No offence meant to these two professions.
I am often asked ..."How many men earned two Medals of Honor?" The standard answer to that is 19. That's the number you will get at any number of websites on the subject. The trouble of course is that the answer is 100% wrong. Now if you asked how many are currently credited, the answer would be correct.
As a Captain in the Infantry during the Civil war he was performing duties as an Aide camp to a senior officer. When his troops fought at Williamsburg Virgina in May of 1862 it fell to him to lead his regiment in a charge that resulted in piercing the enemy's front lines, silencing several heavy cannons and then in fact forcing the Confederates to abandon their position. For this he was awarded a Medal of Honor.
Later, as the colonel of the 27th New Jersey, he was in command in mid June of 1863 when the unit's term of service elapsed. Many regiments had short terms of service..be they 90 days, 3 months, I year or 2 years and finally 3 years service. This unit's elapsed and he requested the unit volunteer to stay back and not return home. The unit actually ended up staying for about another two weeks in the field of battle.
For this volunteering, he was awarded a 2nd Medal of Honor. (Years later, if awarded a 2nd medal, you did not get the actual medal but simply a bar that would be affixed to the ribbon above the medal.)
The general no doubt was quite proud of his troops and his own accomplishments and one would expect that at public or military events he would show up wearing his two medals. But then the government that awarded him two medals came along, WITHOUT LEGAL AUTHORITY, and said give us one back. After almost 55 years they wanted it back! Daaaaa!
He wasn't the only one treated that way. There were more than 900 others who would receive demands for the medal being returned to government. Many told government what they could do with that request.
Here's another double recipient that most in the know, do not know about.
This one came to me through the great work of the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the US, of which I am a proud member doing my bit. But before I bring this story I should note that what appears in my blog is not necessarily the opinion of my colleagues in the field of Medal of Honor research. There have been, and will no doubt be times in the future when we politely agree to disagree. And this is good as it brings more opinions to the table.
So, lets move on and talk about Adam McCulloch, or McCullock, or McCullough. All three are the same guy. Go figure!
As McCulloch, Adam served a short term with the 27th Maine... same number different unit than above. In July of 1863 the Confederates were posed to engage in a major battle at what would become famous as Gettysburg. The 27th were not far away from the Capitol at the time but their term of service, as above was coming to an end on the 17th. This was a major problem for the North, because they had sent most of the available troops to Gettysburg to greet the men of the South.
In the event that the south were victorious, they would of course then make a move on the Capital at DC. Thus the President and Secretary of War dispatched a request for the 27th to move to DC and remain until Gettysburg outcomes were known. Thus some did and some did not. The unit was promised Medals of Honor to each soldier who did stay, but documentation of those staying, and further babbling at DC ended up with every man in the unit getting a Medal of Honor. All were withdrawn in the same action that removed the 2nd medal held by General Mindil. More on this in tomorrow's blog.
But the story continues. For over 50 years McCulloch was the proud owner of a Medal of Honor. But to this he added a second for his bravery after his service ended with the 27th, when he entered the navy. He served on the USS Lackawanna at Mobile Bay in August 1864, and in the battle was wounded in the leg but refused to leave his battle station until the fight was won. He (and three Canadians) and many others would later be awarded a MOH for their bravery in the battle.
But this was now McCullock's 2nd MOH. (Note the spelling difference while in navy) Again the first medal would be later withdrawn, but more tomorrow on this. So you can see that while he was definately a double recipient, the normal sources do not disclose that. And that does little to portray the real history of the medal.
More on this tomorrow, Please come back, and bring your friends also.