New Interpretive Marker Recognizes First Marine Medal of Honor Recipient
On May 20, 2000, nearly 100 visitors attended the dedication ceremony at Drewry's Bluff for a new interpretive wayside. Featured on the wayside is the first United States Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal John F. Mackie. The Medal of Honor is the highest decoration for valor that can be bestowed upon a member of the United States armed forces.
During the ceremony, Marine Corps historian David M. Sullivan vividly described the heroic circumstances in which Corporal Mackie earned the Medal of Honor on May 15, 1862, while serving on board the U.S.S. Galena during the battle of Drewry's Bluff. During this engagement, a Union fleet that included the Galena attempted unsuccessfully to force their way past the powerful Confederate fortification known as Fort Darling. Mackie led a detachment of Marines who served Galena's guns after most of the naval gun crew were killed or wounded.
Brigadier General Lief H. Hendrickson, commanding general of the Marine Corps base a Quantico, followed with his observations on the Medal of Honor and the importance of never forgetting the heroic deeds of Corporal Mackie and other Medal of Honor recipients.
The sign was made possible by the hard work of living history volunteers from Company C, Confederate States Marine Corps, who proposed the idea and raised the money for the wayside.