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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Civil War 1861-1865
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Medal of Honor awarded to John H. James, USS Richmond (1860)


Medal of Honor John H James Reverse

Title: Medal of Honor, John H. James, USS Richmond (1860)
Accession #:
NHHC 1957-2-Z
Circa: 1864
Size: 2 x 2.5
Medium: Bronze
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: engraved "Personal Valor / John H. James / Capt of Top / U.S.S. Richmond / Mobile Bay August 5, 1864."

Citation for Award: As captain of a gun on board the USS Richmond during action against rebel forts and gunboats and with the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Despite damage to his ship and the loss of several men on board as enemy fire raked her decks, James fought his gun with skill and courage throughout a furious 2-hour battle which resulted in the surrender of the rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.


Medal of Honor Obverse John H. James Obverse
Published: Thu May 07 14:12:42 EDT 2020