Over the past four years I have brought you close to 400 stories about Canadian heroes and a handful associated with Canada. You've heard about some of them but most I suspect you have not.
In those stories I have not only told about the medal that was earned, when and for what, but I have brought you something else. For over 17 yrs I have been looking for other information as well about these heroes... something about their lives, and whatever happened to them. Also of great interest is developments in later years, news about posthumous awards to the heroes, buildings and roads, armouries and monuments and new markers and the like. All matters of interest far and above the battlefield action that brought the medal in the first place.
Last week I reminded you of some "December" news about Toronto born Peter Lemon, Zorra Ontario born Benjamin Youngs, Nova Scotia born William Pelham, NB born John Grady, Quebec born Peter Russell and threw in some facts about three of the Queens Scarf men. All but two of these heroes were Medal of Honor Recipients. Most being men I suspect you had never known about till you found this blog.
Today I want to leave you with some more "December Moments", if you will.
Moments and hours that also must be spent to remember and comfort and honour our men and women of today, who have doned the uniforms of the day, and are off on far away duties so that we can sit in peace in front of our Christmas trees and be with family and friends. And as we sit, in the comfort of our homes, many with a chair that sits empty in wait of their return, we pray that they return safe some day soon, and that they know we will always be thanking them for their service.
And before I give some more of these "December Thoughts," I want to note that I am taking a break from the blog for a few weeks... But as Arnie says... I'll be back.
The next blog will be on January 8th. Please watch for it, as I hope it will have some VERY EXCITING NEWS.
But now for some homework! By using the search engine at upper right, you can explore many "December" stories on this site. They should keep you reading till I return early in the new year.
You can start with Bathurst New Brunswick born Hugh Ross, a birthday boy of 14 December. So little is known about him but lots on the event that brought him, erroneously... the Medal of Honor.
Type in the 27th Maine, and you will find quite a few stories about the 3 month volunteer regiment. The Confederates were only a few miles from DC and most of the Union troops were steered of towards Pennsylvania to meet in a little event called Gettysburg, where upwards of 700 Canadians may have fought. Many died on that July day back in 1863 and to this day lay buried in graves in several areas of the battle.
The President offered every soldier that would extend their service days and head of to the battle, a Medal of Honor but most declined and went home. But about 300 stayed to do battle. Turns out they were not needed, but nevertheless demanded the promised medal. Years later they got them... and so did the rest of the regiment that went home.
About 50 years later the men were told to return them, even though the demand was illegal. Much has been mentioned in this site about the event.
Robert Coffey, 15 December born, and another New Brunswick lad went to the US with family when only 8 yrs old. When the Civil War started he would get caught up in the excitement, that no doubt lost its thrill after being involved in some 20 battles including Gettysburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Weldon. On his 50th birthday he would get a nice gift from the US President. It was a Medal of Honor.
Antoine Gaujot, who's deed was on the 19th, was an American born who lived for a time in Ontario with his bother and parents, and possibly a sister. His fascinating story includes the fact that he and brother Julian would both be awarded Medals of Honor. They would be one of about a dozen sets in the history of the medal to be so awarded, and the only set that each, would earn a medal in a different war. The family story is quite bizarre and I encourage its reading on this site. A story that includes him being charged... and acquitted... of 2 murder charges and then becoming himself murdered by his own brothers' son. Is a gotta read!
Robert Sweeney is one of the 21 Medal of Honor recipients who actually were awarded 2 medals. Most on the net say there were 19, but refuse to include 2 others oft mentioned in this space. One of the Sweeney medals was earned on 20 December. For considerable time he was thought to have been from Montreal but it has been showed that he wasn't from Canada.
Yet another New Brunswick recipient was Stephen O'Neil, born on December 23rd. His 3 year enlistment ended up being 29 before he finally got out of the service. Some of the major notches on is belt came from Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania.
Nova Scotia born Joseph Noil, a 26 December life saving hero, needs no introduction in this space. Much has been written here about this black hero, who history had denied the fame a counterpart by the name on William Hall has received for many decades.
Charles MacGillivary, from PEI has also received much attention in this space in the past. He was a WWll hero for actions in the Battle of the Bulge. Becoming an amputee did not slow him down from decades of continued advocacy for veterans, his playing a role in the establishment of the Medal of Honor Society as we know it today, and also the model of grave markers that lay beside the remains of thousands of MOH men across north America. He would also become one of only two non American born recipients to be voted in as President of the MOH society many years ago.
Like Charles, Daniel Campbell was also a PEI man, being born there on the 26th of December. As a sharpshooter with the US Marine Corp during the Spanish American War he would be one of the men protecting the 50 or more who were sent off to cut the communications cables that would later result in about 50 Medals of Honor. Several came to Canadians.. like Daniel. The job was a suicide misioj calling for volunters and all being told to make up their wills the night before as none expected to return. All but a few did.
So there is your homework.. start reading, and hopefully enjoying,
cheers till early January, and PLEASE
Say a prayer for our men and women in uniform...