Closer to home in these blogs, when someone asks who was the first to get a Medal of Honor or Victoria Cross, the above clearly applies. Is the seeker wanting info on the first fellow to have it in his hands, or does he or she seek info on the fellow who's deed was first performed that would later result in the award. Or is he/she seeking to learn who was first authorized the medal. Each answer given would be right, but only one was what the questioner set out to get in the first place. Or more complicated... maybe he/she should have all three answers... and does not even know it!
Back of 22 December I brought you in this space a blog about the first death in the Civil War. Therein I told the story of how Pte Luther Crawford Ladd was with some toops enroute to Washington DC but along the railway, on arrival at Baltimore the troops had to dismount and make there way across town to board another line of track and proceed to DC. A mob attacked the troops and Ladd was killed by his attackers. His was the first death... as a result of enemy action.
That blog also told of the death of a soldier protecting Fort Sumter, an accidental explosion and that he was killed as a result of the explosion. (Another man died days later from same event.) So there you have 2 firsts, both valid answers to a question posed. Well folks... it gets more complicated than that. These two were UNION soldiers. What about the Sailors? And what about the Confederate firsts. That is what today's first is about!
Noble L DeVotie was born and raised in Alabama. He attended university where he excelled and became a valadictorian and then turned to the Princeton theological school for furher education. He then was appointed as a pastor at a church at Selma Alabama.
With the rumblings of a war soon to start up DeVotie decided that his services could be best utilized whilst wearing a uniform and so he joined the Confederate army as a chaplain and with the rank of a Lieutenant.
He would be appointed as the Chaplain for two Alabama state militia companys... the Independant Blues and the Governor's Guards. Devotie would proceed with them to Fort Morgan at the entrance to the Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico.
But destiny had other plans.
It was a very windy day and the currents were high and swift moving. After having borrwed a shawl to provide protection from the elements, the chaplain went out of the dock to board the steamer. But he either slipped or mis-stepped and fell into the fast flowing currents of Mobile Bay and the Gulf. He banged his head during the fall and went under but came up briefly...unconscience. Soldiers made several unsuccessful attempt to grap him with ropes and eventual one dove in but the currents were too great and the body was carried under water and off to sea. It did not wash back up on shore until three days later.
It is said in some circles that his coffin was covered... for the first time in history... with the Confederate flag.
Again, it was 152 years ago today that DeVoite died and thus became the first Confederate death, by accident or any other means in the Civil War
That was then. This is Now.
Yesterday the President of the United States acknowledged the heroism of former Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha in front of his family, several recipients of the Medal of Honor, military and civilian dignitaries, many of Clinton's actual fellow soldiers and the nation.
Google his name and you will find many stories and videos about that ceremony to present Clinton with the fourth Medal of Honor to a live recipient from the wars in Afghansitan and Iraq.
A net search will produced hits for a cute video on his young son playing hide and seek in front of the world and of The President drapping the medal around Clinton's neck. Careful view of the videos will also show others wearing the blue ribboned Medal of Honor around their necks also in attendance. But perhaps most moving to watch is the clip at... http://www.stripes.com/army-veteran-clinton-romesha-receives-medal-of-honor-for-afghan-fight-1.207463 in which Clinton, with tears of emotion overtaking him, talks of the mixed feelings many of the more current recipients have stated, and as oft heard from other recipients, that the medal does not belong to him, but to those he left behind. It is a compelling short clip and I would please ask you to go there now and watch it.
Thank you Stafff Sergeant Clinton Romesha for your service, and a happy anniversary today.
Thank you also to my readers who keep coming back for more. This is blog #56, and I have brought you almost 175 picturers as well. Please ask your friends... and the media... to visit the site. I know of no other that brings as many blogs each week on the Canadians, and others with connections to Canada, and the odd "side trip" if you will, on these heroes who have been awarded the Medal of Honor or the Victoria Cross.