William Joseph Franks
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William Joseph Franks
Pittsboro, North Carolina
|Died||April 18, 1880|
Independence County, Arkansas
|Place of burial|
Maple Springs Cemetery, Batesville, Arkansas
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1863 - 1865|
|Rank||Acting Master's mate|
|Unit||USS Marmora (1862)|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Franks was born in Pittsboro, North Carolina in 1830. He enlisted in the Navy on September 16, 1863.
Franks distinguished himself in action at Yazoo City, Mississippi on March 5, 1864 when he and his shipmates from the USS Marmora (1862) landed a 12-pound howitzer to defend the city, which was threatened by strong Confederate forces. He and his group were in the thickest of the fighting, but it was never enough to drive them from their cannon. The actions of Franks and his men came to play the most important role in maintaining the Union position. Franks received the Medal of Honor and was promoted to Acting Master's Mate in recognition of his actions. Two of his shipmates, Seaman James Stoddard and Seaman Bartlett Laffey, were also awarded the medal for being on the gun crew.
He married Mary Francis in 1865, after his separation from the Navy; according to the 1880 Federal census, they had five children.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1830, Chatham County, N.C. Entered service at: Duvalls Bluff, Ark. G.O. No.: 32, April 16, 1864.
Served on board the U.S.S. Marmora off Yazoo City, Miss., 5 March 1864. Embarking from the Marmora with a 12-pound howitzer mounted on a field carriage, Franks landed with the gun and crew in the midst of heated battle and, bravely standing by his gun despite enemy rifle fire which cut the gun carriage and rammer contributed to the turning back of the enemy during the fierce engagement.
- "Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients (A–L)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. December 3, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- "Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients (M–Z)". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. December 3, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- 1880 Federal Census for Town of Christian, Independence County, Kansas.
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