Henry A. Eilers
|Henry Anton Eilers|
August 11, 1870|
Newark, New Jersey
|Died||June 30, 1901
|Place of burial||Cypress Hills Cemetery Brooklyn, New York|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Unit||USS Philadelphia (C-4)
USS Kentucky (BB-6)
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Eilers was born August 11, 1870 in Newark, New Jersey and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1885. After joining the Navy he was stationed aboard the USS Philadelphia (C-4) as a gunner's mate. On September 17, 1892 the USS Philadelphia was participating in a mock attack on Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland when a cartridge exploded prematurely. Hot embers blew down one of the ammunition chutes, nearly injuring three other members of the crew and causing others to run for their lives. Although the ammunition could have ignited at any time due to the hot embers Eilers risked his life to remain at his post in the magazine until all of the burning particles had been stamped out.
In addition to the Medal of Honor Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy issued General Order number 404 directing that Eilers be promoted to the rank of acting gunner for “extraordinary heroism”. His date of rank as gunner was November 5, 1892.
Death and burial
While serving aboard the Kentucky in the Philippines on June 30, 1901 Eilers died of heart disease. His body was returned to the United States in September 1901 and buried a few days later in Cypress Hills Cemetery Brooklyn, New York. His grave can be found in section 6, lot 202B.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Gunner's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1871, Newark, N.J. Accredited to: New Jersey. G.O. No.: 404, 22 November 1892.
On board the U.S.S. Philadelphia during the sham attack on Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md., 17 September 1892. Displaying extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession on this occasion, Eilers remained at his post in the magazine and stamped out the burning particles of a prematurely exploded cartridge which had blown down the chute.
- "Interim Awards, 1871-1898; Eilers, Henry A. entry". Medal of Honor recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. August 5, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Philadelphia". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Gunners' Mate Eilers Meets With Merited Advancement" (pdf). Promoted for Gallant Conduct. New York Times. November 28, 1892. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- U.S. Navy Register. 1896. pg. 58.
- Gunners, Eilers, Henry A. entry. Register of the commissioned and warrant officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington, D.C.: United States Navy. January 1, 1900. p. 70. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- Don Morfe (February 18, 2010). "Henry A. Eilers". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
- "Funeral of Chief Gunner Eilers" (pdf). Obituary. New York Times. September 29, 1901. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Henry A. Eilers". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Photo #: NH 46715 (Complete Caption) USS Kentucky (BB-6)". Online Library of Selected Images -- Picture Data. Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center. February 4, 1999. Retrieved September 29, 2010.