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Congressional Medal of Honor Multiple Medal Recipients

Entire regiments fought through terrible battles time after time, with none of their members being recognized by the awarding of this high honor. Considering that, it would seem impossible for any man to be so brave as to earn two Medals of Honor, but it happened, not just once, but three times during the Civil War.


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The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor




The sole Army recipient to have this distinction bears a name familiar to nearly every American, but this man's heroism was almost completely overshadowed by his brother's flamboyance. Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Custer, Company B, 6th Michigan Cavalry, earned his first Medal of Honor on May 10, 1863, at Namozine Church, Virginia, when he captured an enemy flag. He was 18 at the time.

Two years later, on April 6, 1865, young Custer leaped his horse over the enemy's line of works and fearlessly dashed up to the Confederate color guard. When close to the colorbearer, Custer took a shot in the face which nearly knocked him off his horse, but he remained upright in the saddle and fired at the Confederate holding the flag, hitting him and causing him to reel. Frenzied, Custer reached out and clutched the flag, then spurred his horse and dashed back to Union lines, his trophy held high.

Riding up to his brother Brevet Major General George A. Custer, the lieutenant told him, "The Rebels shot me, but I have their flag." He turned to return to the fight, but the general, realizing the severity of Tom's wounds, ordered him to the rear. His brother refused, so the young major general placed him under arrest and had him escorted to the aid station.

Lieutenant Custer recovered from those wounds and proudly wore his two Medals of Honor, much to his brother's chagrin. Tom would die at the general's side at the Little Big Horn Battle in 1876.

Birth:   Mar. 15, 1845

Death:  Jun. 25, 1876

BURIED: Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery
Fort Leavenworth
Leavenworth County
Kansas, USA
Plot: Section A, Grave 1488


Double Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Born Thomas Ward Custer, the fifth son of Emanuel Custer and Maria Ward Kirkpatrick, in New Rumley, Ohio. At the age of 16, after one failed attempt, he lied about his age and joined the 21st Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1861. Two weeks later he was mustered in as a private in Company H. They saw several small skirmishes and took parting the Battle of Stone's River, Murfreesboro on December 31. In April 1863 he was assigned to escort duty on the staff of the 21st Ohio's division commander. He then served at Missionary Ridge and Chattanooga on the staff of Major General U.S. Grant, and then saw duty with the staff of the Fourteenth Corps at the rank of corporal. By the summer of 1864, his elder brother, George Armstrong, obtained for him a commission in the 6th Michigan Cavalry and a position as his aide-de-camp. During the 1865 campaign they saw action at Waynesboro, Dinwiddie Court House, and Five Forks. At the battle at Namozine Church he earned the first of his medals with the capture of enemy colors. The Citation read: "Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company B, 6th Michigan Cavalry. Place and date: At Namozine Church, Va. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag on 10 May 1863." Several days later at Sailor's Creek, he charged the breastworks and snatched at the enemy colors, demanding surrender. He was shot in the face but refused to give up his prize. He shot the standard bearer and rode off with the colors. He second Citation read: "Place and date: At Sailor Creek, Va, April 1865. Date of issue: 26 May 1865. Citation: 2d Lt. Custer leaped his horse over the enemy's works and captured 2 stands of colors, having his horse shot from under him and receiving a severe wound." He had to be threatened with arrest to stop him from returning to the battle before reporting to the surgeon. He continued to serve as his brother's aide-de-camp until January 1866 when he mustered out of the 6th Michigan and received a commission in the regular army joining the 7th Cavalry as a first lieutenant. He was wounded at Washita in 1868, served in the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873, and the Black Hills Expedition of 1874. He was promoted to Captain in 1875 and was given command of Company C of the 7th Cavalry. On June 25, 1876, five companies of the 7th Cavalry were wiped out in action against the Sioux and Cheyenne at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The three Custer brothers, George, Thomas, and Boston were found within yards of one another. Thomas Custer's body had been so grotesquely mutilated it was only possible to identify him by means of a tattoo he was known to have had. Thomas Custer was initially buried on the battlefield, but was later exhumed and reburied in the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. (bio by: Iola)
Cause of death: Killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn

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(True Name: John Laver Mather) 

Another two-time medal winner, Coxswain John Cooper, earned his first Medal of Honor during the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. Aboard the USS Brooklyn he worked his gun with skill and courage throughout the savage battle and was cited for his heroic conduct. Then again at Mobile on April 16, 1865, Cooper was detailed as quartermaster on the staff of Rear Admiral Thatcher. On that day there was a tremendous fire in Mobile, and at the risk of being blown apart by exploding ammunition, Cooper advanced through the holocaust and rescued a young comrade from almost certain death. That compassionate act brought him the rare second award.

BORN: Jul. 24, 1828, Ireland

DIED: Aug. 22, 1891

BURIED: Cypress Hills National Cemetery
Kings County
New York, USA
Plot: Section 2, Grave 5022

Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1832, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. 

