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Civil War Medals

There are two kinds of Civil War medals: the Civil War Medal of Honor and the Civil War Campaign Medal.

The Civil War

Civil War Medals

The War Between the States is another name for the United States Civil War that was fought between 1861 and 1865. Eleven states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. They were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

The war began on April 12, 1861 when the Confederacy attacked and took control of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a very hard fought war with over 600,000 lives lost. General Lee of the Confederacy surrendered to General Grant of the Union on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

About Civil War Medals

The highest military medal to be bestowed by the United States Government is the Medal of Honor. It is reserved for those who are exemplary in their service to their country, risking injury or death, and going “above and beyond the call of duty”. Recipients have to have been involved in a military campaign against an enemy of the United States. It is often given posthumously. Each branch of the U.S. military is represented with their own design, except for the Marines and the Coast Guard, who are awarded the Navy’s medal.

The very first of these medals awarded was the Civil War Medal of Honor given to Private Jacob Parrott for his actions during the Andrews Raid. 1522 people received one of these medals from the Civil War, and there have been 3468 total medals awarded since that time.

The Medal of Honor has a five-pointed star with an oak leaf at each tip, mounted on a laurel wreath. The star is hanging from a bar, which has the word VALOR on it, which is under an eagle with its wings spread. In the middle of the star is a bust of Minerva with the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA inscribed around it. On the reverse is space to engrave the recipient’s name. The medal comes with a neck ribbon, which is the color Bluebird 67117 and is 1 3/8 inches wide. The medal hangs from a shield of the same color, which has 13 white stars on it. The stars are in the shape of a chevron and there are three of them.

Civil War Campaign Medal

Forty years after the end of the U.S. Civil War, the Civil War Campaign Medal was established to honor those who fought in the Civil War. It was made official by the United States War Department on January 21, 1907 and was named the Army Civil War Campaign Medal. It was the first campaign medal established and covered the period from April 15, 1861 to April 9, 1865. The period was extended to August 20, 1866 for those who continued to serve in Texas after the war.

The medal for those who served in the Navy was established on June 27, 1908.

These are the two different Civil War medals of this kind. One represents the Army and the other the Navy and the Marine Corps.

The Army medal has an image of Abraham Lincoln and the phrase "WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE WITH CHARITY FOR ALL" inscribed around the image. On the reverse are the words THE CIVIL WAR and the dates 1861-1865. It is surrounded by a laurel branch on the right and an oak branch on the left. The laurel branch was used to symbolize victory, and the oak branch was chosen to stand for the strength of the Union. The Navy/Marine medal features a scene from the battle at Hampton Roads, involving the warships CSS Virginia and USS Monitor.

The ribbon of the Civil War Campaign Medal is half-blue and half-gray, representing the Union and the Confederacy. These Civil War medals were designed by Francis D. Millet and the medals were minted at the Philadelphia Mint. The first person to receive the Civil War Campaign Medal was Major General Charles F. Humphrey. It was awarded on May 26, 1909.