Tag Archives: Memorial Day

MEDALS OF HONOR FOR THE 1871 KOREAN EXPEDITION

Medal of HonorHAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! As always Balladeer’s Blog marks the event with a few looks at neglected conflicts from America’s past. The servicemen who fought in those actions are just as deserving of being memorialized as those who fought in more familiar wars.  

KOREAN EXPEDITION OF 1871 – A Diplomatic Mission was sent to Korea that year, with the time period’s usual military escort of war ships on such ventures. The U.S. expedition was snubbed on the diplomatic side and then Korean shore batteries opened fire upon the military escort. The Americans launched reprisal raids for a few days then departed, leaving U.S. – Korean relations somewhat cold for years afterward. Medal of Honor Winners:

William F LukesWILLIAM F LUKES

Navy Rank: Landsman 

Citation: June 9th – 10th, 1871 – During the assault on the Han River Forts on Ganghwa Island, Lukes came to the assistance of injured Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The Landsman fought his way through heavy resistance to the fallen McKee’s location and refused to abandon his comrade.

Through swordplay, bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat William received a severe sword cut to the head, a wound which would cause him to suffer convulsions for the rest of his life from the brain damage. When American reinforcements arrived they found the unconscious Lukes had suffered 18 bayonet wounds in the fighting.   

JOHN ANDREWS Continue reading

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MORE MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS FROM THE PHILIPPINE WAR (1899-1902)

Medals of HonorMemorial Day is fast approaching! In keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing items that slip through the cultural cracks I’m showcasing a few of the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the neglected war the U.S. fought in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902.

Arthur M Ferguson

Arthur M Ferguson

ARTHUR M FERGUSON – Lieutenant Ferguson won the Medal for his actions on September 28th, 1899 near Porac on Luzon. Back in April of the same year Ferguson had won the Distinguished Service Cross for dangerous recon work he did against some Philippine forces at Calumpit. For the Medal of Honor Arthur had charged a body of the enemy, inflicting injuries and possible deaths all while capturing a Philippine Captain and returning with the prisoner to American lines.

WILLIS H DOWNS – Yet another member of Young’s Scouts, one of the most famous units of the Philippine War! Private Downs won the Medal for his actions on May 13th, 1899 at San Miguel de Mayumo on Luzon. Continue reading

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THE TEXAS NAVY: NEGLECTED MILITARY UNIT

Texas NavyThe Memorial Day Holiday is marked here at Balladeer’s Blog with items about neglected conflicts and neglected military units from American history. The latest unit to be examined is the Navy of the Republic of Texas. I’ll examine the period from the Texas Revolution against the tyrannical Mexican government up through the Texas Republic joining the U.S. as the State of Texas.

During the Fall Season of 1835 Texas rebelled against Mexico’s despotism and in March of 1836 officially declared their independence. On September 1st, 1835 two Texas ships – the San Felipe and Laura – clashed with the Mexican vessel Correo de Mejico. Maritime fallout from the incident severely limited Mexico’s efforts to prevent the rebellious Texans from importing arms and supplies for the conflict.

By November of 1835 the Texas government established an official navy to serve at sea and along the Rio Grande. Commodore Charles E Hawkins was in command. During the Texas Revolution their navy prevented the Mexican Navy from establishing a blockade of the new Republic’s coast and its port cities. Those naval forces simultaneously raided Mexican merchant ships, plundering supplies for the Texan land forces.  Continue reading

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MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS FOR THE 1871 KOREAN EXPEDITION

Medal of HonorTHE THREE-DAY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IS HERE! As always Balladeer’s Blog marks the event with a few looks at neglected conflicts from America’s past. The servicemen who fought in those actions are just as deserving of being memorialized as those who fought in more familiar wars.  

KOREAN EXPEDITION OF 1871 – A Diplomatic Mission was sent to Korea that year, with the time period’s usual military escort of war ships on such ventures. The U.S. expedition was snubbed on the diplomatic side and then Korean shore batteries opened fire upon the military escort. The Americans launched reprisal raids for a few days then departed, leaving U.S. – Korean relations somewhat cold for years afterward. Medal of Honor Winners:

William F LukesWILLIAM F LUKES

Navy Rank: Landsman 

Citation: June 9th – 10th, 1871 – During the assault on the Han River Forts on Ganghwa Island, Lukes came to the assistance of injured Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The Landsman fought his way through heavy resistance to the fallen McKee’s location and refused to abandon his comrade.

Through swordplay, bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat William received a severe sword cut to the head, a wound which would cause him to suffer convulsions for the rest of his life from the brain damage. When American reinforcements arrived they found the unconscious Lukes had suffered 18 bayonet wounds in the fighting.    Continue reading

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FOUR NEGLECTED MILITARY UNITS FROM AMERICAN WARS

As part of this Memorial Day weekend Balladeer’s Blog offers an examination of neglected areas of United States military history.

