Thomas R. Hawkins

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Thomas R. Hawkins
Thomas R Hawkins.jpg
Sergeant Major Thomas R. Hawkins
Born1840
Cincinnati, Ohio
Died1870 (aged 2930)
Allegiance United States of America
Union
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service1863 - 1865
Rank Sergeant Major
Unit 6th United States Colored Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War
*Battle of Chaffin's Farm
Awards Medal of Honor

Thomas R. Hawkins (1840 February 28, 1870) was an African American Union Army soldier during the American Civil War and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm.

Union Army Land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Union Army referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Also known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States as a working, viable republic.

American Civil War Internal war in the U.S. over slavery

The American Civil War, one of the most studied and written about episodes in U.S. history, was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Medal of Honor United States of Americas highest military honor

The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress. Because the medal is presented "in the name of Congress", it is often referred to informally as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". However, the official name of the current award is "Medal of Honor". Within the United States Code the medal is referred to as the "Medal of Honor", and less frequently as "Congressional Medal of Honor". U.S. awards, including the Medal of Honor, do not have post-nominal titles, and while there is no official abbreviation, the most common abbreviations are "MOH" and "MH".

Contents

Biography

Hawkins joined the Army as a substitute from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 4, 1863, and became Sergeant Major of the 6th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment on August 23. On September 29, 1864, he fought in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia. He was discharged in May 1865 for wounds received in action.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Pennsylvania U.S. state in the United States

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the Northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

The 6th United States Colored Infantry Regiment was an African American unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War. A part of the United States Colored Troops, the regiment saw action in Virginia as part of the Richmond–Petersburg Campaign and in North Carolina, where it participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher and Wilmington and the Carolinas Campaign.

More than five years later, on February 8, 1870, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for "rescue of regimental colors" during that battle.

Thomas Hawkins died of cancer at age 29 or 30 on February 28, 1870, [1] and was buried in Columbian Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D.C. His remains were moved to National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland, in 1960 when the original cemetery closed and was sold. A memorial plaque was placed at his grave in 1997. [2]

Columbian Harmony Cemetery

Columbian Harmony Cemetery was an African-American cemetery that formerly existed at 9th Street NE and Rhode Island Avenue NE in Washington, D.C., in the United States. Constructed in 1859, it was the successor to the smaller Harmoneon Cemetery in downtown Washington. All graves in the cemetery were moved to National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland, in 1959. The cemetery site was sold to developers, and a portion used for the Rhode Island Avenue – Brentwood Washington Metro station.

Landover, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland, United States

Landover is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. Landover is located within very close proximity to Washington D.C. although it does not directly border Washington D.C. unlike its neighboring communities, Chapel Oaks and Fairmount Heights, which directly border Washington D.C. and go all the way up to/ touch the Maryland/ D.C. line. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 23,078.

Hawkins' courage at New Market Heights is depicted in the painting Three Medals of Honor by artist Don Troiani, which was unveiled on June 24, 2013 at the Union League of Philadelphia. [3]

Don Troiani is an American painter whose work focuses on his native country's military heritage, mostly from the American Revolution, War of 1812 and American Civil War. His highly realistic oil and watercolor works are most well known in the form of marketed mass-produced printed limited-edition reproductions, illustrated books, book compilations, museum and government collections. He is also a militaria collector.

Union League of Philadelphia Patriotic society to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln

The Union League of Philadelphia, founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln, is today a private members-only club.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 6th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Chapins Farm, Va., September 29, 1864. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio. Date of issue: February 8, 1870.

Citation:

Rescue of regimental colors.

See also

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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References

  1. "Died". The Evening Star. March 1, 1870. p. 3.
  2. Harris, Hamil R.; Smith, Leef (May 27, 1997). "On Memorial Day, Soldiers and Citizens Honor Sacrifices of Those Who Fought for Freedom". The Washington Post. p. B12.
  3. Johnson, James E. (September 4, 2014). "Scholar studies lives of African-American Civil War veterans buried in Woodbury". South Jersey Times. Retrieved August 5, 2017.