Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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

John Williams

  • Rank: Captain of the Maintop (Highest Rank: Master's Mate)
  • Conflict/Era: U.S. Civil War
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Pawnee
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 26, 1861
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Matthias Point, Virginia, USA
Served as captain of the maintop of the U.S.S. Pawnee in the attack upon Mathias Point, 26 June 1861, Williams told his men, while lying off in the boat, that every man must die on his thwart sooner than leave a man behind. Although wounded by a musket ball in the thigh he retained the charge of his boat; and when the staff was shot away, held the stump in his hand, with the flag, until alongside the Freeborn.
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Louisiana
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Born: 1828, Blair County, PA, United States
  • Died:

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