Franklin L. Wilcox OS - Recipient of the Medal of Honor
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member woolsox
N 43° 01.201 W 085° 39.549
16T E 609255 N 4763910
Quick Description: Franklin L. Wilcox OS •Date of birth: 1 Nov. 1830 •Place of birth: Paris, N.Y. •Date of death: 16 Nov. 1898 •Location of death: Veterans Home Grand Rapids, MI •Burial Location: Veterans Home Cemetery Plot
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 11/16/2009 11:48:28 AM
Waymark Code: WM7P3D
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member GA Cacher
Views: 4

Long Description:
Franklin L. Wilcox OS USS Minnesota
•Date of birth: 1 Nov. 1830
•Place of birth: Paris, N.Y.
•Date of death: 16 Nov. 1898
•Location of death: Veterans Home Grand Rapids, MI
•Burial Location: Veterans Home Cemetery Plot 2, Row 7, Grave 9

Medal of Honor
Awarded for actions during the Civil War
For extraordinary heroism in action while serving on board the U.S.S. Minnesota in action during the assault on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, 15 January 1865. Landing on the beach with the assaulting party from his ship, Ordinary Seaman Wilcox advanced to the top of the sand hill and partly through the breach in the palisades despite enemy fire which killed and wounded many officers and men. When more than two-thirds of the men became seized with panic and retreated on the run, he remained with the party until dark when it came safely away, bringing its wounded, its arms and its colors.
Service: Navy
General Orders No. 59, June 22, 1865
Born: November, 1830 at Paris, NY
Entered Service in the US Navy from New York, NY

In the Second Battle of Fort Fisher. During the battle, nine sailors and Marines from the Minnesota received the Medal of Honor as part of the landing party which assaulted the fort. The nine men were:
•Landsman Gurdon H. Barter
•Seaman David L. Bass
•Ordinary Seaman Thomas Connor
•Ordinary Seaman Thomas Harcourt
•Seaman Charles Mills
•Corporal John Rannahan
•Private John Shivers
•Private Henry A. Thompson
•Ordinary Seaman Franklin L. Wilcox

The Second Battle of Fort Fisher was a joint assault by Union Army and naval forces against Fort Fisher, outside Wilmington, North Carolina, near the end of the American Civil War.
Sometimes referred to as the "Gibraltar of the South" and the last major coastal stronghold of the Confederacy, Fort Fisher had tremendous strategic value during the war.

The Union Army under General Alfred Terry and Union Navy under Admiral Porter made well laid out plans for the joint attack. Terry would send one division of United States Colored Troops under Charles J. Paine to hold off Hoke's division on the peninsula. Terry's other division under Adelbert Ames, supported by an independent brigade under Col. Joseph Carter Abbott, would move down the peninsula and attack the fort from the land face, striking the landward wall on the river side of the peninsula. Porter organized a landing force of 2,000 sailors and marines to land and attack the fort's sea face, on the seaward end of the same wall.

On January 13, Terry landed his troops in between Hoke and Fort Fisher. Hoke was unwilling to risk opening the route to Wilmington and remained unengaged while the entire Union force landed safely ashore. The next day Terry moved south towards the fort to reconnoiter the fort and decided that an infantry assault would succeed.

On January 15, Porter's gunboats opened fire on the sea face of the fort and by noon they succeeded in silencing all but two guns. During this bombardment Hoke sent about 1,000 troops from his line to Fort Fisher, however only about 400 were able to land and make it into the defense while the others were forced to turn back. About this time the sailors and marines, led by Lt. Commander Kidder Breese, landed and moved against the point where the fort's land and sea faces met, a feature known as "the Pulpit." The attack was a disaster. The marines were supposed to provide covering fire for the charging sailors, armed with revolvers and cutlasses; instead, the assault went forward in an unorganized mass. General Whiting personally led the defense and routed the assault.

The attack, however, drew Confederate attention away from the river gate, where General Ames prepared to launch his attack. At 2:00 in the afternoon he sent forward his first brigade, under the command of Brevet Brig. Gen. Newton Martin Curtis, as Ames waited with the brigades of Colonels Galusha Pennypacker and Louis Bell. An advance guard from Curtis's brigade used axes to cut through the palisades and abatis. Curtis's brigade took heavy casualties as it overran the outer works and stormed the first traverse. At this point Ames ordered Pennypacker's brigade forward, which he accompanied into the fort. As Ames marched forward, Confederate snipers zeroed in on his party, and cut down a number of his aides around him. Pennypacker's men fought their way through the river side gate, and General Ames ordered a portion of his men to fortify a position within the interior of the fort. Meanwhile the Confederates turned the cannons in Battery Buchanan at the southern tip of the peninsula and fired on the northern wall as it fell into Union hands. Ames observed that Curtis's lead units had become stalled at the fourth traverse, and he ordered forward Bell's brigade, but Bell was killed by sharpshooters before ever reaching the fort. Seeing the Union attackers crowd into the breach and interior, General Whiting took the opportunity to personally lead a counterattack. Charging into the Union soldiers, Whiting received multiple demands to surrender, and when he refused he was shot down, mortally wounded.

