William Henry Barnes, Medal of Honor Recipient   Leave a comment


William Henry Barnes

William Henry Barnes (c. 1840 or 1845-December 24, 1866) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War and a recipient of America’s highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor.

Biography Barnes worked as a farmer before enlisting in the Army from Norfolk, Virginia, on February 11, 1864. He joined as a private into Company C of the 38th United States Colored Infantry Regiment. His enlistment papers record his age as 23, implying a birth year of 1840 or 1841, but other sources give his birth as 1845.[1]

At the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, on September 29, 1864, Barnes’ regiment was among a division of black troops assigned to attack the center of the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights.[1] The defenses consisted of two lines of abatis and one line of palisades manned by Brigadier General John Gregg’s Texas Brigade. The attack was met with intense Confederate fire; over fifty percent of the black troops were killed, captured, or wounded.[2] Barnes was awarded the Medal of Honor for being “[a]mong the first to enter the enemy’s works; although wounded.”[3] His medal was issued six months after the battle, on April 6, 1865,[3] and he was promoted to Sergeant another three months later, on July 1, 1865.[2]

Barnes remained in the Army after the war, traveling to Texas with his regiment. He died of tuberculosis at an Army hospital in Indianola on December 24, 1866. A marker in his memory was placed in San Antonio National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.[2]

[edit] Medal of Honor citationRank and organization: Private, Company C, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., September 29, 1864. Entered service at:——. Birth: St. Marys County, Md. Date of issue April 6, 1865.[3]

Citation:

Among the first to enter the enemy’s works; although wounded

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Posted February 22, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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