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Richmond in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The First Marine Medal of Honor

Drewry’s Bluff

 

—Richmond National Battlefield Park, NPS —

 
The First Marine Medal of Honor Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 21, 2007
1. The First Marine Medal of Honor Marker
Inscription. On May 15, 1862, during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, Southern marksmen in rifle pits – including two companies of Confederate States Marines – swept the gun deck of USS Galena, severely limiting its ability to fight. The U.S. Marine Guard aboard Galena strove to suppress the fire of the Confederate sharpshooters, who lined the banks of the James River.

When an artillery shell passed through Galena’s side, killing and disabling most [of] the crew serving a 100-pounder Parrott Rifle, Corporal John Freeman Mackie rallied his fellow Marines, shouting “Come on boys, here’s a chance for the Marines.” Mackie then led cleanup efforts under fire, removing dead and injured sailors from the deck and sweeping away the iron and wood fragments that hindered the functioning of the Parrott. With the survivors of the Marine Guard, Mackie then operated the cannon until Galena withdrew from the battle.

For his display of courage, Corporal Mackie became the first U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor. The painting, Corporal John Mackie, United States Marine Corps. by Col. Charles Waterhouse, USMCR, depicts Mackie at the ports of Galena, firing on the Confederate rifle pits.
 
Erected by Richmond National Battlefield
Cannon on Drewry's Bluff Photo, Click for full size
By Greg Lavallee, June 23, 2010
2. Cannon on Drewry's Bluff
Park, National Park Service.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients marker series.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 37° 25.353′ N, 77° 25.362′ W. Marker was in Richmond, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker could be reached from Fort Darling Road, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is located in the Drewry’s Bluff/Fort Darling unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park. Marker was in this post office area: Richmond VA 23237, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. "A Very Neat Chapel" (within shouting distance of this marker); A Permanent Post (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Darling (within shouting distance of this marker); Hot Shot and Wooden Ships (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The USS Monitor (about 300 feet away); Drewry’s Bluff (about 300 feet away); A Perfect Gibraltar (about 300 feet away); Duty Above and Beyond (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
More about this marker. The right of the marker features the painting of Cpl. Mackie mentioned on the marker. The lower left of the marker contains a photograph of Mackie,
Artillery at Drewry’s Bluff Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 21, 2007
3. Artillery at Drewry’s Bluff
Cannon placed here fired down on the USS Galena and other gunboats as they approached Richmond on May 15, 1862. This photo was taken from next to the marker.
with the caption “John F. Mackie in the uniform of a naval veterans organization. Born in New York City in 1836, Mackie enlisted in the Marine Corps at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1861. He died in Philadelphia in 1910. His Medal of Honor is displayed second from the left in his row of medals.”
 
Regarding The First Marine Medal of Honor. This marker was replaced by a new one named Duty Above and Beyond (see nearby markers).
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, 15 May 1862. American Civil War website. (Submitted on December 31, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Richmond National Battlefield Park. National Park Service website. (Submitted on December 31, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Richmond National Battlefield Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 21, 2007
4. Richmond National Battlefield Park
Marker is located in the Drewry’s Bluff unit of the Richmond National Battlefield Park.
View of the river from Drewry's Bluff along site line of cannon Photo, Click for full size
By Greg Lavallee, June 23, 2010
5. View of the river from Drewry's Bluff along site line of cannon
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 3,059 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   2. submitted on , by Greg Lavallee of Hopewell, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   5. submitted on , by Greg Lavallee of Hopewell, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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