The President of the United States in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to
Rank and Organization: First Sergeant, Company H, 14th Michigan Infantry. Place and Date: At Jonesboro, Ga., 1 September 1864. Entered Service At: Ann Arbor, Mich. Born: 1839, Ireland. Date of Issue: 28 April 1896.
In a charge by the 14th Michigan Infantry against the entrenched enemy was the first man over the line of works of the enemy, and demanded and received the surrender of Confederate Gen. Daviel Govan and his command.
Born: 1839 at Ireland
Entered Service in the US Army from Ann Arbor, MI
Died: February 06, 1910 at the age of 71
On September 1, 1864, during a charge against the entrenched Confederate forces at Jonesboro, Georgia, First Sergeant Patrick Irwin was the first man over the line of the works of the enemy, and demanded and received the surrender of Confederate General Daniel Govan and his command. His was one of four Medals of Honor awarded in this battle.
A history of the Medal of Honor
Early in the Civil War, a medal for individual valor was proposed to General-in-Chief of the Army Winfield Scott. But Scott felt medals smacked of European affectation and killed the idea.
The medal found support in the Navy, however, where it was felt recognition of courage in strife was needed. Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy medal of valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861. The medal was “to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war.”
Shortly after this, a resolution similar in wording was introduced on behalf of the Army. Signed into law July 12, 1862, the measure provided for awarding a medal of honor “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier like qualities, during the present insurrection.”
Although it was created for the Civil War, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863.
Almost 3,400 men and one woman have received the award for heroic actions in the nation’s battles since that time.