Medal of honor (And Civil War Medals) Early in the Civil War, a medal for individual valor was proposed by Iowa Senator James W. Grimes to Winfield Scott, the Commanding General of the United States Army. Scott did not approve the proposal, but the medal did come into use in the Navy. Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861.[10] The medal was "to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war."[11] Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles directed the Philadelphia Mint to design the new decoration.[12] Shortly afterward, a resolution of similar wording was introduced on behalf of the Army and was signed into law on July 12, 1862. This measure provided for awarding a Medal of Honor, as the Navy version also came to be called: "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities, during the present insurrection."[10][11]

Civil War is the first military service acknowledged by a campaign medal. As a result, this medal is worn ahead of all other Army campaign medals. Francis D. Millet designed the Civil War Medal. Its first recipient was Major General Charles F. Humphrey on May 26, 1909 as the Civil War Medal No. 1 was awarded to him. An engraving of Lincoln is placed in the center of the medal and is bordered by raised writing with the text "WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE WITH CHARITY FOR ALL." The head of Lincoln was selected by Millet because it was the only thing that could be used on the medal without misdemeanor to the emotion. It is widely accepted all over the whole country in reference to the Civil War. uring the Civil War, awarding medals to soldiers who had distinguished themselves in service to their country was a practice of both the U.S. government and the Confederate government. The Congressional Medal of Honor was established during the Civil War by order of President Abraham Lincoln, who signed into law on July 12, 1862 a measure that provided for awarding a Medal of Honor “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities, during the present insurrection.” This was the U.S. military medal for which all those enlisted in service were eligible. However, the medal that became the Congressional Medal of Honor differed greatly both in appearance and for the deeds which it could be awarded during the Civil War; by the end of the 19th Century, it was essentially considered a good conduct award that could be bestowed at will.

During the Civil War, there were actually two different versions of what is now referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, one for the Army and one for the Navy. In fact, the Navy Medal of Honor actually predates the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the original Congressional Medal of Honor was modeled after the Navy Medal of Honor. After the war, both Congress and the Grand Army of the Republic awarded medals to veterans of the Civil War. In 1907, the War Department authorized the striking of a special medal to be bestowed upon all living Civil War veterans of the U.S. Army or Volunteer units who had served between April 15, 1861, and April 9, 1865. Financial difficulties prevented the Confederacy from bestowing many medals during the Civil War. The Confederacy awarded only one medal during the Civil War, the Davis Guard Medal, which was awarded to the Davis Guards, a militia company originating in Houston, Texas, in gratitude for their participation at the Battle of Sabine Pass on September 8, 1863. The Confederacy did not produce the medal; rather, it was commissioned by the residents of Sabine City, who also awarded the medal, which was sanctioned by the Confederacy. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was given one of the Davis Guard Medals, and was carrying it when he was captured after the war. However, several medals, including the Southern Cross of Honor, Confederate Roll of Honor, the Newmarket Cross of Honor, and other medals were awarded sporadically to Confederate veterans after the war.

Southern Crosses of Honor were bestowed upon Confederate veterans for “loyal, honorable service to the South and were given in recognition of this devotion.” This medal could not be purchased, the first being awarded to Captain Alexander S. Erwin on April 26, 1900, by the Athens Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on April 26, 1900. Some 12,500 Southern Crosses of Honor awarded during the first 18 months after its inception. Medals associated with the Civil War are highly collectible. Although those given during the war are most prized, those awarded after the war are also desirable.

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