December 25

MERRY CHRISTMAS

25 December

274 – Emperor Aurelian imported into Rome the cult of Sol Invictus and made its Dec 25 festival a national holiday.
336 – The first recorded celebration of Christmas on this day took place in Rome. By this year Dec 25 was established in the Liturgy of the Roman Church as the birthday of Jesus.
1492 – Carrack Santa María captained by Christopher Columbus runs onto reefs off Haiti due to a proper watch not being kept. Local natives help to save food, armory and ammunition but not the ship.
1776During the American Revolution, Patriot General George Washington crosses the Delaware River with 5,400 troops, hoping to surprise a Hessian force celebrating Christmas at their winter quarters in Trenton, New Jersey. The unconventional attack came after several months of substantial defeats for Washington’s army that had resulted in the loss of New York City and other strategic points in the region. At about 11 p.m. on Christmas, Washington’s army commenced its crossing of the half-frozen river at three locations. The 2,400 soldiers led by Washington successfully braved the icy and freezing river and reached the New Jersey side of the Delaware just before dawn. The other two divisions, made up of some 3,000 men and crucial artillery, failed to reach the meeting point at the appointed time. At approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of December 26, Washington’s remaining force, separated into two columns, reached the outskirts of Trenton and descended on the unsuspecting Hessians. Trenton’s 1,400 Hessian defenders were groggy from the previous evening’s festivities and underestimated the Patriot threat after months of decisive British victories throughout New York. Washington’s men quickly overwhelmed the Germans’ defenses, and by 9:30 a.m. the town was surrounded. Although several hundred Hessians escaped, nearly 1,000 were captured at the cost of only four American lives. However, because most of Washington’s army had failed to cross the Delaware, he was without adequate artillery or men and was forced to withdraw from the town. The victory was not particularly significant from a strategic point of view, but news of Washington’s initiative raised the spirits of the American colonists, who previously feared that the Continental Army was incapable of victory.
1779 – A court-martial was convened against Benedict Arnold. He defended himself successfully on 6 of 8 charges but was convicted of illegally issuing a government pass and using government wagons to transport personal goods.
1821Clara Barton (d.1912), the founder of the American Red Cross, was born in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She worked as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War, distributing food and medical supplies to troops and earning herself the label “Angel of the Battlefield.” She later served alongside the International Red Cross in Europe–however, she could not work directly with the organization because she was a woman. In 1882 she formed an American branch of the Red Cross. Barton lobbied for the Geneva Convention and she expanded the mission of the Red Cross to include helping victims of peacetime disasters. Clara Barton died at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland, on April 12, 1912, when she was 90 years old.
1837American general Zachary Taylor leads 1100 troops against the Seminoles at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was one of the major battles of the Second Seminole War. It was fought between 800 troops of the 1st, 4th, and 6th Infantry Regiments and 132 Missouri Volunteers (under the command of Colonel Zachary Taylor), and between 380 and 480 Seminoles led by Billy Bowlegs, Abiaca, and Alligator. The Seminole warriors were resisting forced relocation to a reservation out west. Though both the Seminoles and Taylor’s troops emerged from the battle claiming victory, Taylor was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General as a result, and his nickname of “Old Rough and Ready” came mostly due to this battle.
1862 – President and Mrs. Lincoln visited hospitals in the Washington D.C. area on this Christmas Day.
1862 – John Hunt Morgan and his raiders clashed with Union forces near Bear Wallow, Kentucky. Fighting also occurred at Green’s Chapel.
