The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration’s creation in 1861. For years, the citations highlighting these acts of bravery and heroism resided in dusty archives and only sporadically were printed. In 1973, the U.S. Senate ordered the citations compiled and printed as “The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973” (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973). That book was updated and reprinted in 1979.
The documentation of these three citations presented to members of the BARNUM Family duplicates that in the Congressional compilation. Some minor misspelling and other errors are duplicated from the official government volume. They are likely the result of errors in the original transcriptions.
BARNUM, HENRY A.
Rank and organization: Colonel, 149th New York State Volunteer Infantry (later brevet Major General, 3rd Brigade/2ndDivision/ XX Army Corps). Place and date: At Chattanooga, Tennessee, 23 November 1863. Entered service at: Syracuse, New York Born: 24 September 1833, Jamesville, Onondaga County, New York. Date of issue: July 1889.
Although suffering severely from wounds, he led his regiment, inciting the men to greater action by word and example until again severely wounded.
Link to the 149th New York State Volunteer Infantry website
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1816, Massachusetts. Accredited to: Massachusetts. General Order Number: 59, 22 June 1865.
Barnum served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and on 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close in shore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well-directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease-fire orders were given by the flagship. Barnum was commended for highly meritorious conduct during this period.
BARNUM, HARVEY C., JR.
Rank and organization: Captain (then Lt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company H, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein). Place and date: Ky Phu in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, 18 December 1965. Entered service at: Cheshire, Connecticut. Born: 21 July 1940, Cheshire, Connecticut
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. When the company was suddenly pinned down by a hail of extremely accurate enemy fire and was quickly separated from the remainder of the battalion by over 500 meters of open and fire-swept ground, and casualties mounted rapidly. Lt. Barnum quickly made a hazardous reconnaissance of the area, seeking targets for his artillery. Finding the rifle company commander mortally wounded and the radio operator killed, he, with complete disregard for his safety, gave aid to the dying commander, then removed the radio from the dead operator and strapped it to himself. He immediately assumed command of the rifle company, and moving at once into the midst of the heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, reorganized them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come. His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with 2 armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing 1 platoon in a successful counterattack on the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of 2 transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion’s objective. His gallant initiative and heroic conduct reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
A Research Guide to the Genealogy of the Barnum/Barnam/Barnham Family in England and North America
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