American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Civil War Medals & Stories

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Benjamin F. Butler created 1864 medal for black troops
Although the U.S. military has awarded medals for bravery in the 19th century there was only one medal struck as an award to a body of troops for a particular battle. The 1864 "Colored Troops before Richmond" medal - a reminder of the bravery of black troops in the Union Army. The general in charge of the black troops in Virginia in 1984 was Benjamin F. Butler - known as "Beast" Butler because of his harsh military rule in New Orleans in 1862. Butler was so impressed with his black regiments that he set out to have a medal struck in honor of those whose feats went well beyond the call of duty.

State still has Civil War medals for 200 in black Union companies
7 months after the Civil War ended and one week before the 13th Amendment made slavery unconstitutional, two West Virginia companies of an all-black Union Army regiment gathered to get their final pay and discharge papers. The date was Dec. 13, 1865, and the place was Camp Cadwalader where the men of the 45th U.S. Colored Infantry began their basic training in June 1864. The discharge at Camp Cadwalader ended an 18-month tour of duty that took the men of the 45th, one of 170 African-American military units formed near the end of the Civil War, from trenches facing the Confederate capital of Richmond to the Mexican frontier.

Antietam museum receives original Civil War Medal of Honor   (Article no longer available from the original source)
An original Medal of Honor given to 1st Lt. George W. Hooker, 4th Vermont Infantry, for his actions during the Battle of South Mountain will be donated to the museum at Antietam National Battlefield. He was given the medal for the single-handed capture of 116 Confederate soldiers and their colors at the Battle of Crampton's Gap on Sept. 14, 1862. Henry Willard, a direct descendent of Hooker will present the medal to Antietam park superintendent John Howard. Antietam historian Ted Alexander will speak on the Medal of Honor in the Civil War and the Maryland Campaign. His talk will cover the medals awarded at Antietam.

TV show to focus on stolen Medals of Honor
"The Medal of Honor Heist" episode of "America`s Most Wanted" wants to crack a case they feel endangers the honor of U.S. service members who have received the nation`s highest award for valor. The episode re-enacts the June 27, 2004, theft of 7 Medals of Honor from a display case in the museum by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Viewers will be asked to call the program`s hotline if they have tips that could help recover the medals. The Medal of Honor exhibit is part of the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Each of the nabbed awards is inscribed with the recipient`s name.

Black Union soldier won Medal of Honor for uncommon valor   (Article no longer available from the original source)
First Sgt. Powhatan Beaty, a member of Company G of the 5th Infantry Regiment U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War, received the Medal of Honor for uncommon valor. He joined the Union Army in 1863. The next year Gen. Ulysses Grant ordered a surprise attack against the Richmond lines. 3 black regiments participated in an assault on New Market Heights. In 30 minutes, the commanders and color-bearers were picked off by Confederate sharpshooters. Under intense fire, Beaty recovered the flag and took charge of his company. They fought to within 30 feet of the earthworks before the Confederates retreated.

Wallace Medal of Honor decision seen soon
Last year was a good year for "Ottawa's most famous soldier" - Civil War Brig. Gen. W.H.L. Wallace's battlefield heroism was enhanced in a book. But this year may be as good a year as it gets for a Civil War hero. It could be that 2007 will be when a decision is reached on whether Wallace gets the Medal of Honor for his leadership at the 1862 battle of Shiloh, where he was mortally wounded. And chances of a favorable decision seem very good, says Larry Doherty. The movement to get the medal of Honor for Wallace, which began in 2002, was based on research done by Doherty.

Vermont Museum is Given an Old Medal of Honor
Vermont's military museum has been given a valuable piece of history. A descendant of a Union soldier who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor has donated the medal -- actually two medals -- to the Vermont Veterans Military Museum and Library. The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military award. There are two connected with the history of Private Thomas Cosgrove because he was awarded an original two decades after the war for his actions in capturing 7 armed Confederate soldiers who were holed up in a cellar near Richmond in 1864. Later, he was given a replacement medal which by then had been redesigned.

Medals Awarded to Indian Civil War Hero stealed
Thieves have stolen a pair of presidential medals awarded to a Seneca Indian who wrote the final draft of the surrender terms that ended the Civil War. The medals were awarded after the war to Union officer Ely Parker, the son of an Iroquois chief who became General Ulysses S. Grant's right-hand man during the civil war. The head of the historical society says the items are "extremely valuable." As Grant's adjutant, Parker wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox.

Behind enemy lines to steal a Confederate train
William Pittenger, one of the first six soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor, is buried in a Fallbrook cemetery. In 1862 he and other Union soldiers went behind enemy lines to steal a Confederate train. The stolen train ran out of fuel, and the soldiers were captured - 8 were hanged. Pittenger became prisoners of war. Edwin Stanton and President Abraham Lincoln presented the Medal of Honor to Pittenger and his comrades in 1863. Wayman gave Arnold custody of a sword. The sword and other Pittenger memorabilia will go on display. As for Pittenger's medal, it was sold after being given to a relative, and its whereabouts are unknown.

Only Woman Medal of Honor Holder Ahead of Her Time   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Union Army wouldn't hire women doctors, so Ann Walker volunteered as a nurse and treated wounded soldiers at the Battle of Bull Run. In 1862, she received an Army contract as an assistant surgeon with the 52nd Ohio Infantry. The first woman doctor to serve with the Army Medical Corps, Walker cared for wounded troops in Tennessee and in Georgia during the Battle of Atlanta. Confederate troops captured her on April 10, 1864, and held her until prisoners exchange on Aug. 12, 1864. The Army nominated Walker for the Medal of Honor. President Andrew Johnson signed the citation on Nov. 11, 1865. Her citation cites her wartime service, but not valor in combat.