b. 12/03/1843 Tremont, Maine. d. 28/04/1927 Gloucester, Massachusetts.
DATE OF MOH ACTION; 19/06/1864 Cherbourg, France.
Bickford was born in Tremont, Maine, and joined the Navy from Boston, Massachusetts in January 1862. He rose to the rank of captain of the top (roughly equivalent to the modern day rank of petty officer) and was assigned to the USS Kearsarge. He participated in the Kearsarge’s historic engagement with the CSS Alabama on June 19, 1864. Bickford later received the Medal of Honor for heroism during this battle.
After the battle, he was promoted to Acting Master’s Mate in July 1864. He was discharged from the Navy in June 1865.
Two years later, with the war won, Bickford left Mount Desert Island to take a job as a foreman in a Gloucester, Mass. fish factory. Two years after that he married the boss’s daughter, with whom he had five children, three of whom survived to adulthood. By 1891, he had retired from the factory, but even into his eighties operated an excursion boat of out Gloucester Harbor. During tours he would regale passengers with his personal accounts of the renowned sea battle. He was also a regular attendee at reunions with his old crew mates.
John F. Bickford died April 27, 1927, at age 84. He was buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Gloucester. A headstone and a veteran’s marker mark his grave. His Medal of Honor, which he received by mail, is now in the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester.
Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, June 19, 1864. Acting as the first loader of the pivot gun during this bitter engagement Bickford exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by his divisional officer.
BURIAL LOCATION; MOUNT PLEASANT CEMETERY, GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.
either LOT 46 1/2 or 190
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CAPE ANN MUSEUM, GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.