History of War

Heroes of the Medal of Honor OLIVER OTIS HOWARD

General Howard after the loss of his right arm

“I WAS A JUST MAN AND A CHRISTIAN MAN, ONE WHO FEARED GOD AND TRIED TO DO HIS WILL”
Oliver Otis Howard


As the German soldiers from the 11th Corps rushed piecemeal away from the Confederate onslaught, Major General Oliver O. Howard did what he thought best to curb the hysteria of his fleeing men. Thousands were routed when a strong column of Confederate soldiers under the legendary leadership of General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson smashed into his corps’ exposed flank and collapsed the Union line. Howard received plenty of criticism (and still does to this day) for his men’s flight during the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, but no one ever questioned Howard’s bravery on that day.

Mortified at his men’s cowardly behaviour, Howard grabbed the nearest Union standard and slid the pole between the pinned-up sleeve of his frock coat where his right arm used to be, having lost it in battle one year before. He shouted words of encouragement and gallantly rode among the blue tide, exhibiting his trademark steadiness and valour.

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