Birth of U.S. Army’s Medal of Honor 

U.S. #2045

On July 12, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating a Medal of Honor to be awarded “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 .”

The first men to receive the Army’s Medal of Honor (the medal on the left side of this stamp) were members of a Union raiding party that took part in the Great Locomotive Chase in April 1862. In that action, they commandeered a train, cut telegraph wires, and destroyed sections of a Southern railway for the Union cause.

Though Lincoln had initially approved the Medal of Honor as an award for Civil War service, in 1863 it was made a permanent military honor. Since its creation, more than 3,500 medals have been awarded, with a little less than half of them going to Civil War soldiers.

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  1. Hi Don, I really like “This Day in History.” I hope it will continue and perhaps become a daily email for those who, like me, want to subscribe and have it sent to their in box everyday. Thanks, Jerry

  2. Thanks for the daily history stories. I collect primarily U.S. stamps and I make my own album pages. Why? Because my interest is in the history behind the stamps, so each page includes a couple of paragraphs about the origin behind the particular issue.

  3. To Don and all the folks at Mystic

    I appreciate all you do for collectors. We not only collect stamps but we collect knowledge. I have taught my grandchildren that stamps provide an individual with a platform and opportunity to expand their past, present and future. We continue to grow into who we are via this MYSTICal adventure. Thank you and please continue with your emails of today’s events in history

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