History – William Carney

December 18th, 2011 by Black Gospel Choir

Slave – Medal of Honor


William Harvey Carney (February 29, 1840 – December 8, 1908) was an American Civil War soldier and the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor.
Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, but escaped to Massachusetts like his father through the Underground Railroad. They later bought the rest of the family out of slavery.
Carney served with the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as a Sergeant and took part in the July 18, 1863, assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina. He received his medal for saving the American flag and planting it on the parapet and although wounded, holding it while the troops charged. But recognizing the Federal troops had to retreat under fire, Carney struggled back across the battlefield, and although wounded twice more, returned the flag to the Union lines. Before turning over the colors to another survivor of the 54th, Carney modestly said, “Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!”
Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor May 23, 1900, nearly 40 years after his act of bravery. In later life, Carney was a postal employee and popular speaker at patriotic events. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, and is buried in the family plot at Oak Grove Cemetery in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Engraved on his stone monument is a gold image of the Medal of Honor. – photo

Posted in Black History | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. les yeoman Says:

    why wasnt buried in arlington national cemertry like medal of honour heroes?

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Subscribe to blackgospelchoir.comRSS Feed