Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sgt. William Carney, Medal of Honor, July 18, 1863

Today, I honor of Sgt. William Carney, Co. C, 54th Massachusetts Infantry. Born enslaved in 1840, in Norfolk, Virginia, Carney's family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts after his father, who escaped slavery, purchased them.

During the Battle of Battery Wagener, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863, "when the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier [Sgt. Carney] grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded."    

Although Carney did not receive the Medal of Honor until 1900, his courageous act was the first of the Civil War by an African American soldier who eventually received the medal. 

Carney died in 1908 and was buried in New Bedford, Massachusetts. 


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