On board the U.S.S. Brooklyn during action against rebel forts and gunboats and with the ram Tennessee, in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Despite severe damage to his ship and the loss of several men on board as enemy fire raked her decks from stem to stern, Cooper fought his gun with skill and courage throughout the furious battle which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1832, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 62, 29 June 1865. 

Served as quartermaster on Acting Rear Admiral Thatcher's staff. During the terrific fire at Mobile, on 26 April 1865, at the risk of being blown to pieces by exploding shells, Cooper advanced through the burning locality, rescued a wounded man from certain death, and bore him on his back to a place of safety.



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Boatswain's Mate, Patrick Mullen,  also received his two Medals of Honor for combat and noncombat deeds. While serving aboard the USS Don, Mullen led a boat expedition up the Maddow Creek in Virginia. Attacked by Confederate forces, Mullen lay on his back under the gunwales of his boat and worked his artillery piece from that position. Despite his awkward posture, his fire was so accurate that many Confederates were killed or wounded and forced to retreat from the fight. That bit of tenacity brought him his first ribbon and five-pointed star. Then on May 1, 1865, he rescued an officer of the Don from drowning and received not only another Medal of Honor, but the lifelong gratitude of the officer involved.

Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865.


Served as boatswain's mate on board the U.S.S. Wyandank during a boat expedition up Mattox Creek, 17 March 1865. Rendering gallant assistance to his commanding officer, Mullen, lying on his back, loaded the howitzer and then fired so carefully as to kill and wound many rebels, causing their retreat.

Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Ireland.  G.O. No.: 62, 29 June 1865.


Served as boatswain's mate on board the U.S.S. Don, 1 May 1865. Engaged in picking up the crew of picket launch No. 6, which had swamped. Mullen, seeing an officer who was at that time no longer able to keep up and was below the surface of the water, jumped overboard and brought the officer to the boat, thereby rescuing him from drowning, which brave action entitled him to wear a bar on the medal he had already received at Mattox Creek, 17 March 1865.

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Privates Allen and James Thompson

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The only instance in history of two brothers being awarded the Medal of Honor occurred at the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia, April 1, 1865, when Privates Allen and James Thompson, Company K, 4th New York Heavy Artillery, were cited for a hazardous reconnaissance in front of their line.


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The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor 


First Award - Civil War

Rank and organization: Captain, Company D, 19th Michigan Infantry; First Lieutenant, 5th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 12 July 1864. Entered service at: Constantine, Mich. Birth: Michigan. Date of issue: 3 December 1891.

Led his company in a countercharge at Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 12 July 1864, under a galling fire ahead of his own men, and singly entered the enemy's line, capturing and bringing back 2 commissioned officers, fully armed, besides a guidon of a Georgia regiment.

Second Award - Indian Campaign

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 5th US   Infantry. Place and date: At McClellans Creek, Tex.,  8 November 1874. Entered service at: Constantine, Mich. Birth: Manchester, Michigan. Date of issue: 3 December 1891.

Rescued, with 2 companies, 2 white girls by a voluntary attack upon Indians whose superior numbers and strong position would have warranted delay for reinforcements, but which delay would have permitted the Indians to escape and kill their captives.

Leading his company of the Nineteenth Michigan Infantry in a counter charge at Peach Tree Creek Georgia, Captain Frank Baldwin entered the Confederate lines ahead of his own men where, single-handed, he took two commissioned officers prisoner. After disarming his prisoners, he returned with them to his own lines, bring back with him the captured guidon of the Georgia regiment as well.

This was the first of TWO Medal of Honor actions by Frank Baldwin, netting him the distinction of being one of the 19 double recipients of the award. His second Medal of Honor action occurred ten years later during the Indian Campaigns, when his valor and leadership lead to the dramatic rescue of two girls. During World War I Frank Baldwin served as the Colorado Adjutant General in command of the National Guard.

BORN: Jun. 26, 1842

DIED: Apr. 22, 1923

BURIED: Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 3, Lot 1894, Map Grid T/16

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2 images


The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor



First Award - Civil War

Rank and organization: Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1845, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864.

Served on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing and participated in a plan to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864. Volunteering for the hazardous mission, Lafferty participated in the transfer of two torpedoes across an island swamp and then served as sentry to keep guard of clothes and arms left by other members of the party. After being rejoined by others of the party who had been discovered before the plan could be completed, Lafferty succeeded in returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp.


Second Award - Peace Time Heroism

Rank and organization: First Class Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: June 1845,  Accredited to: California. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884.


Serving on board the U.S.S. Alaska at Callao Bay, Peru, 14 September 1881. Following the rupture of the stop-valve chamber on that vessel, Laverty hauled the fires from under the boiler.

BORN: 1842

DIED: Nov. 13, 1903

BURIED: Mount Moriah Cemetery
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Naval Asylum Plot

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