|The Congressional Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military award for bravery that can
be given an individual in the United States of America. Conceived during
the Civil War, it was first presented in 1863. “The event must be
witnessed by at least two persons and it must be so outstanding that it
clearly distinguished gallantry beyond the call of duty from lesser
forms of bravery; it must involve the risk of life...”
On June 19, 1944, David McCampbell, attacking 80 Japanese planes, shot
down 7 by himself. In a second battle October 24, 1944, McCampbell ,
with one other pilot, engaged a flight of 60 Japanese planes and shot
down 9 before the enemy retreated. His actions won him the Navy Cross,
Silver Star, Legion of Merit, distinguished Flying Cross with two gold
stars and Air Medal, as well as the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The battle at Stone River, Tennessee, occurred on December 31, 1862. In
the battle, a Chicago resident, Major John Farquhar of the 89th Illinois
Volunteers, was awarded the Medal of Honor.
On May 22, 1863, an attempt was made to capture Vicksburg. The attempt
failed to break the Confederate defenses, but four Scots won the Medal
of Honor for gallantry: William Fraser, a private in Company A. 97th
Ill. Vol. Inf. and David Dickie, a Scottish-born Sgt. of the same
company; James Jardine, 54th Ohio Vol., and William Campbell, private
30th Ohio Vol. Inf.
Beginning with the Civil War through World War II, Americans of Scottish
descent have fought in every major conflict. Medals of Honor were
bestowed in every conflict except World War I. During the Civil War 24
native born Scots and 2 Ulster Scots received the Medal of Honor.
Several of those who received the honor had Chicago and Illinois
connections. A total of 38 persons of Scottish descent and three Ulster
Scots have won the nation’s highest award.1
George Martin came to the United States from Scotland and settled in
Naperville, Illinois. He became wealthy building bricks, blocks and
tiles needed to rebuild Chicago after the great fire of 1871. In 1883,
he built a 17 room house in Naperville to celebrate his wealth.
The Victorian brick mansion features a full two-story bay , “a partial
front porch with elaborate Eastlake spindle-work railings and columns, a
small side entrance porch, and ornate wrought-iron cresting atop the
roof line of both house and porch.”
Today the house is furnished entirely in the style of the 1880's
Victorian. The furniture is made of dark wood and the wall coverings and
draperies are in the heavy velvet of the times. The house is now owned
Naperville Heritage Society and is located at 201 West Porter
Avenue. The house is open to the public and additional information can
be obtained by calling 630-420-6010. It is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.2
The Highland Guards
The Highland Guards were organized in Chicago, May 3, 1855. The members
were “Scotchmen and their uniform was the Highland garb - kilts.” In
1859, when the Centennial celebration of the birth of Robert Burns was
observed, the Highland Guards was the most picturesque division in the
great parade. Their captain was John McArthur, who, at the end of the
Civil War, would be a general, and later serve as president of the
Illinois St. Andrew Society.
When the war began, the Guard was among the first to answer the call of
Lincoln. They became Company E of the Nineteenth Illinois Volunteer
Infantry and were soon at the front. “Thereafter their records is part
of that of the splendid “Old Nineteenth.”
“One of this regiment’s exploits was at the battle of Murfreesboro,
otherwise called Stone River. The fighting had been heavy and
protracted. At a critical hour the Confederates had made vigorous and
successful inroads on the Union left. The ‘Old Nineteenth’ by a
magnificent charge, achieved glory on the field that day. The impending
disaster was turned into complete victory. In the rain of shot and
shell, the valiant Colonel Scott, commander of the Nineteenth, was so
severely wounded that he died soon after.” He was one of the youngest
colonels in the Union army.
“Men of Scotch birth and blood had no small or inconspicuous part in
that history. We may but remind the student of our National
chronicles of some of those whose achievements are known and read of
all. We, therefore, need but recall the names of Grant, and Logan,
and Rawlins, and McClernand, and David Hunter, and McNulta, and Owen
and David Stuart, and McClurg, and Daniel Cameron and Beveridge -
all Illinois men of Scotch nativity or ancestry, who served in our
armies, and whose deeds are large parts of our State’s and Country’s
The year is 1690 and south of Annapolis, Maryland, along the South
River, is one of America’s first trade centers. It was formed by
Scottish immigrants and was frequented by “entrepreneur farmers” such as
Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The village may have contained
more than 100 buildings and covered 100 acres. “It must have been quite
a rowdy and booming place.”
A century later, London Town was deserted. “Jealous colonial settlers
who ran the government in nearby Annapolis cut off its lifeline.” In a
political decision, they moved the tobacco inspection station to
Annapolis. The year was 1747.
Town remnants were discovered two years ago when historians were hired
to refurbish an old brick building. Curious about the area they ran a
search of state records and found the possibility of a trade center.
