In fact Sweeney was a double recipient and one of the 19 always noted as being the only double recipients in the history of the Medal of Honor. Despite evidence in past blogs that there were at least two others. Two who became victims of the Rule of Law, or more accurately stated, lacked the benefits of the Rule of Law. A concept soon to be addressed in this space.
Recent evidence suggests that Noil alone was from Canada. All of course were men of colour. The stories of each have been oft told in past blogs. You can use the search engine at upper right of this page to learn more about their stories.
I note also that whilst Women's History Month in the US was in March, I again remind readers that we in Canada celebrate it in October.
And any discussions re the month ought also to include the ultimate price 5 Canadian women paid in what the US calls the longest war ever, when referring to the battles in Afghanistan. They of course seem to forget the several decades long war the US white man and others fought against the US native Indians.
Here are images of the 5 Canadian women, by date of their tragic deaths. Four where soldiers and the 5th was a journalist.
As US Women's History Month has now slipped away for this year, I hope you also remembered the story of Doctor Mary Walker, the Civil War doctor, spy, POW, women's advocate and so much more.
For her services, President Abraham Lincoln decided in early 1865 to award her the Medal of Honor. History had yet to yield the date he made the decision. But then along came John Wilkes Booth who took the President's life before he could actually present the Doctor with the medal. That was left to the next president in line... Andrew Johnson.
Look carefully at the above image and note the highlighted section at bottom right. That was the only known coverage of the event that day in this paper.
In 1865 many of the soldiers and sailors of the day had never heard of the medal. Many who did were not at all that impressed with it, simply calling it a badge. Many recipients would throw it into a corner drawer somewhere soon to be almost forgotten about. Forgotten in many case until a family member found it and started asking questions.
Search my site for stories of families in the Leonard Chadwick, Joseph Noil, BF Youngs and George Wortman cases and see how family stumbled onto this heritage and the heroism of a relative from long ago. Read earlier blogs here also about John Hayes and how this hero did not even know he was a recipient, until about 50 years later. That's when he read about it in an old, yet very official government document.
Here is what the above paragraph had to say about the Walker award...
And here is an actual image of her Medal of Honor... It looks like someone has added the ribbon over the years.
But first, a quick look at the very first, (according to some,) Medal of Honor.
He organized 8 civilians to take over a train deep in Confederate held territory, and ride it north burning bridges and tearing up rail line enroute as well as cutting telegraph lines. The effect would have massive implications for the South. The very line in question was a most important supply route for Confederate supplies and troops.
The plan fell apart when the sole fellow who was to conduct the train did not show up. Turns out he got called up and drafted into Confederate service.
In April of 1862 Andrews put another plan in place to travel hundreds of miles into enemy territory with a band of soldiers in civilian clothing, capture a train and head north again. Their story has been oft mentioned in this space in the past.
Of the 22 men selected, Andrews and another were civilians.The daring caper to capture the train stealers made national news and at least 2 movies and numerous books have told the tale.
When the locomotive named "the General" ran out of fuel, the Union soldiers abandoned it and fled in all directions. But soon most were caught. Some never.
Thrown in jails and abused regularly, 8 were given sham trials, convicted and hung in short order. And speaking of short, Andrews was tall. The gallows was short. His feet hit the ground, so he and another in same boat were forced to sit and watch their comrades swing for hours and then the ground readjusted and the two successfully hung.
One of the "raiders" was a soldier named Jacob Parrott, shown at right in above picture. As one of the youngest prisoners, the confederates thought he would be the easiest to break to discover who their leader was. In the process he was striped naked, and strapped across a large rock, and held down by 4 Confederate soldiers one on each arm and leg, while a 5th pointed a gun at him in order that he not squirm around in any manner to reduce the pain being inflicted.
After 100 lashes and just before collapsing the cowardly abusers panicked that if he died, there would be serous questions asked of the torturers. Then and ony then did the whipping stop.
Later he and 5 others were released in a Prisoner of War exchange and all immediately traveled to Washington to brief the officials of their mission, and results.
After a few days briefing they were escorted by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to meet President Lincoln. But before this meeting Stanton presented the six Union soldiers each with a Medal of Honor. The youngest of the 6, and who endured the most punishment... Jacob Parrott, was the first to be awarded the medal.
According to the way history has been recorded, this was the first medal ever awarded.
While recorded as the first ever Medal of Honor, past readers in this space know that I have often identified the "first" in 3 ways.
Here are the 3... and a 4th to boot. This could refer to WHEN the medal was actually presented. It could also mean WHEN it was actually received through the post, and it could also mean WHEN the formal documents were signed making the award. Yet further, it could refer to the DATE the action took place that resulted in the award.
Having said that, have a look at this document...
Within this document is the following....
And that fellow's name was Jacob Parrott!
I will return to tell you how the Rule of Law plays in all of this, and much more on Easter Sunday... 12 April... the very day of the Andrews Raid.
In the mean time stay out of harm's way during the terrible epidemic, and know that we all care for each and every one of you.
NOTE: As you can hopefully appreciate, I spend a lot of time researching and doing all that is involved in bringing you these stories. I of course have been giving over 500 of them away for free for the last eight years.
You can help me by bringing me any news or tidbits you may have that touches on the subject matter.
You can further help me with this blog, the ONLY ONE I am aware of in North America that concentrates on the Canadian side of the MOH story, by sharing it with your friends and neighbours. You may not know it but they might just be very interested in Canadian history.
Of great help to the blog also would be your taking a few minutes to let your local media know of the work this blog does. Remind them that Medal of Honor recipients come from many corners of the country. And every inch between had been represented by these unknown heroes going back to Civil War days and almost every US war since.
And these stories should be covered by these media outlets. But this will only happen if you take a few minutes and show your appreciation by sharing my work with them.
cheers till the next blog,