Illinois’ hometown heroes during the Civil War

The stories of Illinois’ Medal of Honor recipients from 1861 – 1865 offered during Civil War 150th anniversary   


 The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by providing information about Illinois’ most courageous soldiers, the recipients of the Medal of Honor, during the 1861 – 1865 conflict.  The tales of these brave men are organized chronologically and by county to make it easier to find particular “hometown heroes.”    

 The Medal of Honor was created by Congress in 1861 to recognize conspicuous acts of bravery and heroism by America’s soldiers.  The creation of this new commendation coincided with the first year of the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history, the Civil War.  Many of the Medal of Honor recipients from the Civil War are from Illinois.    

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.  The citations of the Illinois soldiers provided here are taken from the 1979 U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Report, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1861-1978.  A synopsis of each battle at the center of the Medal of Honor citation is provided, and in some cases original correspondence from other men who fought in those battles is included as well, courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. 

Some of the Medal of Honor recipients were born in other states or countries but entered the Union armed services in Illinois.  In cases where the men were born in one Illinois community but enlisted in another, their citations are included with the county in which they were born.