Exhibit will be on display through January 2023. In 1861 the idea of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest honor, was approved by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. On December 21, 1861, Congress passed the bill which created the Navy medal. President Abraham Lincoln then signed it into law. The medal “to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seaman-like qualities during the present war.” Commanding General of the Army Winfield Scott initially rejected a proposed Army medal as a European custom. The Army version of the Medal of Honor was adopted by Congress and signed into law in July of 1862 after General Scott’s retirement. This medal would be awarded "to such non-commissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection." “Above and Beyond, Medal of Honor Recipients of the Civil War” focuses on the stories of the men, and the single woman, who were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. These are heroic stories. Like the first Medals of Honor, presented to the men of Andrew’s Raiders of the Great Locomotive Chase fame. Doctor Mary Walker, the only female recipient, was awarded her Medal of Honor for treating the wounded in battle and across enemy lines during the Civil War. Many of these brave Americans waited decades to receive their Medal of Honor. Others who were recommended never received it or had it revoked upon review. Artifacts of the recipients will be on display to illustrate their stories.
Entrance to this exhibit is included in the cost of regular museum admission.