Shortly thereafter they found the remains of Rumney’s Tavern, the social
center of the town. The crew has now found dinner plates containing
crude paintings of a mermaid, pocket knives and belt buckles from the
A nonprofit foundation now promotes the county-owned park as a tourist
Thanks to William Piper for the article from the Chicago Sun-Times,
July 7, 1997.
Scots in the Revolutionary War
The following Scots served with Washington and were major generals at
the time of their discharge: Henry Knox (Mass.); William Alexander (NJ);
Alexander MacDougall (NY); and Arthur St. Clair (PA)
Of twenty-two brigadier generals, these were of Scottish blood: William
Irvine (PA); Lachlan McIntosh (GA); John Paterson (MA); Charles Scott
(VA); and John Stark (NH). Of English and Scottish descent, George &
James Clinton (NY); Edward Hand (PA); and Anthony Wayne (PA) Other
generals of Scottish blood during the Revolutionary War were: John
Armstrong, Francis Barber, William Campbell, George Rogers Clark,
William Davidson, John Douglas, James Ewing, Robert Lawson, Andrew
Lewis, William Maxwell, Hugh Mercer, James Moore, John Nixon, James
Porter, Joseph Reed and John Morin Scott.
Richard Montgomery, the first American general killed in the war was an
Ulster-Scot. Dying with him was John Macpherson, Jr. of Philadelphia.
Macpherson was 21 years old and a graduate of Princeton. His brother ,
General William Macpherson, was in the British army at the outbreak of
the war but resigned his commission and joined the revolution. Their
father, Captain John Macpherson, was born in Edinburgh and had served in
the British navy. "The father and two sons
were honored members of the Philadelphia St. Andrew’s Society.”
When Washington said farewell to his generals, the first to rush forward
was an Ulster Scot, Henry Knox. Both friends wept as they parted. When
Washington became president he made Knox a member of his first cabinet.
“He was brilliant and impulsive and held the highest confidence of his
Brigadier-General Lachlan McIntosh (1727-1806) was born in Inverness,
Scotland, and emigrated to the Scotch colony in Georgia. He was
appointed commander-in-chief of the western department in 1778 by
Washington and fought with great distinction throughout the war.4
The 79th Highlanders
The 79th was recruited from Scottish immigrants and Americans of
Scottish descent and was formed in 1859. They took their designation of
79th Cameron Highlanders (New York Volunteers) in complement to the 79th
Regiment of Foot, the Queen’s own Cameron Highlanders, raised in 1793 by
Sir Alan Cameron of Erracht.
The dress uniform of the 79th was Highland. The Cameron-Erracht tartan,
white sporran with two black tails, red and white diced hose with black
flashes. The doublet was dark blue with light blue piped red collar and
cuffs and gold trimmed shoulder straps. The buttons were New York State.
The New York State Arms and the number 79 formed the cap badge on a dark
blue glengarry with a red and white diced band. Fatigue dress was a blue
tunic with tartan trews and blue kepi.
There is general disagreement about whether the 79th wore the kilt at
Bull Run, but the Regiment served in some thirty engagements during the
Civil War and was mustered out on June 14, 1865..
The above materials, including illustration of the uniform and copies of
letters written during the Civil War have been in my personal files (Wayne
several years. The source is not indicated except the author’s name,
Edward Bland. The article is entitled “Facts and Incidents Connected
With the 79th Highlanders Since the Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.”
Hall of Fame
The Scottish-American Hall of Fame contains more plaques for the
military than any other category. Twenty-one men are installed including
Daniel Boone who is listed as an “Indian Fighter.” The list is as
follows: George Rogers Clark, Frontier hero of the Revolutionary War;
Stonewall Jackson; Joseph E. Johnston; Henry Knox; Arthur MacArthur,
army general, father of Douglas MacArthur; George B. McClellan;
Alexander Macomb, general and hero of the War of 1812; William (Billy)
Mitchell, controversial air power advocate; William Moultrie; George S.
Patton, WWII exponent of mobile warfare; Winfield Scott, Mexican War and
Chief of staff; J.E.B. Stuart, Confederate cavalry general; Christopher
“Kit” Carson, frontiersman and explorer; William Clark, explorer with
Merriwether Lewis; Davy Crockett, frontiers-man who died at the Alamo.
Two individuals are listed under the category of “Naval.” They are David
Glasgow Farragut, Civil War naval hero, and John Paul Jones,
Revolutionary War naval hero.
The Hall of Fame now exists in book form and copies may be ordered by
writing the Illinois St. Andrew Society, 2800 Des Plaines Avenue, North
Riverside, IL 60546. The copies sell for $20.00 which includes postage
“When a nation goes down or a society perishes, one condition may always
They forgot where they came from.”
1. Highlander Magazine, article by Jim Buchanan, date
uncertain. Additional materials from Charles A. Edwards.
2. Guide to Historic Homes of the Midwest and Great Plains, Bob
3. Scots and Scots’ Descendants in America, D. MacDougal
4. Thomas C. McMillan, M.A., L.L.D