MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMAN MEDAL OF JOHN S. GIBBS, 3rd MASS RIFLES, 1st US LT. ARTILLERY, 38th USCT AND ADC TO GEN. TURNER 24th A.C.

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The edge of this Massachusetts Minuteman Medal is stamped “JOHN S. GIBBS, PRVT. A. 3d BTN. RFN.” This is company A of the 3rd Battalion of Riflemen, Mass. Vol. Militia. The Third Battalion of Rifles, three companies, was activated 18 April 1861, for three-month service immediately after Ft. Sumter and left Boston on the night of April 20. It sailed initially to Annapolis and then to Fort McHenry, at Baltimore. A fourth company joined it May 15 and only on May 19 was the battalion formally mustered into service. It spent its time on garrison and guard duty in the area and working on the heavy guns in the fortifications.

Gibbs enlisted for active service with the rifles on 4/19/61, mustered into Co. A 5/19/61, and mustered out with battalion at the expiration of their service, 8/3/61 at Worcester. He joined the 1st US Light Artillery immediately after, receiving commissions as 2nd Lieutenant and then 1st Lieutenant to date 8/5/1861. His pension card has him unassigned in the regiment, but answers to questionnaire in his files indicate he saw action at Swift’s Creek, near Petersburg, May 9-10, 1864; Drewry’s Bluff May 14-16, 1864; and Bermuda Hundred, also in May. He resigned to date 5/19/64, but was later appointed from civilian life to be Aide-de-Camp to General Turner, a division commander of the 24th Corps. How early this happened is unclear, but it likely explains his claimed service at Hatcher’s Run March 30-31, 1865; Fort Gregg, Petersburg, April 2; Rice Station April 3; and Appomattox, April 9, on that same questionnaire answer sheet. He was posted to the 38th USCT as Captain of Co. C, to date 3/27/65, perhaps the date of his appointment as ADC, but that post seems to have been simply to enable him to continue as Turner’s “senior A.D.C.” and chief of staff while head of the District of Henrico in the Department of Virginia after the war. Gibbs was brevetted Major, “for gallant and meritorious service in the war” as of 3/13/65, and remained on Turner’s staff until resigning 3/15/66.

Authorized in 1902, the two-piece bronze medal consists of a rectangular pin-back bar reading “MASSACHUSETTS MINUTE MEN OF 1861” and a circular drop with the Seal of the State of Massachusetts at center of the obverse and the reverse reading, “THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEER MILITIA WHO WERE MUSTERED INTO THE UNITED STATES SERVICE IN RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S FIRST CALL FOR TROOPS APRIL 15, 1861.” Approximately 3,800 of these were struck, stamped on the rim with the soldier’s name, rank, and unit and available for the veterans and family members.  [sr] [ph:L]

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