This Memorial Day the strong Irish presence among Medal of Honor recipients remembered
Irish heroes lead all foreign-born recipients for America's highest honor
The correct title for the military award often called the “Congressional Medal of Honor,” is simply “Medal of Honor,” and those who receive it prefer to be called “recipients” rather than “winners.”
It is the only US Military Award that is worn from a ribbon hung around the neck, and the only award presented by the President in the name of Congress. It is the greatest award given to American fighting heroes. The Irish own far more than any other foreign country.
As John Concannon, who contributed to the research for the book Medal of Honor Recipients 1863-1994, noted in an article for TheWildGeese.com "Perhaps the most remarkable was 'super survivor' Michael Dougherty, from Falcarragh, County Donegal, a private in the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry."
He received it for routing a Confederate detachment at Jefferson, Virginia, which saved 2,500 lives by prohibiting the Confederates from flanking the Union forces.
Dougherty and 126 members of the 13th Pennsylvania Calvary were later captured and spent 23 months in different Southern prisons, including the Andersonville death-camp in Georgia. He was the only survivor from his regiment.
His trials did not end there. As Concannon elaborates, Dougherty was heading for home on the steamship “Sultana” on the Mississippi River when the boilers exploded. Of the 2000 passengers, only 900 survived, Dougherty was one of them. Finally, after 4 years, the 21-year-old Union Veteran reached his hometown of Bristol, Pa. That is why AOH Division #1 of Bristol is called the Michael Dougherty Division.
Further AOH divisions are also named after Medal of Honor recipients. The Col. James Quinlan Division #3 of Warwick, in Orange County, NY, for example, is named for Col. James Quinlan, who, also during The Civil War, led the Irish Brigade’s 88th New York in the battle of Savage Station, Virginia.
During the Civil War, 1523 Medals of Honor were issued. A large number to Irish troops from the Irish Brigade, which fought at Fredricksburg and Antietam.
To date, 3,459 Medals of Honor have been awarded, and nineteen individuals have received it twice.
Thirty-three countries are listed as the birthplaces of the recipients, and Ireland, with 258, has the most by far.
Some of those 258 listed Ireland as their place of birth and even included their county of origin: Cork has 19 Medal of Honor recipients, Tipperary and Dublin each have 11, Limerick has 10, Kerry 8, Galway 7, Antrim and Tyrone 6 each, while Sligo and Kilkenny each have 5.
Out of the 19 men to receive a second Medal of Honor, 5 were born in Ireland. They are, according to Concannon, "Henry Hogan from Clare, John Laverty from Tyrone, Dublin’s John Cooper, whose name at birth was John Laver Mather, John King and Patrick Mullen. Three double recipients were Irish-Americans: U.S. Marines Daniel Daly and John Joseph Kelly, and the U.S. Navy’s John McCloy."
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Curitiba - Thank you. I know. In the US, however and in Ireland where I live part time, a surprising number of people do not realise that.