James Sheridan (Medal of Honor)
May 27, 1832|
Newark, New Jersey
|Died||November 9, 1893(aged 61)|
|Place of burial||Brooklyn, New York City|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War
• Battle of Mobile Bay
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
James Sheridan (May 27, 1830 – November 9, 1893) was a Union Navy sailor in the American Civil War and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Mobile Bay.
Born on May 27, 1832, in Newark, New Jersey, Sheridan was living in New York when he joined the Navy. He was a skilled navigator and served during the Civil War as a quartermaster on the USS Oneida. At the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, he acted as captain of Oneida's aft 11-inch gun as the ship took heavy fire from Confederate artillery. A shell fragment struck the carriage of his gun and another Confederate shot decapitated a U.S. Marine before denting and cracking the gun itself. An 1873 account recalled that Sheridan "was badly wounded by the splinters and by pieces of the man's head striking him in various parts of the body, bespattering him with blood and brains." A button from the marine's cap hit him in the chest but was prevented from causing injury by a watch which Sheridan kept in his breast pocket for use in navigation. Despite his wounds, Sheridan oversaw the firing of two more shots from his damaged gun and then took over for the injured signal quartermaster. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor four months later on December 31, 1864, however his medal remained unclaimed and in the possession of the Department of the Navy as of 1898.
Sheridan's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Served as quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Oneida in the engagement at Mobile Bay 5 August 1864. Acting as captain of the after 11-inch gun, and wounded in several places, Sheridan remained at his gun until the firing had ceased and then took the place of the signal quartermaster who had been injured by a fall. Recommended for his gallantry and intelligence, Sheridan served courageously throughout this battle which resulted in the capture of the rebel ram Tennessee and the damaging of Fort Morgan.
- his diary
- Devens, Richard Miller (1873). The book of anecdotes of the war of the rebellion. Toledo, Ohio: W.E. Bliss & Co. p. 384.
- "James Sheridan". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- "Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients (M–Z)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. June 26, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- "Medals awaiting owners". The New York Times (New York). February 7, 1898. Retrieved November 14, 2012.