Henry Frederick Mulligan was a private in the 1st Marine Raider Regiment and Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the First Battle of Deep Bottom during the American Civil War.
Family and Early Life Edit
Henry Mulligan was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and was of entirely Irish ancestry. He worked as an apprentice longshoreman beginning with the age of fifteen until he enlisted in the 1st Marine Raider Regiment on April 15, 1861, after the Confederate bombing of Fort Sumter.
Military Service Edit
Mulligan served as a private in the 4th Platoon of A Company from the 1st Battalion. Mulligan's platoon went into action at the First Battle of Bull Run, where they were noted for their tenacious defense of Matthew's Hill from the Confederate Counterattack. He fought on the peninsula, at the second Bull Run, and at Antietam in 1862. Following their heavy losses at Fredericksburg, Mulligan's platoon was held in reserve in the Mud March and the Battle of Chancellorsville. He fought at Gettysburg, most notably at Devil's Den, where his company took heavy casualties. He personally claimed to have killed at least five Confederate soldiers over the course of the battle. Mulligan fought again at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Totopomoy Creek. His platoon sat out for the rest of the campaign and did not take part in the disastrous Cold Harbor attacks, a stroke of luck which Mulligan believed "saved [his] life." While A Company was nursing its wounds from Cold Harbor and preparing for the assault on Petersburg, Mulligan was transferred to Battery C of the 1st Artillery Battalion, where he served on a gun crew. The artillery suffered from a shortage of trained men in mid 1864, and transfers from the experienced infantry were not uncommon. Mulligan's battery fired on the enemy during the assaults on Petersburg and the initial siege activities. Private Mulligan was returned to his infantry platoon on July 14th, 1864. The 4th Platoon was to take part in a diversionary attack on the southern part of the enemy defensive line, which became the First Battle of Deep Bottom. As his platoon moved along the New Market Road, they came under increasingly intense fire from rifle pits and cannons. Pvt. Mulligan, in a one-man attack, captured three rifle pits and a cannon by himself. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this action.
Medal of Honor Citation Edit
Private Mulligan's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of his life, as a private in the 4th Platoon of Company A on 26 July 1864, at the time engaged in military operations against Confederate forces in the on the New Market Road, near Deep Bottom on the James River, Henrico County, Virginia. When his platoon came under heavy fire from enemy defenses on the New Market Road, Pvt. Mulligan, at great risk to his own life, charged to the first rifle pit and threw a grenade inside, killing one of its two occupants and injuring the other, who was later captured alive by the company. Seeing another rifle pit still active a ways down the road, Pvt. Mulligan cocked his rifle and dispatched the enemy soldier with a head shot, killing him. He killed a second Confederate soldier with his rifle, neutralizing the pit. Pvt. Mulligan eliminated the three man crew of the third rifle pit by hurling two grenades. When he noticed an enemy artillery piece on a nearby ridge, Pvt. Mulligan boldly charged the ridge and shot down one of the cannon crew. He then engaged in hand-to-hand fighting against three enemy soldiers at once, one of whom he killed with his bayonet, and convinced the other two to surrender when the rest of A Company arrived. In Private Henry Mulligan's gallant one man assault, he killed eight enemy soldiers and captured three, as well as eliminating enemy emplacements that threatened his company's advance.