1864On the 24th Naval forces under the command of Rear Admiral Porter and Army units under Major General Butler launched an unsuccessful attack against Fort Fisher. Transports carrying Butler’s troops had retired to Beaufort in order to avoid the anticipated effects of the explosion of the powder boat Louisiana, and fleet units had assembled in a rendezvous area 12 miles from the fort. At daylight on 24 December, the huge fleet got underway, formed in line of battle before the formidable Confederate works, and commenced a furious bombardment. The staunch Southern defenders, under the command of Colonel William Lamb, were driven from their guns and into the bombproofs of Fort Fisher, but managed to return the Federal fire from a few of their heavy cannon. Transports carrying the Union soldiers did not arrive from Beaufort until evening; too late for an assault that day. Accordingly, Porter withdrew his ships, intending to renew the attack the next day. Most of the casualties resulted from the bursting of five 100-pounder Parrott guns on board five different ships. By taking shelter the defenders, too, suffered few casualties, despite the heavy bombardment. At 10:30 the following morning the ships again opened fire on the fort and maintained the bombardment while troops landed north of the works, near Flag Pond Battery. Naval gunfire kept the garrison largely pinned down and away from their guns as Butler landed about 2,000 men who advanced toward the land face of the fort. eanwhile, the Admiral attempted to find a channel through New Inlet in order to attack the forts from Cape Fear River. When Commander Guest, U.S.S. Iosco and a detachment of double-ender gunboats encountered a shallow bar over which they could not pass, Porter called on the indomitable Lieutenant Cushing, hero of the Albemarle destruction, to sound the channel in small boats, buoying it for the ships to pass through. Under withering fire from the forts, even the daring Cushing was forced to turn back, one of his boats being cut in half by a Confederate shell. Late in the afternoon, Army skirmishers advanced to within yards of the fort, supported by heavy fire from Union vessels. Lieutenant Aeneas Armstrong, CSN, inside Fort Fisher, later described the bombardment: “The whole of the interior of the fort, which consists of sand, merlons, etc., was as one eleven-inch shell bursting. You can now inspect the works and walk on nothing but iron.” Union Army commanders, however, considered the works too strongly defended to be carried by assault with the troops available, and the soldiers began to reembark. Some 700 troops were left on the beaches as the weather worsened. They were protected by gun-boats under Captain Glisson, U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, who had lent continuous close support to the landing. By 27 December the last troops were embarked; the first major attack on Fort Fisher had failed. Confederate reinforcements under General R. F. Hoke were in Wilmington and arrived at Confederate Point just after Union forces departed. The Army transports returned to Hampton Roads to prepare for a second move on the Confederate bastion, while Porter’s fleet remained in the Wilmington-Beaufort area and continued sporadic bombardment in an effort to prevent repair of the fort.
1868 – President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.
1896 – “Stars & Stripes Forever” was written by John Philip Sousa.
Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears ‘mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom’s shield and hope.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.
1925 – U.S. troops under Admiral Latimer disarmed Nicaraguan insurgents in support of the Diaz regime.
1926 – Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later). This marked the beginning of the Showa Period (1926-1989).
1941 – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbor to assume command of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
1941 – The US defensive strategy in the Philippines continues with their withdrawal to the second line of defense at the Agno River. Japanese attacks continue.
1942 – The Japanese base at Rabaul is attacked by bombers from Guadalcanal.
1943 – US Task Group 50.2 (Admiral Sherman) raids Kavieng with 86 aircraft. There are 2 carriers and 6 destroyers employed in the operation but they succeed in sinking only 1 Japanese transport ship.
1944Allied forces surrounding the German-held bulge begin counterattacking. The US 4th Armored Division, an element of US 3rd Army, aims at relieving the Americans surrounded in Bastogne. Meanwhile, German attacks are halted by American armor at Celles, about 6 km east of the Meuse River, after having advanced about 80 km since the beginning of the offensive in mid-December.
1944On Leyte, part of the US 77th Division makes an amphibious move from Ormoc to San Juan, on the west coast of the island, north of Palompon, where the Japanese forces are concentrated. The landing is unopposed. General MacArthur announces that the Leyte campaign has ended with Japanese losses totalling 113,221.
1946 – The first in artificial, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction outside the US is initiated within Soviet F-1 nuclear reactor.
