Medal of Honor awarded to William Gardner, USS Galena (1862)
Title: Medal of Honor, William Gardner, USS Galena (1862)
Accession #: NHHC 1957-2-P
Size: 2 x 2.5
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
Obverse: Five pointed bronze star tipped with trefoils containing a crown of laurel and oak. In the center is Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and warfare, standing with left hand resting on fasces and right hand holding a shield blazoned with the escutcheon of the United States. She repulses discord, represented by a male figure holding snakes. It is made of solid red brass, oxidized and buffed.
Reverse: Inscribed "Personal Valor / William Gardner / USS Oneida / Mobile Bay, Aug 5 1864"
Citation for Award: As seaman on board the USS Galena in the engagement at Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Serving gallantly during this fierce battle which resulted in the capture of the rebel ram Tennessee and the damaging of Fort Morgan. Gardner behaved with conspicuous coolness under the fire of the enemy.
It is unclear why the reverse of the medal mistakenly cites him on board the USS Oneida. During the Battle of Mobile Bay, Admiral Farragut ordered his ships to be lashed together in pairs so that if one were disabled, the other could tow it. Galena and Oneida were lashed together and formed the last pair in the Union column. A Confederate shell struck Oneida’s starboard boiler disabling it. Thanks to Farragut’s pairing of ships, Galena was able to pull Oneida out of range of the fort guns.