That spanking took place just 32 miles south West of Washington DC and along the Bull River in Virgina close to the city of Manassis. It was here in July of 1861 that ill trained Northern troops tackled ill trained Confederate troops. A thousand men would fall to wounds or death or would be captured in an hour. And the same numbers would be repeated for each of another four hours. When all was said and done the First Battle of Bull Run, or Manassis was over and the Confederates had given out their spanking to the Union troops who high tailed it off back to DC. Had the Confederates better leadership they might have pursued the Union soldiers and today what lies to the south of Canada might have been called the Confederates States of America.
The humiliation and the demoralizing affects were no doubt on the minds of the United States Congress and both houses were clearly looking for ways to jack up their troops. At about this time Brig. General Edward Townsend, pictured on left, was the Assistant Adjutant General of the Union Army. One of his roles was looking out for the welfare of his troops. He and others thought it was time that a medal be created to motivate the men to do better on the battle-field. He brought his idea to Lt. General Winfield Scott, pictured on the right, but Scott, who was the top army General, would have nothing to do with the idea.
By Late November or very early in December of 1861 Welles was making it known that he wanted a medal for the navy. He soon received support from Senator James W Grimes from Iowa. He was then the current sitting chair of the Senate Naval Committee and no doubt had considerable interest in any thing to do with the operations of the navy.
Changes to the wording would come over the weeks and months to come. And on 21 December 1861, 151 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln gave birth to the navy Medal of Honor by signing the legislation that created the medal.
Of the 3,468 Medals of Honor issued from that date, 1,045 of these would go to men of the Navy, the US Marine Corps and one to the US Coast Guard.
And that one would go to Douglas Munro who was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada.