Curriculum for Students

Learn the History of Union County Recipients
William Brant, Jr. James Madison Drake Alan Louis Eggers Rufus King, Jr. Thomas E. O'Shea
Julian A. Scott Theodore F. Smith Fred W.  Stockham Charles Joseph Watters John Williams, II

 

 

William Brant, Jr., born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, served the entire length of the Civil War.  He enlisted in the Union Army on May 16, 1861 and served as a Corporal in Company A, 1st New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. In February 1862 he was promoted to Sergeant of Company A and fought in the Battles of Five Forks, Glendale and Second Bull Run all in Virginia.  In the Second Battle of Bull Run (1862), Union casualties totaled 10,000 killed and wounded out of a force of 62,000 while the Confederate army of 50,000 saw 1,300 killed and 7,000 wounded.

Promoted to 1st Sergeant, Brant then fought in the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam in Maryland; Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville in Virginia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (the battle with the largest causalities and “turning point” of the war) and the Mine Run Campaign in Virginia.

When the enlistment of the 1st New Jersey Infantry expired in 1864, Brant re-enlisted into the 1st New Jersey Veteran Battalion.  He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Company B of the Battalion.  His unit fought in the final assaults on Confederate positions at Petersburg, Virginia, where he captured the battle flag of the 46th North Carolina (CSA) Infantry.  For his actions in this battle, William Brant, Jr., was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 10, 1865.

Captain Brant was believed to have been present at General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

After his discharge in June 1865, Brant returned to his hometown of Elizabeth, NJ and eventually became a Lieutenant in the Elizabeth Police Department from which he retired.  Captain Brant died March 1, 1898 and is buried in the Brant family plot at Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ.

 

William Brant, Jr.
1842- March 2, 1898

United States Army
1st Lieutenant, Company B, 1st New Jersey Veteran Battalion
Brevetted Captain, April 2, 1865

Medal of Honor issued May 10, 1865 for actions during the Civil War

 

 

By recommendation of Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant, James Madison Drake was presented with the Medal of Honor issued March 3, 1873 for extraordinary heroism on 6 May 1864, at Bermuda Hundred, Virginia. His citation notes that throughout the day, Second Lieutenant James Madison Drake “commanded the skirmish line in advance (of Union troops) and held his position all day and during the night”.

In 1861 James Madison Drake organized the first company of volunteers raised in New Jersey and declined to be its captain. After serving three months he re-enlisted with the 9th New Jersey Volunteers and remained with this regiment until the war’s end in 1865. He was promoted through the ranks to captain.

When the Union Army crossed into Virginia on May 24, 1861, Drake unfurled the first flag on Confederate soil. He was taken prisoner on May 16, 1864 when Company D, 9th NJ Infantry was surrounded by Confederate soldiers. Drake, along with three other officers, jumped from a fast moving train that was moving 600 prisoners from Charleston to Columbia, South Carolina. Drake and his comrades made their way through three Confederate states and, one thousand miles later, returned safely to Union lines in Tennessee.

In January 1867, under Commander James Madison Drake, veterans of the Civil War were organized into the Veteran Zouaves of Elizabeth. They became a company of the National Guard of New Jersey and were active in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic). They were the most traveled military unit of their time making cross country tours to San Francisco in 1886 and to New Orleans in 1890. The Veteran Zouaves of Elizabeth, under Drake, were part of General, (later President), Ulysses S. Grant’s funeral procession in New York on August 8, 1885.

According to his obituary published in The New York Times on November 29, 1913, Commander Drake died in his home at 116 Jefferson Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ. He was the publisher of “The Elizabeth Daily Monitor” from 1861-1881; “Elizabeth Sunday Leader”, 1882-1887; and, “The Elizabeth Daily Leader” from 1887-1900. He authored “Fast and Loose in Dixie”; “Across the Continent in Red Breeches”; “Historical Sketches of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars”; and, “New Jersey in the War for the Union”. He was also the historian for the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers and the Medal of Honor Legion for both the Army and Navy.

James Madison Drake is a direct descendent of Nathaniel Drake of Plainfield. During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington strategized with his officers in the Drake House during the Battle of Short Hills in 1777. Today, the Drake House, located on West Front Street, is home to the Historical Society of Plainfield.

In 1901, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders made Drake Supervisor of Soldiers Monuments. His recommendation to mark soldiers’ graves is carried on today by Union County’s Office of Veterans’ Services. Flags are placed on veterans’ graves annually for Memorial Day. James Madison Drake is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ.

James Madison Drake
March 25, 1837 – November 28, 1915

Second Lieutenant, Company D, 9th New Jersey Infantry, U.S. Army Brevetted Brigadier General by special act of the New Jersey Legislature

Medal of Honor issued March 3, 1873 for extraordinary heroism on 6 May 1864, while serving with Company D, 9th New Jersey Infantry, in action at Bermuda Hundred, Virginia
 

 

Following his 1917 graduation from Cornell University, New York, Alan Louis Eggers enlisted in the Army from Summit, New Jersey. He joined the 1st platoon of the 107th Machine Gun Company, known as the “Summit Gunners”, because many of the men in this company were from the Summit, New Jersey area.

World War I was already raging in Europe when the United States joined the European Allies on April 6, 1917. In 1918 Sergeant Eggers’s unit was sent to the battlegrounds of northern France. He, along with John C. Latham and Thomas E. O’Shea, received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in combat near Le Catelet, France on September 29, 1918.

Sgt. Eggers’s citation reads “Becoming separated from their platoon by a smoke barrage, Sgt. Eggers, Sgt. John C. Latham and Cpl. Thomas E. O’Shea took cover in a shell hole well within the enemy’s lines. Upon hearing a call for help from an American tank, which had become disabled 30 yards from them, the 3 soldiers left their shelter and started toward the tank, under heavy fire from German machine guns and trench mortars. In crossing the fire swept area Cpl. O’Shea was mortally wounded, but his companions, undeterred, proceeded to the tank, rescued a wounded officer, and assisted two wounded officers to cover in a sap of a nearby trench. Sgt. Eggers and Sgt. Latham then returned to the tank in the face of violent fire, dismounted a Hotchkiss gun, and took it back to where the wounded men were, keeping off the enemy all day by effective use of the gun and later bringing it, with the wounded men, back to our lines under cover of darkness”.

For their actions in battle, Sergeants Eggers, Latham and Corporal O’Shea were awarded the Medal of Honor in 1919. Corporal O’Shea’s medal was awarded posthumously. Memorial monuments for all three men are located in Summit, New Jersey.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Alan Louis Eggers was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Cross from Great Britain and the Medaille Militaire with Croix de Guerre with Palms from France. Italy and Portugal awarded him their respective War Cross medal, and Montenegro (part of Yugoslavia in 1918) awarded him the Medal of Bravery.

After his military service, Alan Louis Eggers worked for the New York Stock Exchange with a New York and Philadelphia brokerage firm. He died in Princeton, NJ at the age of 72 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Alan Louis Eggers
November 2, 1895 – October 3, 1968

Sergeant, United States Army
Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division

Medal of Honor issued in 1919 for bravery near Le Catelet, France on September 29, 1918
 

 


Throughout the Civil War, Rufus King, Jr. served in the Army of the Potomac, the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater. He entered the Army as a private in Company F, 7th New York Militia. He received a direct commission as a first lieutenant in the regular U.S. Army, and was assigned to the 4th U.S. Artillery on August 5, 1861. Beginning in 1864, he commanded Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, in the famous U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade. At the end of the war, King was honored by Brevet to Captain and later Major in 1865. He was promoted to captain in 1869 and mustered out of the army on January 1, 1871.

Rufus King, Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism June 30, 1862 at White Oak Swamp Bridge, Virginia. His citation reads: “This officer, when his captain was wounded, succeeded to the command of two batteries while engaged against a superior force of the enemy and fought his guns most gallantly until compelled to retire.”

Of this battle, King wrote, “After three days of constant fighting we reached White Oak Swamp, and there had a narrow escape from capture…Our battery was made the object of attack by some 30 pieces of artillery concentrated by the enemy in an effort to dislodge us from our position. The fire from the guns was frightful, and there was not a portion of the battery that did not get its share of it…We remained in position from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. the next day, under constant fire all the time losing a great many men and horses from the fire of the enemy, but succeeded in preventing them from building the bridge and crossing the swamp before our army had reached a place of safety.”

King was the son of Rufus King, who graduated fourth in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1833, and was a Brigadier General during the Civil War. He was the great-grandson of Rufus King, a signer of the United States Constitution and, in 1816, a candidate for President of the United States. Today, there are numerous, accomplished descendants of Rufus King. A few famous ones include Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr. who commanded the United States Third Fleet in the Pacific during World War II. Halsey was present when Japan formally surrendered on the deck of his flagship, USS Missouri, on September 2, 1945. Admiral Halsey was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and attended the Pantry School, then located in Elizabeth. A present day King descendent, Halsey Minor, developed CNET, one of the Internet’s first profitable companies. CNET was purchased by CBS for $1.7 billion in 2008. He is a pioneer in “cloud computing”.

After the Civil War, Rufus King, Jr. married Maria Williamson and they lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, NJ.

Rufus King, Jr.
March 21, 1838 – March 18, 1900

First Lieutenant, 4th US Artillery Regiment, United States Army

Medal of Honor issued April 2, 1898 for action against Confederate forces at White Oak Swamp, Virginia, on June 30, 1862

 
Thomas Edward O’Shea was born in New York City. He entered the Army from Summit, New Jersey and joined the 1st platoon of the 107th Machine Gun Company, known as the “Summit Gunners” because many of the men in this company were from the Summit, New Jersey area. On his draft registration card, O’Shea listed 357 South Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ, as his address. His occupation was listed as civil engineer with the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

Corporal O’Shea, along with John C. Latham and Alan Louis Eggers, received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in combat near Le Catelet, France on September 29, 1918. O’Shea, along with Latham and Eggers, were separated from their platoon by heavy smoke and took cover in a shell hole well within enemy lines. Hearing a call for help from a disabled American tank, the three soldiers left their shelter and headed toward the tank under heavy German machine gun fire and trench mortars. Corporal O’Shea was mortally wounded in this action and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on December 31, 1919.

It was General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, Commanding General of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I, who recommended Latham, O’Shea and Eggers for the Medal of Honor. By Act of Congress the medal can be given only for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action”. Each recommendation was reviewed by a board of officers to make certain that an unusual act of heroism is combated.

According to a 1919 newspaper report, Corporal O’Shea was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas O’Shea of Summit NJ and New York City. It was Corporal O’Shea’s friend and fellow soldier, Alan Louis Eggers, who wrote to Mr. and Mrs. O’Shea about the battle that took their son’s life. It was this Second Battle of the Somme that pushed back the German Army’s offensive and ultimately resulted in bringing World War I to an end.

The 107th Infantry suffered the largest number of single day causalities of any regiment in the U.S. Army in any conflict: 1,062 of which 349 were listed as K.I.A. (killed in action). Total 27th Division casualties for the Somme Offensive, September 21 – October 24 were officially listed at as 6,873 of which 3,076 were taken on September 29 – October 2.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Corporal O’Shea was awarded the Portuguese War Cross, the Italian War Cross, and the French Croix de Guere. All of these medals may be viewed at the Carter House, home of the Summit Historical Society.

Corporal O’Shea is buried in the Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in Picardie, France.
 

Thomas E. O’Shea
April 18, 1895 – September 29, 1918

Corporal, United States Army
Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division

Medal of Honor issued in 1919 for bravery near Le Catelet, France on September 29, 1918
 

 
On June 1, 1861, at age 15, Julian Scott lied about his age and enlisted in the 3rd Vermont Infantry, Company E. Being physically too small to be a soldier, he became a drummer. Soon after enlisting, he experienced a bloody battle in what was the Union’s first major offensive to capture Richmond, Virginia, capital of the Confederacy. The attack failed and on April 16, 1862, during the Battle of Lee’s Mills, Union forces were ordered to withdraw. Under enemy fire, Julian Scott repeatedly crossed a bloody stream to rescue at least nine wounded soldiers. In February of 1865, Julian Scott received the Medal of Honor for his heroism in battle. He was 16 years old.

At the end of the Civil War, Scott enrolled in the National Academy of Design in New York City, and continued to study art until 1868 under Emmanuel Leutze, a German-American artist. Leutze is known for his 1851 painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware”. This painting depicts General Washington’s attack on the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey, December 25, 1776. This painting, featured on New Jersey’s state quarter, hangs today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Drawing on his experiences during the war, and, like Leutze, painting in great detail, Julian Scott became one of the pre-eminent Civil War artists of the 19th century. Many of his works realistically depict the life of the Civil War soldier while others are large battle scenes. Scott’s 1872 masterwork, “The Battle of Cedar Creek”, is located at the Vermont State House illustrating the contributions of his home state in the Civil War. Scott’s study of this painting may be viewed locally at the Drake House Museum in Plainfield, New Jersey, headquarters of the Historical Society of Plainfield. One of Scott’s most famous works, also at the Drake House Museum, is “The Death of General Sedgwick”. It depicts the moment Union General John Sedgwick was killed by a sharp shooter in May 1864. This painting is often reproduced in modern day Civil War books. Scott is also known for his paintings of Native American Indians done during his participation in the nation’s eleventh census.

In 1870, Scott married Mary E. Burns, whose father owned the New York Post. In 1875, Scott, his wife and daughter, Bessie, moved from New York City to Plainfield, NJ, where he established an art studio/gallery on West Front Street. He died in Plainfield’s Muhlenberg Hospital on July 4, 1901, and is buried at Hillside cemetery, Scotch Plains, NJ.

Julian A. Scott
February 14, 1846 – July 4, 1901

Drummer, Company E, 3rd Vermont Infantry
United States Army

Medal of Honor issued February 1865 for actions at the Battle of Lee’s Mills, Virginia
 

 

For his valor during World War I at the Battle of Belleau Wood, France, June 13 and 14, 1918, Fred William  Stockham, was awarded the Medal of Honor. Though a Marine, he received the Army Medal of Honor. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Gunnery Sergeant  Stockham was awarded the Silver Star for his gallantry in action June 6 to July 10, 1918 at Chateau-Thierry, France. He was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre medal.

 Stockham's Medal of Honor citation reads “During an intense enemy bombardment with high explosive and gas shells which wounded or killed many members of the company, G/Sgt.  Stockham, upon noticing that the gas mask of a wounded comrade was shot away, without hesitation, removed his own gas mask and insisted upon giving it to the wounded man, well knowing that the effects of the gas would be fatal to himself. He continued with undaunted courage and valor to direct and assist in the evacuation of the wounded, until he himself collapsed from the effects of the gas, dying as a result thereof a few days later. His courageous conduct undoubtly saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades and his conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to all who served with him”.

 Stockham's commanding officer, Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, called  Stockham “the bravest Marine he ever know.” The Battle of Belleau Wood is considered one of the bloodiest and most ferocious the U.S. Army and Marines fought in World War I. Wounded are counted at 7,966 with 1,811 killed. American Expeditionary Forces leader, General John J. Pershing, said, “the Battle of Belleau Wood was for the U.S. the biggest battle since Appomattox and the most considerable engagement American troops had ever had with a foreign enemy.”

Fred William  Stockham, born in Detroit, Michigan, first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1903. From 1903 to 1907 he served two tours of duty in the Philippines and one in China. After being honorably discharged in 1907, he re-enlisted in the Marines in 1912. From 1912 to his discharge in 1916,  Stockham was promoted to Sergeant and served in Nicaragua where he experienced combat. Once again,  Stockham was honorably discharged, and yet, within one week, he re-enlisted again. He listed his residence as Union, New Jersey, where he lived with his foster parents.

Fred W.  Stockham died June 22, 1918 and was buried in France. His foster family arranged to have his remains brought back to Union, New Jersey and buried in Hollywood Cemetery on January 21, 1921. More than 20 years after the Battle of Belleau Wood, and through the efforts of his comrades in battle,  Stockham was belatedly awarded the Medal of Honor by an Act of Congress on December 21, 1939. The medal was presented to the American Legion Post named for him in St. Louis, Missouri.

On March 1, 2001, the US Navy re-commissioned one of its ships to become the USNS GySgt Fred W.  Stockham. This ship, a multi-mission vessel, provides equipment to sustain a Marine Corp Air Ground Task Force for up to 30 days. Cargo may be discharged at sea or in port in a safe, versatile manner. This system assures the delivery of vehicles and critical supplies from ship to shore during both war and peacetime missions.

Fred W.  Stockham
March 16, 1881 – June 22, 1918

Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
2nd Division, American Expeditionary Forces, 96th Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment (Marines)

Medal of Honor issued December 21, 1939 for his self-sacrificial valor
during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I

 

Theodore F. Smith, born in Rahway, New Jersey, received the Medal of Honor for his bravery in battle on October 20, 1869, at the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona. This battle was the biggest of the Indian conflicts in that 32 Medals of Honor were awarded from this one battle against the Apache Indians in Arizona. Smith’s Company G, 1st Cavalry was the second most decorated in the Indian Campaigns earning 18 Medals.

The Indian Wars were a series of conflicts between Native American Indian tribes and European/Colonial settlers in North America and later the U.S. government. Indian lands were invaded to acquire land and resources as settlers moved west to expand farming, ranching, mining and trade. These conflicts forced Native Americans further and further west until the Indians died or were forced to live on reservations.

The Chiricahua, “great mountain”, group of Apache Native Americans, lived in the southwestern United States. They were led by the famous Indian Chiefs, Cochise, then Geronimo and later by Cochise’s son, Naiche. Naiche led the last of this Apache tribe in resisting U.S. government control of the American Southwest. Today, the Chiricahua Apache are located in Oklahoma and on a reservation in New Mexico. In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state in the United States.

Theodore F. Smith’s Medal of Honor was awarded to him on February 14, 1879. His citation reads “Gallantry in Action.” This citation simplicity is typical of Medals of Honor awarded prior to 1900.

 

Theodore F. Smith

(born Theodore Schmidt)
September 6, 1852 – June 6, 1925

United States Army
Private, Company G, 1st U.S. Calvary
Indian War Campaigns

Medal of Honor issued February 14, 1879 for gallantry in action
at Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona 20 October 1869

 

 

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Charles Joseph Watters attended Seton Hall Preparatory School and graduated from Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. In 1953 he was ordained as a Catholic priest and served in parishes in Jersey City, Rutherford, Paramus, and Cranford, NJ. His home of record is listed as Berkeley Heights, NJ. Father Watters, a pilot, enjoyed flying small single engine aircraft. On one occasion he flew a single engine plane to Argentina.

