Thomas Burke (Medal of Honor)

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Thomas Burke
Born 1833
Died April 23, 1899 (aged 65–66)
Place of burial John Howard Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Seaman
Unit USS De Soto
Awards Medal of Honor

Thomas Burke (1833 – April 23, 1899) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.

A native of Ireland, Burke immigrated to the U.S. and joined the Navy from the state of New York. By May 10, 1866, he was serving as a seaman on the USS De Soto. On that day, while the De Soto was off the coast of Eastport, Maine, he and two shipmates rescued two sailors from the USS Winooski from drowning. For this action, he and his shipmates, Seaman Richard Bates and Captain of the Afterguard John Brown, were awarded the Medal of Honor three months later, on August 1.[1][2]

Burke's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For heroic conduct, with 2 comrades, in rescuing from drowning James Rose and John Russell, seamen, of the U.S.S. Winooski, off Eastport, Maine, 10 May 1866.[1]

Burke died at age 65 or 66 and was buried at John Howard Cemetery on the grounds of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Medal of Honor recipients - Interim Awards, 1866-1870". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ Record of Medals of Honor issued to the Bluejackets and Marines of the United States Navy 1862–1910. Bureau of Navigation. 1910. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-4437-7612-7. 
  3. ^ "Thomas Burke (1833 - 1899)". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. March 19, 2004. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 

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