Profiles of Bravery

Sgt. William H. Carney

1863: First black Medal of Honor recipient

Sergeant Carney

Carney was attached to the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. In July 1863, Carney found himself in the fierce Battle of Fort Wagner. After being wounded, Carney saw that the color bearer had been shot down a few feet away. Carney summoned all his strength to retrieve the fallen colors and continued the charge. During the charge, Carney was shot several more times, yet he kept the colors flying high. Once delivering the flag back to his regiment, he shouted "The Old Flag never touched the ground!"

U.S. Army Medal of Honor Recipients. Go back to profiles