10 February 2008

Medal of Honor: W. Williams


Landsman, US Navy; USS Lehigh

Born: 1840, Ireland

Citation: On board the [monitor] U.S.S. Lehigh, Charleston Harbor, 16 November 1863, during the hazardous task of freeing the Lehigh, which had been grounded, and was under heavy enemy fire from Fort Moultrie. After several previous attempts had been made, Williams succeeded in passing in a small boat from the Lehigh to the Nahant with a line bent on a hawser. This courageous action while under severe enemy fire enabled the Lehigh to be freed from her helpless position.

Note: Landsman Frank S Gile, Coxswain Thomas Irving, Gunner's Mate George W Leland and Seaman Horatio N Young were also awarded the Medal of Honor for their parts in this incident.

According to Wikipedia, Landsman was the lowest rank for enlisted sailors; one with three years' experience, or who reenlisted, could be promoted to Ordinary Seaman. The rank went away in 1921.

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