Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

May 30, 1863: First Marine to earn new 'Medal of Honor'

May. 30, 2013 - 05:41PM   |  
  • Filed Under

Military Times has learned that a former silversmith from Brooklyn will become the first U.S. Marine to earn the nation’s highest honor for bravery.

Just over a year ago, Sgt. John Freeman Mackie was aboard the ironclad U.S.S. Galena, among a flotilla of warships trying to knock out the Confederate stronghold of Fort Darling on the bluffs above the James River, about four miles outside Richmond.

Overpowered by the big rebel guns positioned at the fort, however, it wasn’t long before Galena was only the ship still in the fight.

For four hours, the ship and her crew faced the fort alone with its massive naval guns — known as Parrot rifles — capable of lobbing 100-pound rounds from as much as four miles downriver. The ship’s armor was not enough to protect the crew of one of those cannon, however, when a 10-inch rebel round exploded through.

That’s when Mackie could be heard yelling, “Come on boys, here’s a chance for the Marines,” as he and a team of Marines manned the Parrot and kept the gun in action.

Although initially frowned upon by the War Department as “too European,” medals for valor are now becoming more common. The Navy was the first to establish a Medal of Honor at the end of 1861. Six Union troops become the first soldiers to receive the award last year after hijacking the Confederate steam engine “The General.”

Mackie will be the first Marine to receive the medal in a ceremony slated for July 10 aboard his current ship, the USS Seminole, now serving along the coast of Texas.

The Confederate Congress approved the “Southern Cross of Honor” in October, meant to be on par with the U.S. Medal of Honor, although many of the troops awarded the medal so far have a yet to actually receive the award, because of metal shortages.

More In OFFduty

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

The push for pullups
Why soldiers want it added to PT test

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
   Last Post: MACHINE666
        Apr 6, 2014 4:23 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook