Timothy Donoghue MOH

b. 17/03/1825 Ireland. d. 19/03/1908 Brooklyn, New York.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 13/12/1862 Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient. His true name was Timothy Donahue. He served as a Private in the Union Army in Company B, 69th New York Infantry. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on December 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg, Virginia. His citation reads “Voluntarily carried a wounded officer off the field from between the lines; while doing this he was himself wounded.” He received his Medal of Honor 32 years after Fredericksburg on 17 January 1894.

On the 19th November 2006 a ceremony was held in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, to erect a headstone over the grave of Private Timothy Donoghue, a Medal of Honor recipient. Donoghue had earned his Medal of Honor during the American Civil War serving with the 69th New York Infantry at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Following the graveside ceremony members of the Donoghue family, numbering over 130, were invited back to the 69th Armory in New York where it was discovered that a family member had some of Timothy Donoghue’s records from which it was possible to construct a history of his background. It included Recruit statement, enlistment papers, casualty sheet, pay documents and application for pension and death certificate.

During discussions between many of the Donoghue family members assembled in the armory it was ascertained that Timothy had arrived in the US on the “City of New York” with his wife and son Patrick on the 10th April 1862. It was not uncommon during the Civil War for Union Army recruiters to target Irish immigrants as soon as they landed in the country. Timothy Donoghue enlisted into the service of the 69th Regiment on 15th September 1862, four months after landing in the United States.

A week before the ceremony Colonel Tierney was asked by a Donoghue family member to find out if Timothy Donoghue had been awarded the Victoria Cross for service in the British Army in India. Subsequent research found that no one named Timothy Donoghue, or Donohoe, had been awarded the VC, but a Private Patrick Donohoe had earned Britain’s highest award for gallantry for action at Bolundshadur during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

Obviously Timothy’s son Patrick was too young to be the VC recipient but another family member disclosed that Timothy had an older brother named Patrick and this person in all probability was the recipient of the Victoria Cross. The final piece of the jigsaw was put in place when it was discovered that Timothy Donoghue and Patrick Donohoe were both born in the small Irish village of Nenagh in Co Tipperary, Ireland. Patrick in 1820 and Timothy in 1825.

Although enquiries have been carried out through various avenues no records have been found over Patrick Donohoe’s family background. However, it would appear that Patrick and Timothy Donohoe were brothers and for both to have been awarded the most prestigious award for gallantry in two different countries, Great Britain and the United States, achieving the award of the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Honor must be a first.



Voluntarily carried a wounded officer off the field from between the lines; while doing this he was himself wounded.