Prior to the attack on the heavily protected Confederate fort Carney's commanding officer called out for a volunteer. That man's job was to always be near the Colour Bearer and, if that bearer was shot down, the volunteer.... Carney... must rescue it before it hit the ground and obviously keep it out of enemy hands.
Past blogs have told you about these duties and their importance to the troop commanders, be it in simple field movements or in the face of the enemy.
At Fort Wagner the Colour bearer was quickly shot down and Carey rushed to capture the flag and had it flying high throughout the entire battle.
Carney did this despite having already been wounded in both legs, a hand and the side of his face. After the retreat from the battle he gave back the flag to his commanding officer.
One of these days I shall investigate why the ridiculous length of the delay occurred.
He had to wait 37 years to get the medal, and only got to wear it for 8 years before passing away in December 1908.
While the last and this blog noted that William Carney was the first Black recipient to GET the Medal of Honor, this is what most citations on the internet tell us. Each is technically not correct. While his actions resulting in being nominated predates the actions of all other Black recipients, there were in fact at least 20 other Blacks nominated and actually GETTING their Medals of Honor before Sgt Carney got his.
In the days to come I will again make a contact with this office and this time advise of the importance to Canada, of the 60 or more Canadians that fought with the 54th at Fort Wagner. Perhaps a ceremony is due for us as Canadians to honour our fallen soldiers with those of the US at this famous battle.
On top two soldiers are depicted. On the right of course is Sgt William Carney holding his precious flag. Note the use of what appears to be a cane. And recall that he was wounded in both legs. The second statute depicts the first American Black soldier killed in Vietnam. His name was is Milton Olive and was with a handful of fellow airborne men going through the jungle when a grenade was tossed in at them. To protect his mates he grabbed the grenade and laid down on it to shield his comrades.
He was only 18 years old, when he gave his life for his country.
There are several panels on this monument, containing less than 100 Black men's names. 100 Medals of Honor while the whites got about 1,450.
And among them can be found the names of Joseph Noil, Joachim Pease, and Robert Sweeney. All men whom have been highlighted here in earlier blogs.
There is still more to be said on this topic, but I'll save that till next Sunday.
Please join me then,