Gardiner, James

ACTION: Chaffin's Farm (Fort Harrison), VA.

DATE: 29 September 1864.

NAME: Gardiner, James.

RANK/UNIT: Private, Co. I, 36th U.S. Colored Troops.

CITATION: "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."

MEDAL PRESENTED: 6 April 1865.

BIOGRAPHICAL DATA: Born: Gloucester, VA. 1843 or 1844

ENTERED SERVICE: Yorktown, VA. 15 September 1863.


OTHER: Gardiner was a 19-year-old oysterman from Gloucester, VA, when he signed on for three years service in the U.S. Army. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on September 30, 1864, as a result of his gallantry the day before. Sergeant Gardiner was reduced to the ranks on July 13, 1863, and mustered out of service at Brazos de Santiago, Texas on September 20, 1866.

Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1978, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979 p. 93
Bearss, Edwin C., "Black Medals of Honor Received a New Market Heights, 29 September 1864." National park Service Memo in Richmond NBP files, 2 April 1979.
Davis, William C., Death in the Trenches: Grant at Petersburg. Alexandria, VA Time-Life books, 1986. p. 125.


An order from Gen. Benjamin Butler, dated 11 October 1864, had this to say:

Private James Gardiner, Company I, Thirty-sixth U.S. Colored Troops, rushed in advance of his brigade, shot at a rebel officer, who was on the parapet cheering his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet. He will have a sergeant's warrant and a medal for gallant daring.

Official Records, #89, p168.

Post war image of James Gardiner
James Gardiner, 36th USCT, Co. I

Library of Congress

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

3215 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223


(804) 226-1981

Contact Us