African American Recipients of the Medal of Honor

A Biographical Dictionary, Civil War through Vietnam War


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About the Book

The Medal of Honor, one of the world’s most highly revered military decorations, has been awarded to 3,457 men and one woman since its inception on December 21, 1861. This honor is bestowed upon those individuals who demonstrate courage in a life-threatening situation, who put their own lives at risk for the sake of others, and who display valor above and beyond the call of duty.
This text details the stories of the 88 African Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Each entry chronicles the acts of bravery and courage that led to the serviceman’s receiving this honor. Beginning with a brief history of the Medal of Honor, the book is then divided into eight sections covering every major conflict from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. An appendix of the number of medals awarded by wars and campaigns, a bibliography, and an index are included.

About the Author(s)

The late Charles W. Hanna, former attorney and secretary for the Medal of Honor Historical Society, lived in Provo, Utah.

Bibliographic Details

Charles W. Hanna
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 199
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4911-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0463-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Introduction: History of the Medal of Honor      1

1. The Civil War (1861–1865)      7
Landsman Aaron Anderson, USN      11
Private Bruce Anderson, USA      14
Private William H. Barnes, USA      15
1st Sergeant Powhatan Beaty, USA      16
Contraband Robert Blake, USN      17
1st Sergeant James H. Bronson, USA      19
Landsman William H. Brown, USN      20
Landsman Wilson Brown, USN      21
Sergeant William Harvey Carney, USA      22
Seaman Clement Dees, USN      26
Sergeant Decatur Dorsey, USA      29
Sergeant Christian A. Fleetwood, USA      30
Private James Gardiner, USA      33
Sergeant James H. Harris, USA      35
Private Thomas R. Hawkins, USA      36
Sergeant Alfred B. Hilton, USA      37
Sergeant Milton M. Holland, USA      38
Corporal Miles James, USA      40
1st Sergeant Alexander Kelly, USA      42
Landsman John Henry Lawson, USN      43
Engineer’s Cook James Mifflin, USN      44
Seaman Joachim Pease, USN      45
1st Sergeant Robert A. Pinn, USA      46
1st Sergeant Edward Ratcliff, USA      48
Color Sergeant Andrew Jackson Smith, USA      49
Private Charles Veal, USA      53

2. The Indian Wars (1866–1890)      55
Sergeant Thomas Boyne, USA      57
Sergeant Benjamin Brown, USA      59
Sergeant John Denny, USA      61
Private Pompey Factor, USA      63
Corporal Clinton Greaves, USA      65
Sergeant Henry Johnson, USA      67
Sergeant George Jordan, USA      73
Sergeant William McBryar, USA      74
Corporal Isaiah Mays, USA      75
Private Adam Paine, USA      78
Trumpeter Isaac Payne, USA      79
Sergeant Thomas Shaw, USA      81
Sergeant Emanuel Stance, USA      82
Private Augustus Walley, USA      85
Sergeant John Ward, USA      89
1st Sergeant Moses Williams, USA      90
Corporal William O. Wilson, USA      94
Sergeant Brent Woods, USA      96

3. Peacetime from 1872 to 1890      99
Ship’s Cook Daniel Atkins, USN      100
Ordinary Seaman John Davis, USN      101
Seaman Alphonse Girandy, USN      102
Seaman John Johnson, USN      102
Cooper William Johnson, USN      103
Seaman Joseph B. Noil, USN      104
Seaman John Smith, USN      104
Ordinary Seaman Robert Augustus Sweeney, USN      105

4. The Spanish-American War (1898)      107
Sergeant Edward L. Baker, Jr., USA      109
Private Dennis Bell, USA      112
Private Fitz Lee, USA      114
Fireman First Class Robert Penn, USN      115
Private William H. Thompkins, USA      116
Private George Henry Wanton, USA      117

5. World War I (1914–1918)      119
Corporal Freddie Stowers, USA      121

6. World War II (1941–1945)      123
2nd Lieutenant Vernon J. Baker, USA      124
Sergeant Edward A. Carter, Jr., USA      126

7. The Korean War (1950–1953)      137
Sergeant Cornelius H. Charlton, USA      138
Private First Class William H. Thompson, USA      142

8. The Vietnam War (1960–1975)      145
Private First Class James Anderson, Jr., USMC      146
Sergeant Webster Anderson, USA      147
Sergeant Eugene Ashley, Jr., USA      149
Private First Class Oscar P. Austin, USMC      151
Sergeant William Maud Bryant, USA      152
Sergeant Rodney Maxwell Davis, USMC      154
Private First Class Robert H. Jenkins, Jr., USMC      156
Specialist Sixth Class Lawrence Joel, USA      157
Specialist Fifth Class Dwight Hal Johnson, USA      159
Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson, USMC      162
Private First Class Garfield M. Langhorn, USA      163
Sergeant Matthew Leonard, USA      165
Sergeant Donald Russell Long, USA      166
Private First Class Milton L. Olive, III, USA      167
Captain Riley L. Pitts, USA      169
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Calvin Rogers, USA      170
1st Lieutenant Ruppert L. Sargent, USA      173
Specialist 5th Class Clarence Eugene Sasser, USA      174
Sergeant Clifford Chester Sims, USA      176
1st Lieutenant John Earl Warren, USA      177
1st Lieutenant John R. Fox, USA      128
Private First Class Willy F. James, Jr., USA      130
Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers, USA      131
1st Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas, USA      132
Private George Watson, USA      135

Appendix: Number of Medals of Honor Awarded, by Wars and Campaigns      179
Bibliography      181
Index      185

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Helps shed new light…many of the individuals covered here are not treated anywhere else”—Booklist
  • “Interesting…pays tribute to all Americans”—Military Heritage
  • “A handy guide”—The Civil War News
  • “An absorbing read. Hanna’s important research will be of interest not only to those researching the African American experience but to any war enthusiast or military historian”—Colorado Libraries
  • “Details the stories of the 88 African Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Each entry chronicles the acts of bravery and courage that led to the serviceman’s receiving this honor”—Chicago Defender