John H. Ferrell

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John H. Ferrell
Born(1829-04-15)April 15, 1829
Bedford County, Tennessee
DiedApril 17, 1900(1900-04-17) (aged 71)
Place of burial
Price Cemetery, Elizabethtown, Illinois
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Navy (civilian employee)
UnitUSS Neosho
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
AwardsMedal of Honor

John H. Ferrell (April 15, 1829 – April 17, 1900) was a civilian employee of the Union Navy during the American Civil War and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. He is one of only eight civilians ever to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor.

Born on April 15, 1829, in Bedford County, Tennessee, Ferrell was living in Illinois when he was hired by the Navy as a pilot. By December 6, 1864, he was serving in the Cumberland River aboard the USS Neosho. On that day, during an engagement with Confederates at Bells Mills near Nashville, Tennessee, he and Quartermaster John Ditzenbach braved heavy fire to re-raise Neosho's flag after it was shot down. For this action, both he and Ditzenbach were awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on June 22, 1865.[1][2]

Ferrell's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

Served on board the U.S. Monitor Neosho during the engagement with enemy batteries at Bells Mills, Cumberland River, near Nashville, Tenn., 6 December 1864. Carrying out his duties courageously during the engagement, Ferrell gallantly left the pilothouse after the flag and signal staffs of that vessel had been shot away and, taking the flag which was drooping over the wheelhouse, make it fast to the stump of the highest mast remaining although the ship was still under a heavy fire from the enemy.[2]

Ferrell died April 17, 1900, at age 71 and was buried at Price Cemetery in Elizabethtown, Illinois.[3]

See also[edit]

P vip.svg Biography portal United states confederate flag hybrid.png American Civil War portal


  1. ^ "John H. Ferrell". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Civil War Medal of Honor recipients (A–L)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. December 3, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  3. ^ "John H. Ferrell". Find a Grave. November 14, 2003. Retrieved January 29, 2011.