John Irving (sailor)

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John Irving
Born 1839
Brooklyn, New York
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Coxswain
Unit USS Brooklyn
Battles/wars American Civil War
 • Battle of Mobile Bay
Awards Medal of Honor

John Irving (born 1839, date of death unknown) 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 in 1839 in east Brooklyn, New York, Irving was still living in that state when he joined the Navy. He served during the Civil War as a coxswain on the USS Brooklyn. At the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, he "fought his gun with skill and courage" despite heavy fire. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor four months later, on December 31, 1864.[1][2]

Irving's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

On board the U.S.S. Brooklyn during action against rebel forts and gunboats and with the ram Tennessee, in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Despite severe damage to his ship and the loss of several men on board as enemy fire raked her decks from stem to stern, Irving fought his gun with skill and courage throughout the furious battle which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.[2]


  1. ^ "John Irving". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients (A–L)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. June 26, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2012.