b. 16/09/1839 Gloucester, Virginia. d. 29/09/1905 Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/09/1864 Chaffins Farm, Virginia.
James Daniel Gardiner (also known as Gardner) was born on September 16, 1839, in Gloucester, Virginia. He worked as an oysterman before enlisting in the Union Army from Yorktown, Virginia, on September 15, 1863. He joined Company I of the 36th Regiment United States Colored Troops as a private. His enlistment papers recorded his surname as “Gardiner.”
At the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, Virginia, on September 29, 1864, Gardner’s regiment was among a division of black troops assigned to attack the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights. The defenses consisted of two lines of abatis and one line of palisades manned by Brigadier General John Gregg’s Texas Brigade. The attack was met with intense Confederate fire; over fifty percent of the black troops were killed, captured, or wounded. During the assault, Gardner advanced ahead of his unit into the Confederate fortifications, “shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet.”
The day after the battle, Gardner was promoted to sergeant. Several months later and three days before the end of the war, on April 6, 1865, he was issued the Medal of Honor for his actions at Chaffin’s Farm.
After the war, Gardner moved with his regiment westward to the Texas frontier, where his service was marred by disciplinary problems. He was reduced in rank to private on July 13, 1865, and was placed in confinement in Brazos Santiago on March 29, 1866. He was mustered out of the Army in Brazos Santiago on September 20, 1866, after three years of service.
Rushed in advance of his brigade, shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet.
BURIAL LOCATION: CALVARY CREST CEMETERY, OTTUMWA, IOWA.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.