Two individuals with local ties have received the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in the United States military.
James Daniel Gardner, also known as Gardiner, was a free black man born in Gloucester County in September 16, 1839.
He crossed the York River in 1863 to enlist in the Union Army at Yorktown and became a member of the U.S. Colored Troops. He trained at Fort Monroe and, as a member of the 2nd North Carolina Colored Volunteers, was attached to Gen. Edward Wild’s African Brigade in Norfolk and Portsmouth. This unit was eventually absorbed into the Army of the James commanded by Gen. Benjamin Butler.
Butler launched an attack at Chaffin’s Bluff on the James River in September 1864. Gardner’s unit was involved in the heavy fighting against Confederate forces.
His Medal citation reads that Gardner “Rushed in advance of his brigade, shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet.”
After the war, Gar...
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