Medal of Honor awarded to William Martin, USS Varuna (1861)
Title: Medal of Honor, William Gardner, USS Varuna (1861)
Accession #: NHHC 1957-2-AI
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 Martin / Seaman / USS Varuna / New Orleans April 24th & 25th / 1862."
Citation for Award: Captain of a gun on board the USS Varuna during an attack on Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 24 April 1862. His ship was taken under furious fire by the rebel Morgan and severely damaged by ramming. Steadfast at his station through the thickest of the fight, Martin inflicted damage on the enemy, remaining cool and courageous although the Varuna, so badly damaged that she was forced to beach, was finally sunk.