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Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Medal of Honor at Gettysburg

 
 
The Medal of Honor at Gettysburg Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 8, 2008
1. The Medal of Honor at Gettysburg Marker
Inscription. The U.S. Army Medal of Honor was created in July 1862. The only standards for earning a medal were "gallantry in action" or other "soldierly qualities." With such vague criteria some courageous actions were recognized but many others went unrewarded.
The capture of any enemy flag provided the easiest and most tangible evidence of gallantry, and during the war, this was the most common act for which medals were awarded. However, this method had its flaws. At Gettysburg and other battlefields, some flags were simply picked up after the enemy color guard was all shot down, yet a medal was still awarded.

There were sixty-three medals of Honor awarded for the battle of Gettysburg. Of these, only nineteen were received during the war. Three were issued in the late 1860's. The remaining forty-one were awarded between the later 1880's and 1905, when the War Department was inundated with medal applications from veterans. In a battle, the size and severity of Gettysburg, where so many performed feats far above the call of duty, it was impossible to recognize everyone deserving. As one Union officer wrote of his men, "If I should have been called upon to point out any deserving of promotion for gallantry, I would have pointed to them all."

(Sidebar):
The Confederate government also sought to create a medal to award soldiers
The "8th Ohio" and "Medal of Honor" Markers Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain
2. The "8th Ohio" and "Medal of Honor" Markers
for valor in battle, but due to problems in creating a medal and producing it, they instead established a "Roll of Honor." This was to publicly recognize soldiers who had distinguished themselves. Although some Rolls of Honor were published, only a handful of Confederate units participated, and the rolls only listed name, rank and unit, not the actions the men had done to distinguish themselves.
 
Erected by Gettysburg National Military Park, National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 48.983′ N, 77° 14.208′ W. Marker is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of Emmitsburg Road and Long Lane, on the right when traveling south on Emmitsburg Road. Click for map. Located in front of Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg National Military Park. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "The Isolated and Advanced Position" of the 8th Ohio Infantry (here, next to this marker); Camp Colt (here, next to this marker); 8th Ohio Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Companies G and I, 4th Ohio Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 107th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment (about 500 feet away); 111th New York Infantry (about 500 feet away); Battery I First U.S. Artillery (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
More about this marker. In the lower center is a portrait of Corporal William H. Raymond of the 108th New York Infantry, who was awarded a Medal of Honor on March 10, 1896. Raymond volunteered to leave the skirmish line, posted south of this exhibit, to obtain and distribute ammunition. H received six bullet holes through his clothing during this very hazardous undertaking.

In the lower right is another portrait of a Medal of Honor recipient. Captain J. Parke Postles, a staff officer in General Alexander Hays's division of the Union 2nd Corps, was awarded a Medal of Honor on July 22, 1892, for volunteering to ride his horse, "under a particularly severe fire," nearly seven hundred yards to deliver an order to Union troops stationed at the Bliss barn, which is located some five hundred yards southwest of this exhibit.
 
Also see . . .  Gettysburg Medal of Honor Recipients. A list of the 63 men who received the Medal of Honor at Gettysburg. (Submitted on January 8, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,168 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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