BY DUANE ALLEN VACHON, PH.D. Marion T. Anderson served in the American Civil War in Company D, 51st Indiana Infantry for the Union Army. He received the Medal of Honor on September 1, 1893.
As the first two articles this year are about Medal of Honor recipients from the American Civil War, I thought it might be interesting to look at the history of the Medal of Honors that were awarded in the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill containing a provision for the medal for the Navy on December 21, 1861. It was “to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war.” Legislation to include the Army was signed into law on July 12, 1862.
While the Medal of Honor is now the highest military decoration attainable by a member of the United States armed forces, during the Civil War, it was the only one. Thus, it was often awarded for reasons that would not now satisfy the stringent modern criteria. For example, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton promised a Medal of Honor to every man in the 27th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment who extended his enlistment. 311 accepted, but because there was no official list of their names, the War Department issued 864 – one for each man in the unit. In 1916, a board consisting of five retired generals reviewed Army awards and recommended that these 864, as well as others, be revoked.
Of the 3,464 Medals of Honor awarded to date, 1522 were awarded during the American Civil War. The first Medals of Honor were given to many of the participants of the Andrews’ Raid, some posthumously. Andrews himself was a civilian and thus ineligible at the time. Mary Edwards Walker, a surgeon, became the only woman (and one of only eight civilians) awarded a Medal of Honor; however, it was later revoked, and then reinstated. Twenty-five were awarded to African Americans, including seven sailors of the Union Navy, fifteen soldiers of the United States Colored Troops, and three soldiers of other Army units. It was common for Civil War Medals of Honor to be awarded decades after the conflict ended and in one case, Andrew Jackson Smith’s Medal was not awarded until 2001, 137 years after the action in which he earned it. Smith’s wait, caused by a missing battle report, is the longest delay of the award for any recipient.
Medal of Honorhttp://image Marion Anderson United States Army
Awarded for actions during the Civil War
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Captain Marion T. Anderson, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 16 December 1864, while serving with Company D, 51st Indiana Infantry, in action at Nashville, Tennessee. Captain Anderson led his regiment over five lines of the enemy’s works, where he fell, severely wounded.
General Orders: Date of Issue: September 1, 1893
Action Date: December 16, 1864
Rank: Captain Company: Company D Division: 51st Indiana Infantry
A portion of Indiana 22 in Howard County was named in honor of Anderson in 2001 by the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Anderson is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery Plot: Section 1, Site 512
The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.
Duane A. Vachon PhD is a psychologist and a Secular Franciscan. He has several books published and has had hundreds of articles on social justice and spiritual issues published. His Doctoral thesis on ethics has set the standard at many universities.
Reach Dr. Vachon at firstname.lastname@example.org