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This is a complete list of Medal of Honor recipients for the Battle of the Crater.

Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government and is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "…conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States…" Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.[1]

21 men would receive the Medal of Honor for their actions in this battle.

Battle of the Crater

The Battle of the Crater was fought on July 30, 1864 during the American Civil War as part of the Siege of Petersburg. After weeks of preparation, on July 30 the Federals exploded a mine in Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps sector, blowing a gap in the Confederate defenses of Petersburg, Virginia and creating a huge crater. Everything deteriorated rapidly for the Union attackers from that point on. Unit after unit charged into and around the crater, where soldiers milled in confusion. Grant considered the assault "the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war."[2] The Confederates quickly recovered and launched several counterattacks led by Brig. Gen. William Mahone. The breach was sealed off, and the Federals were repulsed with severe casualties including Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's division of black soldiers that was badly mauled in the fighting. This may have been Grant's best chance to end the Siege of Petersburg. Instead, the soldiers settled in for another eight months of trench warfare. Burnside was relieved of command for the last time for his role in the debacle, and he was never again returned to command.[3]

Name Service Rank Date of action Notes[4][5][n 1]
Catlin, Isaac S.Isaac S. Catlin Army O-06Colonel Jul 30, 1864 In a heroic effort to rally the disorganized troops was disabled by a severe wound. While being carried from the field he recovered somewhat and bravely started to return to his command, when he received a second wound, which necessitated amputation of his right leg.
Cohn, AbrahamAbraham Cohn Army E-09Sergeant Major Jul 30, 1864 During Battle of the Wilderness rallied and formed, under heavy fire, disorganized and fleeing troops of different regiments. At Petersburg, Virginia, 30 July 1864, bravely and coolly carried orders to the advanced line under severe fire. Also for actions during the Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia May 6, 1864
Davidson, AndrewAndrew Davidson Army O-02First Lieutenant Jul 30, 1864 One of the first to enter the enemy's works, where, after his colonel, major, and one-third the company officers had fallen, he gallantly assisted in rallying and saving the remnant of the command.
Depuy, Charles H.Charles H. De Puy Army E-08First Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Being an old artillerist, aided General Bartlett in working the guns of the dismantled fort.
Dodd, Robert F.Robert F. Dodd Army E-01Private Jul 30, 1864 While acting as orderly, voluntarily assisted to carry off the wounded from the ground in front of the crater while exposed to a heavy fire.
Dorsey, DecaturDecatur Dorsey Army E-05Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 For carrying the regimental colors while under fire.
Gwynne, NathanielNathaniel Gwynne Army E-01Private Jul 30, 1864 When about entering upon the charge, this soldier, then but 15 years old, was cautioned not to go in, as he had not been mustered. He indignantly protested and participated in the charge, his left arm being crushed by a shell and amputated soon afterward.
Hill, JamesJames Hill Army E-05Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Capture of flag, shooting a Confederate officer who was rallying his men with the colors in his hand.
Hogan, FranklinFranklin Hogan Army E-04Corporal Jul 30, 1864 Capture of flag of 6th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).
Homan, ConradConrad Homan Army E-05Color Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Fought his way through the enemy's lines with the regimental colors, the rest of the color guard being killed or captured.
Houghton, Charles H.Charles H. Houghton Army O-03Captain Jul 30, 1864 In the Union assault at the Crater (30 July 1864), and in the Confederate assault repelled at Fort Haskell, displayed most conspicuous gallantry and repeatedly exposed himself voluntarily to great danger, was 3 times wounded, and suffered loss of a leg. Also for the Battle of Fort Stedman Mar 25, 1865.
Jamieson, WalterWalter Jamieson Army E-08First Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Voluntarily went between the lines under a heavy fire at Petersburg, Virginia, to the assistance of a wounded and helpless officer, whom he carried within the Union lines. At Fort Harrison, Virginia, seized the regimental color, the color bearer and guard having been shot down, and, rushing forward, planted it upon the fort in full view of the entire brigade. Also for actions at Fort Harrison, Battle of Chaffin's Farm Sep 29, 1864.
Mathews, William H.William H. Mathews Army E-08First Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Enlisted under the name Henry Sivel, and original Medal of Honor issued under that name. A new medal was issued in 1900 under true name.
McAlwee, Benjamin F.Benjamin F. McAlwee Army E-05Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Picked up a shell with burning fuse and threw it over the parapet into the ditch, where it exploded; by this act he probably saved the lives of comrades at the great peril of his own.
Schneider, GeorgeGeorge Schneider Army E-05Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 After the color sergeant had been shot down, seized the colors and planted them on the enemy's works during the charge.
Simons, Charles J.Charles J. Simons Army E-05Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Was one of the first in the exploded mine, captured a number of prisoners. and was himself captured, but escaped.
Swift, Harlan J.Harlan J. Swift Army O-01Second Lieutenant Jul 30, 1864 Having advanced with his regiment and captured the enemy's line, saw 4 of the enemy retiring toward their second line of works. He advanced upon them alone, compelled their surrender and regained his regiment with the 4 prisoners.
Thatcher, Charles M.Charles M. Thatcher Army E-01Private Jul 30, 1864 Instead of retreating or surrendering when the works were captured, regardless of his personal safety continued to return the enemy's fire until he was captured.
Welsh, JamesJames Welsh Army E-01Private Jul 30, 1864 Bore off the regimental colors after the color sergeant had been wounded and the color corporal bearing the colors killed thereby saving the colors from capture.
Wilkins, Leander A.Leander A. Wilkins Army E-05Sergeant Jul 30, 1864 Recaptured the colors of 21st Massachusetts Infantry in a hand-to-hand encounter.
Wright, Albert D.Albert D. Wright Army O-03Captain Jul 30, 1864 Advanced beyond the enemy's lines, capturing a stand of colors and its color guard; was severely wounded.


  1. Many of the awards during the Civil War were for capturing or saving regimental flags. During the Civil War, regimental flags served as the rallying point for the unit, and guided the unit's movements. Loss of the flag could greatly disrupt a unit, and could have a greater effect than the death of the commanding officer.


  1. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"A Brief History — The Medal of Honor". United States Department of Defense. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |acessdate= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help)
  2. John F. Schmutz (2009). The Battle of the Crater: A Complete History. McFarland. p. 319. ISBN 0786453672. 
  3. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"The Crater". National Park Service. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |accessate= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help)
  4. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Medal of Honor recipients". Civil War (A-L) Medal of Honor Recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. July 29, 2013. Archived from the original on September 1, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  5. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Medal of Honor recipients". Civil War (M-Z) Medal of Honor Recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. June 27, 2011. Archived from the original on September 1, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2017.


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