John G. Morrison bigraphy, stories - United States Navy Medal of Honor recipient

John G. Morrison : biography

July 13, 1838 - June 9, 1897

John Gordon Morrison (July 13, 1838 – June 9, 1897) served in the American Civil War, receiving the Medal of Honor in 1862.


Morrison was born in IrelandTwo different dates of birth are found in available references. The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships brief biographical sketch gives a birth data of July 13, 1838. Online references containing Morrison's Medal of Honor citation give his date of birth as November 3, 1842.Morrison's journal states that he turned 24 on July 13, 1862. and came to the United States in 1855. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy at Lansingburgh, New York, April 24, 1861, he volunteered for service on gunboat on February 15, 1862. He was appointed coxswain and later received the Medal of Honor for exceptional bravery during an engagement July 15, 1862 with Confederate ram in the Yazoo River. He was an inspiring example to the crew during Carondelet’s unsuccessful attempt to halt the ironclad ram’s progress through the Union blockade to the Mississippi River.

Coxswain Morrison was discharged from the Navy March 31, 1863 and he died in New York City June 9, 1897. He is buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. His grave can be found in section 9, lot 359.


In 1943, the destroyer was named in his honor.


Medal of Honor citation

Rank and Organization: Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Lansingburg, N.Y. Born: November 3, 1842, Ireland G.O. No.: 59, June 22, 1865.

Citation: Serving as coxswain on board the USS Carondelet, Morrison was commended for meritorious conduct in general and especially for his heroic conduct and his inspiring example to the crew in the engagement with the rebel ram Arkansas, Yazoo River, 15 July 1862. When the Carondelet was badly cut up, several of her crew killed, many wounded and others almost suffocated from the effects of escaped steam, Morrison was the leader when boarders were called on deck, and the first to return to the guns and give the ram a broadside as she passed. His presence of mind in time of battle or trial is reported as always conspicuous and encouraging.

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