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First Name: John

Last Name: Mackie

Birthplace: New York, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Freeman

Date of Birth: 01 October 1835

Date of Death: 18 June 1910

Rank: First Sergeant

Years Served: 1861-1865
John Freeman Mackie

•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)


John Freeman Mackie
Orderly Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
American Civil War

John Freeman Mackie was born on 1 October 1835 in New York, NY. He was a U.S. Marine and a recipient of the U.S. Military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the American Civil War. He was the first U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor.

Mackie enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from New York on 23 August 1861. By 1862, he held the rank of Corporal and was serving on the ironclad warship USS Galena (1862). On 15 May 1862, a five-ship Union Navy squadron, including the Galena, steamed up the James River to test the defenses of the Confederate capital, Richmond, VA. After reaching a bend in the river upstream of Dutch Gap, the squadron encountered submerged obstacles and heavy fire from Fort Darling, atop Drewry's Bluff. The Fort's artillery batteries inflicted severe damage on the Galena and forced the Union squadron to turn back. During the battle (which would come to be known as the Battle of Drewry's Bluff), most of Galena's naval gun crew was killed or wounded. Mackie led a group of Marines who took over operation of the guns for the remainder of the battle.

Mackie later served at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and aboard the USS Seminole (1859). It was aboard the Seminole that he received his Medal of Honor on 10 July 1863. Mackie rose to the rank of Orderly Sergeant before receiving an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps on 24 August 1865, after four years of service. (By the end of the Civil War, the title Orderly Sergeant was discontinued and the title First Sergeant was used.)

Medal of Honor Citation:

Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1836, New York, N.Y. Accredited To: New York. G.O. No.: 17, July 10, 1863.

"On board the USS Galena in the attack on Fort Darling at Drewry's Bluff, James River, on May 15, 1862. As enemy shellfire raked the deck of his ship, Corporal Mackie fearlessly maintained his musket fire against the rifle pits along the shore and, when ordered to fill vacancies at guns caused by men wounded and killed in action, manned the weapon with skill and courage."


At Drewry's Bluff, now within Richmond National Battlefield Park, a marker is posted which features Mackie's Medal of Honor action.

After the war, Mackie eventually married and settled near Philadelphia, PA.

Death and Burial

John Freeman Mackie died on 18 June 1910, at the age of 74. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, PA.

Honoree ID: 17   Created by: MHOH




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