John Dempster (Medal of Honor)

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John Dempster
US Navy Medal of Honor (1862 original).png
Born 1839
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Union Navy
Rank Coxswain
Unit USS New Ironsides
Battles/wars American Civil War
 • First Battle of Fort Fisher
 • Second Battle of Fort Fisher
Awards Medal of Honor

John Dempster (1839 – unknown) was a sailor in the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.

Military service[edit]

Emigrating from his native Scotland, Dempster enlisted in the US Navy for a three-year term in August 1864 and was assigned to the Union ironclad USS New Ironsides. [1] His enlistment is credited to the state of Pennsylvania.

On January 15, 1865, the North Carolina Confederate stronghold of Fort Fisher was taken by a combined Union storming party of sailors, marines, and soldiers under the command of Admiral David Dixon Porter and General Alfred Terry.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Coxswain John Dempster, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, 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 two 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.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 59 (June 22, 1865)

Action Date: December 24–25, 1864 & January 13–15, 1865

Service: Navy

Rank: Coxswain

Division: U.S.S. New Ironsides

See also[edit]