Hugh Purvis

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Hugh Purvis
Marine Private Hugh Purvis.jpg
in January 1871
Born(1840-03-05)March 5, 1840
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedFebruary 12, 1922(1922-02-12) (aged 81)
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1869–1873, 1874–1884
UnitUSS Alaska
Battles/warsKorean Expedition of 1871
AwardsMedal of Honor

Hugh Purvis (March 5, 1840 – February 12, 1922) was a United States Marine who received the Medal of Honor for actions on board the USS Alaska during the United States 1871 expedition to Korea.


Aboard USS Colorado, June 1871: (right to left) Cpl Charles Brown, Pvt Hugh Purvis, possibly Cyrus Hayden.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Purvis enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 27, 1869. He reported immediately to the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Alaska soon departing for the Far East. During the punitive expedition to Korea, he took part in the assault on an enemy fort on the Han River. In desperate hand-to-hand fighting, the sailors and Marines stormed the walls of the citadel. Private Purvis ran immediately to the flagstaff which bore the Korean colors and loosed the halyards. He was joined by Cpl Charles Brown, and the two tore down the flag. For his "inspiring and heroic" act, Purvis received the Medal of Honor.

He was discharged in 1873 and served two additional tours with the Marine Corps, 1874 to 1879 and 1879 to 1884, rising to the rank of Corporal. He is buried in Saint Annes Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland. His grave can be found in the Cedar Bluff Section, Lot 154.[1]


Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: March 5, 1846, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 169, February 8, 1872.


On board the U.S.S. Alaska during the attack on and capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Braving the enemy fire, Purvis was the first to scale the walls of the fort and capture the flag of the Korean forces.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hugh Purvis". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
  2. ^ "Hugh Purvis", Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, NHC.
  3. ^ Smith, Cpl. Susan (January 18, 2007). "Purvis Road Reflects Medal of Honor recipient's Fighting Spirit". Quantico Sentry. Marine Corps Base Quantico, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  4. ^ "Purvis, Hugh", Medal of Honor recipients — Korean Campaign 1871, CMH.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.