John Henry Lawson MOH

b. 16/06/1837 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. d. 03/05/1919 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 05/08/1864 Mobile Bay, Alabama.

John H Lawson MOH

John Lawson was born June 16, 1837. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He enlisted the Navy from New York in December 1863. On August 5, 1864, during the Battle of Mobile Bay, while serving in a member of USS Hartford‘s berth deck ammunition party, he was seriously wounded after a shell had wounded him in the leg and killed or wounded the rest of his crew. Despite his wounds, he remained at his post and continued to supply the Hartford ‘s guns. John Lawson was one of twelve men who received the Medal of Honor for heroism that day.

After leaving the navy in July 1865, he returned to the Philadelphia area, where he raised a large family and earned his living as a huckster. He died in Philadelphia on May 3, 1919, and was buried in Mount Peace Cemetery, Lawnside, New Jersey. He was 81.

Over time, the tombstone which marked his grave subsided, fell, or was worn to the point that it became unreadable; additionally a fire at the cemetery offices destroyed burial records and the cemetery map, and his exact resting place is not known. On April 24, 2004, a new tombstone was dedicated to John Lawson’s honor and placed among at least 72 other Civil War veterans who are buried at Mount Peace. On April 24, 2004, the headstone was dedicated at a ceremony attended by veteran’s groups, politicians, several of Lawson’s descendants, and local community members.



On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats, and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Wounded in the leg and thrown violently against the side of the ship when an enemy shell killed or wounded the six-man crew as the shell whipped on the berth deck, Lawson, upon regaining his composure, promptly returned to his station and, although urged to go below for treatment, steadfastly continued his duties throughout the remainder of the action.