Medal Of Honor: Civil War Leader Arthur MacArthur Leads Heroic Charge Through Storm Of Bullets

MacArthur

One stand-out figure in American military history was Arthur MacArthur. At the age of 16, he joined the Union Army right after the Civil War broke out.

Fighting With The 24th

After only a year, he was promoted, becoming the first lieutenant in Wisconsin’s 24th Infantry Regiment. They fought with other regiments at Chaplin Hills, Stones River, Chickamauga Creek, and more. They did well in each battle, following orders and keeping organized, even when there was chaos around them.

However, in reality, their level of order was not a reflection of their leadership. In general, the men had poor performance, and their officers left often.

Because of all this chaos within the senior ranks, the soldiers could handle various situations and come across as well organized. They achieved high performance, which came with high praise, even though their leadership was a mess.

Fighting the Confederates

First Lt. Arthur MacArthur was 18 years old at this point. The 24th was set to attack the Confederate troops at Missionary Ridge, where the Union soldiers kept getting attacked by rebel forces.

After Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s first assault was a failure. The next was incredibly important. A win would mean victory. A loss would mean retreat. However, the instructions were unclear, with some regiments thinking they would stay in the rifle pits while the 24th marched toward the hill.

The 24th kept on toward the ridge even when they took on heavy casualties, including their color bearer getting hit. However, MacArthur jumped in and picked up the colors. He headed forward with the men yelling, “On Wisconsin!” The Confederate soldiers tasked with stopping their forward movement fired up MacArthur, injuring him twice, but he kept on.

Winning The Battle

The 24th barreled through the Confederate defenses putting their flag in the middle of the Confederates. They fought hard to defend their colors and were soon joined by 15,000 Union soldiers.

The 24th set up camp 2.5 miles past the ridge at the end of the day due to their momentum. Georgia was clear, and the 24th would head to Atlanta with the other forces. For his part in the battle, MacArthur was promoted to major and given the Medal of Honor and earned the nickname “Boy Colonel.”

When he died, he was giving a speech at a 24th reunion and was wrapped in the flag he had placed at the top of Missionary Ridge.

Sources: 1, 2

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