The 14 Irish Medal of Honor Recipients of the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama

Irish in the American Civil War

On 5th August 1864 a fleet of eighteen Union ships under Rear Admiral David G. Farragut entered Mobile Bay, Alabama on the Confederacy’s Gulf Coast. Their aim was to put the port out of action as a centre for blockade running. The fleet passed under ferocious fire from Forts Gaines and Morgan- and through a minefield- before engaging Confederate vessels, including the ironclad CSS Tennessee. After heavy fighting they won a victory which ultimately led to the closing of Mobile to blockade runners. It also represented an important boost for Abraham Lincoln in the run up to the U.S. Presidential Election. A large number of Union servicemen who participated in the engagement received the Medal of Honor. Among them were 14 Irish-born sailors and marines. The battle, which took place 150 years ago this week, still represents the largest number of Medal of Honor awards to Irishmen for a single action. 

The Great Naval Victory at Mobile Bay by Currier & Ives (Library of Congress) The…

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