In December 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressionally-approved bill (Public Resolution 82) creating “medals of honor,” specifically for enlisted Navy personnel. In July 1862, President Lincoln authorized Army medals. Like the Navy medals, these were to be “presented, in the name of the Congress” to enlisted personnel who “distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities” during the Civil War. During the Civil War, there was no time limit between the action and award so many recipients gained Medals of Honor in the years after the war ended.

On March 3, 1863, both services made the decoration permanent. In addition, the Army extended eligibility for the Medal of Honor to officers as well as enlisted personnel. The Navy medal remained available only for enlisted personnel until 1915.

The servicemen below received the Medal of Honor during the Civil War and have ties to the Department of the Columbia.
The Medal of Honor

These individuals earned the Army Medal of Honor during the period specified.

Myron H. Ranney (1845 – 1910) 

Rank and organization:  Private, Company G, 13th New York Infantry.  Place and date:  At Bull Run, Va., 30 August 1862.  Entered service at:  ------.  Birth:  Franklinville, N.Y.  Date of issue:  23 March 1895.  Citation:  Picked up the colors and carried them off the field after the color bearer had been shot down; was himself wounded.


Louis Renninger (1841 – 1908) 

Rank and organization:  Corporal, Company H, 37th Ohio Infantry.  Place and date:  At Vicksburg, Miss., 22 May 1863.  Entered service at:  -- -- --.  Birth:  Liverpool, Ohio.  Date of issue:  15 August 1894.  Citation:  Gallantry in the charge of the “volunteer storming party.”


John Wilson Sprague (1817 – 1893) 

Rank and organization:  Colonel, 63d Ohio Infantry.  Place and date:  At Decatur, Ga., 22 July 1864.  Entered service at:  Sandusky, Ohio.  Born:  4 April 1817, White Creek, N.Y.  Date of issue:  18 January 1894.  Citation:  With a small command defeated an overwhelming force of the enemy and saved the trains of the corps.  See here for a more detailed biography.


Hazard Stevens (1842 – 1918) 

Rank and organization:  Captain and Assistant Adjutant General, U.S. Volunteers.  Place and Date:  At Fort Huger, Va., 19 April 1863.  Entered service at:  Olympia, Washington Territory.  Born:  9 June 1842, Newport, R.I.  Date of issue:  13 June 1894.  Citation:  Gallantly led a party that assaulted and captured the fort.

These individuals earned the Navy Medal of Honor during the period specified. Their names are followed by their rank and rate, if known, the date of the action and the vessel or unit on which they served.

Frank Bois (1841 - 1920)

Quartermaster, U.S. Navy., USS Cincinnati, Vicksburg, 27 May 1863