1950 – Chinese forces crossed the 38th parallel.
1962 – The Bay of Pigs captives who were ransomed, vowed to return and topple Castro.
1966Harrison Salisbury, assistant managing editor of the New York Times, files a report from Hanoi chronicling the damage to civilian areas in North Vietnam by the U.S. bombing campaign. Salisbury stated that Nam Dinh, a city about 50 miles southeast of Hanoi, was bombed repeatedly by U.S. planes starting on June 28, 1965. Salisbury’s press report caused a stir in Washington where, it was reported, Pentagon officials expressed irritation and contended that he was exaggerating the damage to civilian areas. On December 26, the U.S. Defense Department conceded that American pilots bombed North Vietnamese civilians accidentally during missions against military targets. The spokesman restated administration policy that air raids were confined to military targets but added, “It is sometimes impossible to avoid all damage to civilian areas.”
1968 – Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans-Earth injection (TEI) maneuver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit.
1972After a 36-hour respite for Christmas, the U.S. resumes Operation Linebacker II. The extensive bombing campaign was resumed because, according to U.S. officials, Hanoi sent no word that it would return to the peace talks. On December 13, North Vietnamese negotiators walked out of secret talks in Paris with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. President Nixon issued an ultimatum that North Vietnam send its representatives back to the conference table within 72 hours “or else.” The North Vietnamese rejected Nixon’s demand and the president ordered Operation Linebacker II, a full-scale air campaign against the Hanoi area that began on December 18. During the 11 days of Linebacker II, 700 B-52 sorties and more than 1,000 fighter-bomber sorties dropped an estimated 20,000 tons of bombs on North Vietnam–half the total tonnage of bombs dropped on England during World War II. Also on this day: U.S. headquarters in Saigon announces that American military strength in South Vietnam was reduced by 700 men during the previous week. The reduction brought the total U.S. forces in South Vietnam to 24,000, the lowest in almost eight years.
1973 – Skylab astronauts took a seven hour walk in space and photographed the comet Kohoutek.
1974Marshall Fields drives a vehicle through the gates of the White House, resulting in a four-hour standoff. Fields crashed his Chevrolet Impala into the Northwest Gate of the White House complex. Dressed in Arab clothing, Fields claimed that he was the Messiah and that he was laden with explosives. He drove up to the North Portico and positioned himself only several feet from the front door. After four hours of negotiations, Fields surrendered. The explosives he claimed to be in possession of were discovered to be flares. President Gerald Ford and his family were not home at the time.
1979In Tong-du-cheon, Korea, two US soldiers, David Medina and Reinaldo Roa, approached an MP station under cover of darkness. Medina and Roa had earlier been arrested for beating up an elderly Korean store owner. They tossed a hand-grenade through the front door and several MPs were injured by shrapnel and other debris. In the ensuing confusion, the suspects escaped. Roa and Medina were later caught after they bragged about their feat.
1987 – Authorities recaptured Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who had escaped two days earlier from the federal prison in Alderson, W.V., where she was serving a life sentence for her attempt on the life of President Ford.
1992 – U.S. Marines delivered wheat to a refugee camp in Bardera, Somalia, setting off a small riot among the Somalis; American and French troops also took control of Hoddur.
1997 – Richard Bliss, a field technician for Qualcomm Inc. accused of spying in Russia, arrived in San Diego after Russian authorities were persuaded to let him return home. (However, Russia says its investigation of Bliss continues).
1998 – In Serbia US diplomats in Kosovo persuaded army officers to pull back some of their forces.
1999 – Space shuttle “Discovery’s” astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble Space Telescope.
2001 – From Mazar-e-Sharif to Kandahar in Afghanistan and the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, American forces celebrated Christmas with carols, touch football and turkey dinners.
2003 – In Iraq leaders of Sunni Muslim groups agreed to form a State Council for the Sunnis in order to speak with a unified voice during the transition to Iraqi governance.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