Porter's gunboats helped maintain the Federal momentum. His gunners' aim proved to be deadly accurate and began clearing out the defenders as the Union troops approached the sea wall. Curtis's troops gained the heavily contested 4th traverse. Colonel Lamb began gathering up every last soldier in the fort, including sick and wounded from the hospital, for a last ditch counterattack. Just as he was about to order a charge, he fell severely wounded and was brought next to General Whiting in the fort's hospital. General Ames made a suggestion for the Union troops to entrench in their current positions. Upon hearing this notion, a frenzied Curtis grabbed a spade and threw it over Confederate trenches and shouted, "Dig Johnnies, for I'm coming for you." About an hour into the battle, Curtis fell wounded while going back to confer with Ames. Colonel Pennypacker also fell wounded before the battle ended.
The grueling battle lasted for hours, long after dark, as shells plunged in from the sea and General Ames struggled with a division that became increasingly disorganized as his regimental leaders and all of his brigade commanders fell dead or wounded. General Terry sent forward Abbott's brigade to reinforce the attack, then joined Ames in the interior of the fortress. Meanwhile in Fort Fisher's hospital Colonel Lamb turned over command to Major James Reilly and General Whiting sent one last plea to General Bragg to send reinforcements. Still believing the situation in Fort Fisher was under control and tired of Whiting's demands, Bragg instead dispatched General Alfred H. Colquitt to relieve Whiting and assume command at Fort Fisher. At 9:30p.m. Colquitt landed at the southern base of the fort just as Lamb, Whiting and the Confederate wounded were being evacuated to Battery Buchanan.

At this point, the Confederate hold on Fort Fisher was untenable. The seaward batteries had been silenced, almost all of the north wall had been captured, and Ames had fortified a bastion within the interior. Terry, however, had concluded to finish the battle that night. Ames, ordered to maintain the offensive, organized a flanking maneuver, sending some of his men to advance outside the land wall, and come up behind the Confederate defenders of the last traverse. Within a few minutes the Confederate defeat was unmistakable. Colquitt and his staff rushed back to their rowboats just moments before Abbott's men seized the wharf. Major Reilly held up a white flag and walked into the Union lines to announce the fort would surrender. Just before 10 p.m. General Terry rode to Battery Buchanan to receive the official surrender of the fort from General Whiting.

The loss of Fort Fisher sealed the fate of the Confederacy's last remaining sea port. This was important because the South was cut off from the newly forming industrialized global trade markets. A month later, a Union army under General John M. Schofield would move up the Cape Fear River and capture Wilmington.

Medals of Honor
For their actions during the Battle of Fort Fisher, fifty-one soldiers, sailors and Marines were awarded the Medal of Honor:
•Bruce Anderson, Private, Company K, 142nd New York Infantry
•James Barnum, Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy.
•Gurdon H. Barter, Landsman, U.S. Navy.
•David L. Bass, Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Philip Bazaar, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Asa Betham, Coxswain, U.S. Navy
•Richard Binder, Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
•Robert M. Blair, Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy
•Edward R. Bowman, Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•Albert Burton, Seaman, U.S. Navy
•William Campbell,Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy
•Alaric B. Chapin, Private, Company G, 142d New York Infantry
•Thomas Connor, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Newton Martin Curtis, Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers
•John Dempster, Coxswain, U.S. Navy
•William Dunn, Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•Thomas English, Signal Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•Charles H. Foy, Signal Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•William H. Freeman, Private, Company B, 169th New York Infantry
•Isaac N. Fry, Orderly Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
•John Griffiths, Captain of the Forecastle, U.S. Navy
•Edmund Haffee, Quarter Gunner, U.S. Navy
•Thomas Harcourt, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Joseph B. Hayden, Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•Thomas Jones, Coxswain, U.S. Navy
•Thomas Kane, Captain of the Hold, U.S. Navy
•Nicholas Lear, Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•George Merrill, Private, Company I, 142d New York Infantry
•Daniel Milliken, Quarter Gunner, U.S. Navy
•Charles Mills, Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Zachariah C. Neahr, Private, Company K, 142d New York Infantry
•Galusha Pennypacker, Colonel, 97th Pennsylvania Infantry
•George Prance, Captain of the Main Top, U.S. Navy
•George Province, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•John Rannahan, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
•Auzella Savage, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Louis C. Shepard, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•William Shipman, Coxswain, U.S. Navy
•Levi Shoemaker, Sergeant, Company A, 1st West Virginia Cavalry
•Daniel D. Stevens, Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•Robert Summers, Chief Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
•John Swanson, Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Edward Swatton, Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Henry A. Thompson, Private, U.S. Marine Corps
•Andrew J. Tomlin, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
•Othniel Tripp, Chief Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy
•John Wainwright, First Lieutenant, Company F, 97th PA Ifantry
•Henry S. Webster, Landsman, U.S. Navy
•Joseph White, Captain of the Gun, U.S. Navy
•Franklin L. Wilcox, Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Augustus Williams, Seaman, U.S. Navy
•Richard Willis, Coxswain, U.S. Navy
Armed Service: Navy

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