Oneida Nation's First Allies Unit

Oneida Nation’s First Allies Unit

4. THE ONEIDA NATION’S FIRST ALLIES UNIT 

Conflict: Revolutionary War

Comment: The Oneida Nation of Native Americans were America’s first allies. During the Revolutionary War most Native American tribes sided with the British but the Oneida Nation, under Chief Shenendoah, led his people to ally themselves with the emerging United States. The Oneida alliance with the U.S. therefore PREDATED France’s recognition of an independent America.

The Oneida warriors fought alongside American forces throughout upstate New York, most notably at the Battles of Oriskany and Saratoga. They also provided desperately needed food and medical supplies for the Continental Army during the terrible winter at Valley Forge. Two treaties were signed and honored to this very day regarding Oneida sovereignty, retention of their land and a yearly ceremonial delivery of bolts of cloth to the Oneida leaders. That ceremony continues once a Continue reading

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THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR: THE FORGOTTEN YEAR

continental armyHAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Here’s a look at the overlooked final year of fighting in America’s Revolutionary War. 

THE FORGOTTEN YEAR OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR (1781 – 1782) – My fellow Revolutionary War geeks and I are forever rolling our eyes at documentaries that act like Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown marked the end of that conflict. True, it was the last MAJOR battle of the war, but there were 13 more months of open bloodshed and another year after that before the peace treaty was signed. 

October 1781 to November 1782 saw General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s campaign to fully recover Georgia from British Loyalists and Continue reading

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U.S. NAVAL BATTLES OF WORLD WAR ONE

Navy in World War OneYes, Memorial Day Weekend is here so Balladeer’s Blog will once again feature a few seasonal posts. In keeping with my blog’s theme I will take a look at more military actions that don’t get the attention that others do. The members of the armed forces who died in those battles deserve to be remembered as fondly as those who perished in more renowned clashes. The army gets more attention than the navy and World War Two gets more attention than World War One so I’m shedding light on two neglected areas at once with this look at U.S. Navy battles of the First World War.

OCTOBER 15th, 1917 – America entered the war just six months earlier and the Navy had been transporting the American Expeditionary Force under General “Black Jack” Pershing to Europe, with additional Navy craft escorting those transport ships and fighting German U-Boats. On this date the USS Cassin encountered U-Boat 61 and, after an hour’s pursuit the German submarine turned to fight the Cassin. After a lengthy exchange of torpedoes and depth charges the Cassin was battered but still afloat, while the U-61 suffered substantial damage also, including the destruction of its conning tower, forcing the sub to break off the action and flee.

NOVEMBER 17th, 1917 – The USS Fanning and USS Nicholson clashed with the German U-Boat designated U-58 when eagle-eyed sailors spotted the German sub’s periscope above the water line. Depth charges from the two U.S. ships damaged the U-58 and forced it to surface and engage in standard ship-to-ship combat. The Fanning and Nicholson sank the U-Boat, becoming the FIRST United States ships to Continue reading

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DONIPHAN’S THOUSAND FOR MEMORIAL DAY

Doniphan

William Doniphan, sporting the Hungover Christopher Walken look.

For Memorial Day Weekend here’s a look at a needlessly neglected U.S. military unit.

DONIPHAN’S THOUSAND

Conflict: Mexican War

Comment: This unit of the American Army was named for its leader, Alexander William Doniphan, who had served in his native Missouri’s Mormon War of 1838. Though Doniphan led troops against the Mormon forces he was instrumental in sparing the life of the Mormon leader Joseph Smith, whom his men had captured.

In the Mexican War Doniphan led his eponymous “Thousand” in the longest geographical campaign since the days of Alexander the Great. Doniphan’s Thousand was with General Kearney when he took Santa Fe and in December they defeated  Mexican forces at El Brazitos on Christmas Day. Continue reading

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RANDOLPH C BERKELEY: MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT

Major BerkeleyRandolph C Berkeley earned the Congressional Medal Of Honor as a Marine Corps Major during action in Vera Cruz, Mexico on April 21st and 22nd, 1914. Berkeley’s daring leadership of his battalion from the initial assault and then through street to street fighting on both days earned him the decoration.

Major Berkeley’s performance was especially noteworthy in the fighting in Cinco de Mayo Street, where his brilliant tactics resulted in an incredibly low percentage of casualties for the men under his command.  Continue reading

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ARCHIE MILLER: MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT

Archie MillerWith Memorial Day fast approaching Balladeer’s Blog will once again examine neglected conflicts, military units and recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

ARCHIE MILLER – Miller earned the Medal of Honor in action against Muslim slave-holders in the Philippines on July 2nd, 1909 on Patian Island. At the time Archie was a First Lieutenant in the 6th U.S. Cavalry. In a raging battle with the slave-owning Moro Muslims the crew manning a U.S. machine gun on a tripod were driven off. Continue reading

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