BARNUM, JAMES
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1816 Massachusetts. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Barnum served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and on 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close in shore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well_directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease-fire orders were given by the flagship. Barnum was commended for highly meritorious conduct during this period.

BINDER, RICHARD
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1840, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during the attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864, and 13 to 15 January 1865. Despite heavy return fire by the enemy and the explosion of the 100-pounder Parrott rifle which killed 8 men and wounded 12 more, Sgt. Binder, as captain of a gun, performed his duties with skill and courage during the first 2 days of battle. As his ship again took position on the 13th, he remained steadfast as the Ticonderoga maintained a well-placed fire upon the batteries on shore, and thereafter, as she materially lessened the power of guns on the mound which had been turned upon our assaulting columns. During this action the flag was planted on one of the strongest fortifications possessed by the rebels.

BLAKE, ROBERT
Rank and organization: Contraband, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Virginia. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Accredited to: Virginia. Citation: On board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, in an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Serving the rifle gun, Blake, an escaped slave, carried out his duties bravely throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy’s abandonment of positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.

CAMPBELL, WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1838, Indiana. Accredited to: Indiana. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13 to 15 January 1865. Despite heavy return fire by the enemy and the explosion of the 100-pounder Parrott rifle which killed 8 men and wounded 12 more, Campbell, as captain of a gun, performed his duties with skill and courage during the first 2 days of battle. As his ship again took position on the line of the 13th, he remained steadfast as the Ticonderoga maintained a well-placed fire upon the batteries on shore, and thereafter, as she materially lessened the power of guns on the mound which had been turned upon our assaulting columns. During this action the flag was planted on one of the strongest fortifications possessed by the rebels.

DEMPSTER, JOHN
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839, Scotland. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Dempster served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well-directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease-fire orders were given by the flagship.

DUNN, WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: Maine. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Monadnock in action during several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. With his ship anchored well inshore to insure perfect range against the severe fire of rebel guns, Dunn continued his duties when the vessel was at anchor, as her propellers were kept in motion to make her turrets bear, and the shooting away of her chain might have caused her to ground. Disdainful of shelter despite severe weather conditions, he inspired his shipmates and contributed to the success of his vessel in reducing the enemy guns to silence.

ENGLISH, THOMAS
Rank and organization: Signal Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1819, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: English served on board the U.S.S. New Iron sides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well-directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease-fire orders were given by the flagship.

FARLEY, WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835, Whitefield, Maine. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Behaving in a gallant manner, Farley animated his men and kept up a rapid and effective fire on the enemy throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy’s abandonment of his positions, leaving a caisson and 1 gun behind.

HAFFEE, EDMUND
Rank and organization: Quarter Gunner, U.S. Navy. Born: 1832, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Haffee served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore, and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well-directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire, as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproof to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease-fire orders were given by the flagship.

JONES, THOMAS
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1820, Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13 to 15 January 1865. Despite heavy return fire by the enemy and the explosion of the 100-pounder Parrott rifle which killed 8 men and wounded 12 more, Jones, as captain of a gun, performed his duties with skill and courage during the first 2 days of battle. As his ship again took position on the line on the 13th, he remained steadfast as the Ticonderoga maintained a well-placed fire upon the batteries on shore, and thereafter, as she materially lessened the power of guns on the mound which had been turned upon our assaulting columns. During this action the flag was planted on one side of the strongest fortifications possessed by the rebels.

LEAR, NICHOLAS
Rank and organization. Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1826, Rhode Island. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Lear served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well-directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease-fire order was given by the flagship.

MILLER, JAMES
Rank and organization. Quartermaster, U.S. Navy Born 1835 Denmark. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864 Citation: Served as quartermaster on board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Acting courageously under the fierce hostile fire, Miller behaved gallantly throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy’s withdrawal and abandonment of its arms.

MILLIKEN, DANIEL
Rank and organization: Quarter Gunner, U.S. Navy. Born: 1838 Maine. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation Milliken served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864_ and 13,14 and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the Ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the cease_fire orders were given by the flagship.

