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America's First Medals

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Eddie,

So in other words, they were given the same privileges as officers, right?

Well Paul,

It seems that way at least with regards to the guards etc:

It was made of cloth or silk, purple in color and bordered with a white lace. It could be worn either suspended from a ribbon placed around around the neck or sewn to the left breast pocket of the uniform. The man who received it, regardless of his rank, would be granted privileges normally reserved to officers. Specifically, any recipient of the award would be allowed to pass by guards and sentinels with the same courtesy such other enlisted men paid to officers.

General Washington called upon a close friend to design the award, M. Pierre Charles L'Enfant.

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Medal awarded to Brig General Anthony Wayne

For the Victory at Stony Point 1779

Instription

The American Congress to the Commander of the Army Anthony Wayne

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Medal awarded to Captain John Paul Jones

For the capture of the Serapis, 1779

Inscription

The American Congress to John Paul Jones, Captain of the Navy.

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Reverse

Inscription

The enemy's vessels captured or put to flight--Off the coast of Scotland, September 23rd, 1779.

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Medal awarded to Brig General Anthony Wayne

For the Victory at Stony Point 1779

Instription

The American Congress to the Commander of the Army Anthony Wayne

MAJOR GENERAL (MAD) ANTHONY WAYNE

The medal awarded to Major General Anthony Wayne was for his victory at Stony Point. On the front side of the medal is the representation of a crowned Indian Queen, with a quiver on her back, and wearing a short feather apron making two presentations to General Wayne. With her right hand she is presenting him a wreath of victory; in her left hand a mural crown. Over the figures is the legend: "Antonio Wayne Duci Exercitus" and beneath "Comitia Americana ? The American Congress to General Anthony Wayne". On the reverse of the medal is a depiction of the fort on Stony Point. It shows the troops storming the fortification. The inscription reads: "Stony Point Expugnatum , XV, Jul. MDCCLXXIX ? Stony Point captured July 15, 1779".

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Medal awarded to Captain John Paul Jones

For the capture of the Serapis, 1779

Inscription

The American Congress to John Paul Jones, Captain of the Navy.

COMMODORE JOHN PAUL JONES

The front of the Congressional Medal presented to Commodore Jones (1747-1792) has a relief of him, said to be an excellent likeness, and the inscription: " JOHANNI PAULO JONES, CLASSIS PRAEFECTO COMITIA Americana ?The American Congress to John Paul Jones, Commander of the Fleet".

On the reverse a naval battle is depicted with the words: " Hostium Nauibus Captis Aut Fugatis Ad Orum Scotia XXIII Sept. MDCCLXXVIII ? The ships of the enemy having been captured on the coast of Scotland, 23 September 1779".

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Medal awarded to Major General Horatio Gates

For the victory at Saratoga, 1777

Descrpition

The American Congress to Horatio Gates, a dauntless general.

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Reverse

Description

The safety of the Northern Department--The enemy's surrender accepted at Saratoga on the 17th of October 1777.

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Interesting thread. With the exception of the Badge of Military Merit, I assume none of these were ever intended for wearing and were "commemorative table medals" rather than "[wearing] medals" in the sense we use the term and were unique pieces intended only for a specific individual and a particular moment. They represent that transition zone from one method or rewarding achievement to another more familiar one.

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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Medal awarded to Majory Henry Lee

For the attack on Paulus Hook 1779

Description

The American Congress to Henry Lee, Commander of a cavalry regiment.

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Reverse

Description

In spite of rivers and fortifications, he vanquished the enemy through skill and military bravery with a handfull of men, and he conquered through humane conduct those who had been subdued by the sword. In commemoration of the Battle of Paulus Hook, August 19th, 1779.

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Medal awarded to Brigadier General Daniel Morgan

For the victory at Cowpens, 1781

Description

The American Congress to the Commander of the Army Daniel Morgan.

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Medal awarded to Majory Henry Lee

For the attack on Paulus Hook 1779

Description

The American Congress to Henry Lee, Commander of a cavalry regiment.

Medal awarded to Major General Horatio Gates

For the victory at Saratoga, 1777

Descrpition

The American Congress to Horatio Gates, a dauntless general.

COLONEL HENRY (LIGHT HORSE HARRY) LEE

Congress awarded Col. Henry Lee a medal for his victory at Paulus's Hook. On the front of the medal is a profile engraving of Col. Lee.

The legend reads: "Henrico Lee Legionis Equit. Praetec. Comitia Americana ?The American Congress to Henry Lee, Colonel of Cavalry". On the reverse is inscribed within a wreath the legend: " Non Obstantib Flumunubus Vallis Astutia Virtute Bellica Parva Manu Hostes Vicit Victosq. Arms Humanitate Devinxit In Mem Pugn, Ad Paulus Hook Die XIX Aug. 1779 ? Notwithstanding rivers and intrenchments, he with a small band conquered the foe by warlike skill and prowess, and firmly bound by his humanity those who had been conquered by his arms. In memory of the conflict at Paulus Hook, Nineteenth of August 1779".

MAJOR GENERAL HORATIO GATES

Congress awarded a medal to Major General Horatio Gates for his victory at Saratoga. The front of the medal has a profile of Gates and a legend that reads:" Horatio Gates Duci Strnuo Comitia Americana ? The American Congress to Horatio Gates, the valiant leader."

