University.
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