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Medal of Honor Winners from Hawkins/Hancock County

Corporal Harrison Collins. 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, USA. Age 24: enlisted March 8, 1862 at Sneedville, Tennessee; born Hawkins County; dark compl., blue eyes, lt. hair, farmer; deserted at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee September 16, 1862; Nov 62/Apr 63 - roll call has present; left sick in hospital at Winchester, Tennesssee, July 29, 1863; promoted to Corporal on March 1, 1864; transferred to H Company April 15, 1865; captured a rebel flag at Lynville, Tennesse for which Congress awarded him a medal. (His act of heroism was on December 24, 1864 in TN. In 1989, his body was moved from a cemetery in Ozark County, Missouri to Springfield National Cemetery. Tombstone: born Mch 10, 1836; died Dec 25, 1890 - Posted on Medal of Honor Resting Places, www.

Major Gaines Lawson, 4th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, USA. Age 21; enlisted December 21, 1862, Rogersville, TN; promoted from Pvt. to 1st Sgt, April 15, 1863; promoted from 1st Sgt. to Captain, April 1, 1864; Citation: went to the aid of wounded comrade betweent he lines and carried him to a place of safety - at McMinnville,TN, October 3, 1863 - issued June 11, 1895. He was listed in the 61st Mounted Infantry, B Company, but evidently deserted and joined US. He enlisted 61st on September 24, 1862 at Rogersville, TN, but on November 10, 1862 roll has that he was absent without leave; and again Jan/Feb 1863 & Mch/Apr 1863 was listed as being at home without leave.

The History of the Medal of Honor

The Congressional Medal of Honor is our nation's highest military award for bravery. Under the present regulatory guidelines, established by Congress during July 1918, a Medal of Honor recipient must have displayed personal bravery or self-sacrifice beyond the call of duty. Each armed service has established additional regulatory requirements to ensure only the most worthy are recipients of this highly coveted, greatly respected Medal.

The first recipients of the Medal of Honor were six Union Army volunteers. Disguised as civilians, these members of Andrew's Raiders attacked Confederate railroad transportation lines from Big Shanty, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee. On March 25, 1863, six of Andrew's Raiders following their parole from a Confederate prison, were presented with the Medal of Honor by then Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton.

From 1863 through the present, only 3,408 individuals have received the Medal of Honor - two of our men were among those.

Excerpts from diary of Gaines Lawson - January 2, 1864 - At Point Burnside Ky with command E mount for Knoxville Tenn together. My men belonging to 4th Tenn Inf who were captured and at McMinnville Tenn. Left Camp Nelson Ky December 26th 1863.

January 2 - Left Point Burnside Ky. Camped Cumberland River on a Pontoon. Marched to the top of Sloans Hill and camped. Had to pull my 32 wagons up Sloans Hill ice from the top to bottom.

January 3 - Still in camp at Sloans Hill. Rain and some snow. Very cold.

See more of the Lawson Diary HERE

Medal of Honor Dedication Ceremony In May 1997, I was contacted for assistance by the Knoxville Military Entrance Processing Station, Department of Defense, in locating present-day living relatives of medal of honor winners. These relatives were presented a plaque on behalf of their ancestors. I was priviledged to be invited to this ceremony which took place at Knoxville where twenty-two brave men were honored. - S.Johnston.

(Photo by Sheila Johnston)

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Copyright © 1999/2000/2001/2003/2004 by Sheila Weems Johnston, Rogersville, TN