MOORE, CHARLES
Rank and organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Serving on board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John’s Island. Wounded in the fierce battle, Moore returned to his quarters until so exhausted by loss of blood that he had to be taken below. This engagement resulted in the enemy’s abandonment of his positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.

PRANCE, GEORGE
Rank and organization: Captain of the Main Top, U.S. Navy. Born: 1827, France. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13 to 15 January 1865. Despite heavy return fire by the enemy and the explosion of the 100-pounder Parrott rifle which killed 8 men and wounded 12 more, Prance as captain of a gun, performed his duties with skill and courage during the first 2 days of battle. As his ship again took position on the line on the 13th, he remained steadfast as the Ticonderoga maintained a well_placed fire upon the batteries on shore, and thereafter as she materially lessened the power of guns on the mound which had been turned upon our assaulting columns. During this action the flag was planted on one of the strongest fortifications possessed by the rebels.

TAYLOR, WILLIAM G.
Rank and organization: Captain of the Forecastle, U.S. Navy. Born: 1831, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864. As captain of a gun, Taylor performed his duties with coolness and skill as his ship took position in the line of battle and delivered its fire on the batteries on shore. Despite the depressing effect caused when an explosion of the 100-pounder Parrott rifle killed 8 men and wounded 12 more, and the enemy’s heavy return fire, he calmly remained at his station during the 2 days’ operations.

WALLING, WILLIAM H.
Rank and organization: Captain, Company C, 142d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Fisher, N.C., 25 December 1864. Entered service at:——. Birth: Hartford, N.Y. Date of issue: 28 March 1892. Citation: During the bombardment of the fort by the fleet, captured and brought the flag of the fort, the flagstaff having been shot down.

WHITE, JOSEPH
Rank and organization: Captain of the Gun, U.S. Navy. Born: 1840, Washington, D.C. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: White served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13,14, and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well_directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy came out of his bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ships battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the ceasefire order was given by the flagship.

WILLIS, RICHARD
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1826, England. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Willis served on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14 and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well_directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first 2 days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night, despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy troops came out of their bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship’s battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the ceasefire order was given by the flagship.

MORRIS, JOHN
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 25 January 1855, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Citation: For leaping overboard from the U.S. Flagship Lancaster, at Villefranche, France, 25 December 1881, and rescuing from drowning Robert Blizzard, ordinary seaman, a prisoner, who had jumped overboard.

WIEDORFER, PAUL J.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant (then Private), U.S. Army, Company G, 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near, Chaumont, Belgium, 25 December 1944. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 45, 12 June 1945. Citation: He alone made it possible for his company to advance until its objective was seized. Company G had cleared a wooded area of snipers, and 1 platoon was advancing across an open clearing toward another wood when it was met by heavy machinegun fire from 2 German positions dug in at the edge of the second wood. These positions were flanked by enemy riflemen. The platoon took cover behind a small ridge approximately 40 yards from the enemy position. There was no other available protection and the entire platoon was pinned down by the German fire. It was about noon and the day was clear, but the terrain extremely difficult due to a 3-inch snowfall the night before over ice-covered ground. Pvt. Wiedorfer, realizing that the platoon advance could not continue until the 2 enemy machinegun nests were destroyed, voluntarily charged alone across the slippery open ground with no protecting cover of any kind. Running in a crouched position, under a hail of enemy fire, he slipped and fell in the snow, but quickly rose and continued forward with the enemy concentrating automatic and small-arms fire on him as he advanced. Miraculously escaping injury, Pvt. Wiedorfer reached a point some 10 yards from the first machinegun emplacement and hurled a handgrenade into it. With his rifle he killed the remaining Germans, and, without hesitation, wheeled to the right and attacked the second emplacement. One of the enemy was wounded by his fire and the other 6 immediately surrendered. This heroic action by 1 man enabled the platoon to advance from behind its protecting ridge and continue successfully to reach its objective. A few minutes later, when both the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant were wounded, Pvt. Wiedorfer assumed command of the platoon, leading it forward with inspired energy until the mission was accomplished.

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