On the reverse side, a depiction of British General Burgoyne surrendering his sword to Gates. Behind them is the British army laying down their arms, while the American army watches. The inscription reads "Salis Regionus Septentrional " ? a paraphrased translation: "Safety of the northern region or department" and below the illustration is the inscription "Hoste Ad Saratogam In Dedition, Accepto Die XVII Oct. MDCCLCCVII ? Enemy at Saratoga surrendered October 17th, 1777".

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Reverse

Descrpition

Victory, defender of Liberty--The enemy put to flight, captured, or slain at Cowpens, January 17, 1781.

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Medal awarded to Lt Col Jean Eager Howard

For the victory at Cowpens, 1781

Description

The American Congress to John Eager Howard, Commander of a regiment of Infantry.

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Medal awarded to Brigadier General Daniel Morgan

For the victory at Cowpens, 1781

Description

The American Congress to the Commander of the Army Daniel Morgan.

GENERAL DANIEL MORGAN

The Congressional medal presented to General Morgan (1736-1802) was for his extraordinary leadership and tactics he employed at the Battle of Cowpens. The victory he attained in that engagement was the precursor of the final battle, Yorktown. The medal has the following devises and inscriptions: An Indian queen with a quiver on her back, crowning an officer with a laurel wreath; his hand is resting upon his sword.In the background is a variety of military equipment. The inscription reads: "Daniel Morgan. Duce Exercitus Comitia Americana ? The American Congress to General Daniel Morgan". On the reverse side: A mounted officer leading his troops in a charge against a fleeing enemy. In the foreground, hand-to-hand combat between a dismounted dragoon and a foot soldier. In the background a fierce battle. The inscription reads: "Victoria Libertatis Vindex ?Victory, the protector of Liberty". On the bottom: "Fugatis, Caper Aut Caesis Ad Cowpens, Hostibus, 17th January 1781 ? The foe put to flight, taken or slain, at Cowpens, January 17th, 1781".

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Reverse

Description

By suddenly attacking the wavering lines of the enemy, he gave a distinguished example of military gallantry in the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.

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Medal awarded to Major General Nathanael Greene

For the battle at Eutaw Springs, 1781

Description

The American Congress to Nathaniel Greene, an illustrious commander.

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Medal awarded to Lt Col Jean Eager Howard

For the victory at Cowpens, 1781

Description

The American Congress to John Eager Howard, Commander of a regiment of Infantry.

LT. COL. JOHN EAGER HOWARD

Lt. Col. Howard (1752-1827) was awarded a Congressional Medal for his heroic actions during the Battle of Cowpens.

The medal depicts a mounted officer with sword in hand in pursuit of a fleeing enemy with victory descending in the background. It is inscribed: "John Eager Howard, Legionis Peditum Praefecto ComitiaAmericana?The American Congress to John Eager Howard, Commander of a regiment of Infantry". The reverse is inscribed: " Quod In Nutantem Hostium Aciem Subito Irruens, Praeclarum Bellicae Virtutis Specimen Dedit In Pugna. A.D. Cowpens, 17th January 1781 ? Because, rushing suddenly on the wavering line of the foe, he gave a brilliant specimen of martial courage at the battle of Cowpens, January 17th 1781."

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Reverse

Description

The Safety of the Southern Department--The enemy defeated at Eutaw on the 8th of September 1781.

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Medal awarded to Major General Nathanael Greene

For the battle at Eutaw Springs, 1781

Description

The American Congress to Nathaniel Greene, an illustrious commander.

MAJOR GENERAL NATHANIEL GREENE

The medal presented to Major General Nathaneal Greene was for his victory at Eutaw Springs. On the front is a portrait of General Greene, in profile. the legend reads: "Nathanieli Greene Egregio Duci Comitia Americana ? The American Congress to Nathaniel Greene, the distinguished leader".

On the reverse side is the figure of Victory landing on earth, and stepping upon broken weapons and a shield. The inscription reads: "Salus Regionum Australium ? The Safety of the Southern Department," and the exergue reads: "Hostibus Ad Eutaw Debellatis Vlll Sept. MDCCLXXXI ? The Foe conquered at Eutaw, 8th of September 1781".

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This is the last one.....

Medal awarded to Lt Col William A Washington

For the victory at Cowpens 1781

Description

The American Congress to William Washington, Commander of a regiment of Calvary.

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Reverse

Description

Through the determined pursuit of the enemy with a small group of soldiers, he gave a distinguished example of inborn valor in the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.

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This is the last one.....

Medal awarded to Lt Col William A Washington

For the victory at Cowpens 1781

Description

The American Congress to William Washington, Commander of a regiment of Calvary.

COLONEL WILLIAM WASHINGTON

Col. Washington (1752-1810) was awarded a Congressional Medal for his gallantry in leading a decisive cavalry action at the Battle of Cowpens. The medal is inscribed: "Gulielmo Washington Legionis Equitum Praefecto Comitiaamericana ? The American Congress to William Washington, Commander of a regiment of Cavalry."

On the reverse side: "Quod Parva Militum Manu Irenue Prosecutus Hostes Vitrutis Ingenitae Praeclarum Specimen Dedit In Pugna A.D. Cowpens, 17th January 1781 ? Because, having vigorously pursued the foe with a small band of soldiers, he gave a brilliant specimen of innate valor in the battle of Cowpens, 17 January 1781".

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