Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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U.S. Civil War - U.S. Navy

Charles Melville

  • Also Known As: Ramsbottom, James
  • Rank: Ordinary Seaman
  • Conflict/Era: U.S. Civil War
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Hartford
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: August 5, 1864
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Mobile Bay, Alabama, USA

On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during action against rebel gunboats, the ram Tennessee, and Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Wounded and taken below to the surgeon when a shell burst between the two forward 9-inch guns, killing and wounding 15 men, Melville promptly returned to his gun on the deck and, although scarcely able to stand, refused to go below and continued to man his post throughout the remainder of the action resulting in the capture of the rebel ram Tennessee

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: New Hampshire
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Born: 1828, Dover, Strafford County, NH, United States
  • Died: January 5, 1867
  • Buried: Family Cemetery, Old Dover Road (MH) (SR-16B), Rochester, NH, United States
  • Location of Medal: Naval Historical Center, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC
From the CMOHS Archives

James Ramsbottom chose to use the name "Charles Melville" when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Ramsbottom was born in England and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1826. To this day, it is unknown why he chose to fight under an alias.


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