Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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U.S. Civil War - U.S. Army

Andrew Jackson Smith

  • Rank: Corporal (Highest Rank: Color Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: U.S. Civil War
  • Unit/Command:
    55th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 30, 1864
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Honey Hill, South Carolina, USA

Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith, of Clinton, Illinois, a member of the 55th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, distinguished himself on 30 November 1864 by saving his regimental colors, after the color bearer was killed during a bloody charge at the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina. In the late afternoon, as the 55th Regiment pursued enemy skirmishers and conducted a running fight, they ran into a swampy area backed by a rise where the Confederate Army awaited. The surrounding woods and thick underbrush impeded infantry movement and artillery support. The 55th and 54th regiments formed columns to advance to the enemy position in a flanking movement. As the Confederates repelled other units, the 55th and 54th regiments continued to move into flanking positions. Forced into a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy positions, the 55th's Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire. Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued to expose himself to the enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle. Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry Regiment were not lost to the enemy. Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith's extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the 55th Regiment, and the United States Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient Andrew J. Smith
Medal of Honor Recipient Andrew J. Smith
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Clinton, DeWitt County, Illinois
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 16, 2001

    The White House (Roosevelt Room), presented by President William J. Clinton to his grandson Andrew Bowman and family

  • Born: September 3, 1843, Lyon County, KY, United States
  • Died: January 29, 1932, Grand Rivers, KY, United States
  • Buried: Mount Pleasant Cemetery (MH), Grand Rivers, KY, United States

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