Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Harry

Last Name: MacNeal

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Philadelphia, PA
Middle Name: Lewis

Date of Birth: 22 March 1879

Date of Death: 13 March 1950

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1896-1901
Harry Lewis MacNeal

•  Spanish-American War (1898)


Harry Lewis MacNeal

Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

Spanish-American War

Corporal Harry Lewis MacNeal (22 March 1879* - 13 March 1950) was a U.S. Marine who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Spanish-American War. He was one of fifteen Marines, all enlisted men, to receive the Medal of Honor during the war and the only Marine Corps recipient for this particular battle.

* Harry L MacNeal is listed as being born on 22 March 1879 in both his WWI and WWII draft registrations. Tombstone shows 1880-1950.

Military Service

Harry Lewis MacNeal was born on 22 March 1875 in Philadelphia, PA. MacNeal enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in Philadelphia on 16 November 1896. During the Spanish-American War he was a Private stationed on the armored cruiser USSĀ Brooklyn, which served as the flagship of Commodore Winfield Scott Schley during the Battle of Santiago de Cuba on 3 July 1898. This was the largest naval engagement of the war.

During the five-hour battle, one of the Brooklyn's guns became jammed. Two other men attempted, but failed to clear it. MacNeal then volunteered to clear the shell with a hand rammer. He had to crawl along the gun's barrel and expose himself to "murderous fire from the enemy batteries," in addition to having to contend with the blasts from the forward turret, which nearly knocked him overboard. However, he succeeded in his task and "resumed his duties as coolly as if what he had done were a matter of everyday routine." The American fleet sustained casualties of only one dead, Chief Yeoman George H. Ellis (1874-1898) of the Brooklyn, and two wounded; Lt. J.P. .J. Ryan, Asst. Engineer, and Fireman J. Bevins, also of the Brooklyn. There were less than 10 other men on the U.S. ship who suffered only minor bruises or abrasions, due to the jolting gun fire of their own ships, whereas the entire Spanish squadron of six ships was lost, sustaining 474 casualties.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps

Citation: On board the USS Brooklyn during action at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, 3 July 1898. Braving the fire of the enemy, MacNeal displayed gallantry throughout this action.

MacNeal received the Medal of Honor on 9 August 1899, almost a year to the day after the war ended. From late 1899 till December 1901, he was stationed at Cavite, the Philippines, returned to the U.S. in early December 1901, was sick in the hospital for two weeks, and discharged with an "excellent" record on 26 December 1901. A strange incident transpired 5 years later, when he tried to re-enlist in the Marines on 4 January 1906 at the New York Navy yard, but was considered "deserted" with the transcription note mentioning that he failed to show up for assigned duty at Portsmouth Navy yard in February of the same year. He did register for the draft in WWI, and also registered for the Draft in WWII at the age of 63. As a civilian, he had worked primarily as a department store manager in New Jersey since the early 1900s. He married after his discharge from the Marines, and raised a family in New Jersey.

Death and Burial

Corporal Harry Lewis MacNeal died on 13 March 1950. He is buried at East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clifton, NJ, in Section 24, Lot 171.

Honoree ID: 1914   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image