In 1962, Father Watters became a chaplain with the New Jersey Air National Guard. In 1964, he entered active duty at Fort Dix, NJ, as a chaplain with the United States Army, and rose to the rank of Major. He was posted to Vietnam on July 5, 1966 and served two tours of duty. During his first tour, he was awarded the Air Medal and a Bronze Star for Valor. In July 1967, after completing his 12-month tour, he voluntarily extended his tour for an additional six months. Although Chaplain Watters was officially assigned to the 173rd Support Battalion, he often accompanied the brigade’s line units into the field. His Medal of Honor citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Chaplain Watters distinguished himself during an assault in the vicinity of Dak To. Chaplain Watters was moving with one of the companies when it engaged a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged and the causalities mounted, Chaplain Watters, with complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact. Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of the advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation, giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying. When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting forces, Chaplain Watters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders and carried him to safety. As the troopers battled to the first enemy entrenchment Chaplain Watters ran through the intense enemy fire to the front of the entrenchment to aid a fallen comrade. A short time later, the paratroopers pulled back in preparation for a second assault. Chaplain Watters exposed himself to both friendly and enemy fire between the two forces in order to recover two wounded soldiers. Later, when the battalion was forced to pull back into the perimeter, Chaplain Watters noticed that several wounded soldiers were lying outside the newly formed perimeter. Without hesitation and ignoring attempts to restrain him, Chaplain Watters left the perimeter three times in the face of small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire to carry and assist the injured troopers to safety. Satisfied that all the wounded were inside the perimeter, he began aiding the medics, applying field bandages to open wounds, obtaining and serving food and water, giving spiritual and mental strength and comfort. During his ministering, he moved out to the perimeter from position to position redistributing food and water, and tending to the needs of his men. Chaplain Watters was giving aid to the wounded when he himself was mortally wounded. Chaplain Watters’ unyielding perseverance and selfless devotion to his comrades was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

Chaplain Watters is one of seven chaplains to receive the Medal of Honor. On November 4, 1969 Chaplain Watters’ two brothers accepted his Medal of Honor posthumously at a White House ceremony. Charles Joseph Watters is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC.

Major Charles Joseph Watters
January 17, 1927 – November 19, 1967

Chaplain (Major) United States Army
Company A, 173rd Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade

Medal of Honor given posthumously on November 4, 1969 for bravery while rescuing men in the Battle of Dak To, South Vietnam, on November 19, 1967

 

John Williams, II was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey and entered the Navy from New York. He made the Navy his career.

His Medal of Honor citation, issued July 10, 1863, states “Captain of an 11-inch gun aboard the U.S.S. Mohican during action of the main squadron of ships against the heavily defended Forts Beauregard and Walker on Hilton Head, South Carolina, and against ships of the Confederate Fleet, 7 November, 1861. Cool and courageous at his battle station, Williams maintained steady fire against the enemy while under the fort batteries during a 4-hour engagement which resulted in silencing the batteries of the forts and in the rout of the rebel steamers”.

The November 7, 1861 battle, the Battle of Port Royal, was one of the earliest amphibious operations in the Civil War. Throughout the summer of 1861, the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Blocking Squadron was assigned the mission of blockading the entire Atlantic coast of the Confederacy. Land forces, namely the U.S. Army, were needed to gain possession of shore facilities. To aid in the blockade of Charleston, combined northern forces of the U.S. Naval fleet and U.S. Army captured Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, between Savannah Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. Two forts, Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island and Fort Beauregard on Phillip’s Island, guarded the sound’s entrance.

Beginning on November 3, Union forces assembled outside of the sound after being hit hard by a storm on their journey down the coastline. Due to losses in the storm, the army could not land, and the battle became one of ship based guns and those on the Confederate shore at Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard. On November 7, the air was calm, and the Union fleet moved in for the attack in two columns. The main body consisted of nine ships with guns and one without. In order the flagships were: Wabash; Susquehanna; Mohican; Seminole; Pawnee; Unadilla; Ottawa; Pembina; Isaac Smith; and, Vandalia. Five gunboats formed the flanking column. Three others remained behind to protect transports. The Mohican was one of the ships that inflicted great damage on Fort Walker. When firing ceased, the Confederate Commander at Phillips Island, fearing being trapped, ordered his troops to abandon their positions leaving the fort unmanned. The following morning, the Union flag was raised on Fort Beauregard and Union forces occupied this fort.

General Robert E. Lee, who was placed in command too late to impact this battle, chose not to attack the Union gunboats. Instead, Lee withdrew his forces from the coast to defend vital interior Confederate positions.

John Williams’s burial site is unknown.

John Williams, II
1828 - unknown


Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor issued 10 July 1863 for courage shown against ships of the Confederate fleet on
7 November 1861 during the Battle of Port Royal Sound, South Carolina