Medal of Honor Roll Call: George W. Healey

Continuing our state by state review of MoH recipients, this week: Iowa, and a most interesting story from the Civil War.

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RJL

George W. Healey

George W. Healey

 GEORGE W. HEALEY

Rank and Organization: Private, Company E, 5th Iowa Cavalry. Place and Date: At Newnan, Ga., 29 July 1864. Entered Service At: Dubuque, Iowa. Birth: Dubuque, Iowa. Date of Issue: 13 January 1899.

Citation:

When nearly surrounded by the enemy, captured a Confederate soldier, and with the aid of a comrade who joined him later, captured 4 other Confederate soldiers, disarmed the 5 prisoners, and brought them all into the Union lines.

Like many of the citations from the Civil War, Healey’s says little. However, here is, as Paul Harvey so often said, “the REST of the story” from the Iowa History website:

In late July 1864, General E. M. McCook led a cavalry force of 3,600, including the 5th Iowa Cavalry, into Georgia to disrupt rail and supply traffic. After initial success the force came to Newnan, Georgia, where it met Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry.

On July 29, 1864, Private George Healey participated in a skirmish that moved through the timber around Newnan. Becoming separated from the line, he happened upon a lone Confederate soldier and ordered him to drop his gun and surrender. Joined by Pvt. Martin, they began to march the prisoner to the rear.

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In the book Deeds of Valor, George Healey remembered:

“We heard talking. We got behind a tree and the next minute four Confederates came, trailing Indian file, toward us. Martin and I stepped from behind the trees and covered them. I ordered “Halt! Drop those guns!”. . . We moved toward our lines and reached them without further interruption.”

On July 30 and 31, General Joseph Wheeler’s (CSA) cavalry routed the Union forces. McCook’s units tried to cut their way free but nearly a third of the command was captured, along with his cannons and most of his supplies and horses. Corporal Healey was one of those captured and sent to Andersonville Prison. Healey was injured in the war when he was struck by a ball in the head June 29, 1863, at Guys Gap, Tennessee. He lost vision in his left eye.

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