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Landsman Wilson Brown     

Wilson Brown was born in Natchez, Mississippi. He was a slave on the Carthage Plantation, and one day escaped, jumped into the Mississippi River and swam out to a Union Navy gunboat. He subsequently enlisted and was assigned to the USS Hartford.

Landsman Wilson Brown is said to have been the only Mississippian, black or white, to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.

Name: Brown, Wilson
Rank: Landsman
Service: U.S. Navy
Birthday: 1841
Place of Birth: Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi
Date of Death: 24 January 1900
Cemetery: National Cemetery (G-3152) (MH) - Natchez, Mississippi
Entered Service at: Mississippi River, Mississippi
Unit: U.S.S. Hartford
Battle or Place of Action: Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama
Date of Action: 5 August 1864
G.O. Number, Date: 45, 31 December 1864

Citation: On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats, and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay, on 5 August 1864. Knocked unconscious into the hold of the ship when an enemy shell-burst fatally wounded a man on the ladder above him, Brown, upon regaining consciousness, promptly returned to the shell whip2 on the berth deck and zealously continued to perform his duties, although four of the six men at this station had been either killed or wounded by the enemy's terrific fire."

There is little doubt that Wilson Brown deserved the Medal of Honor.

Every American should take great pride in his courage and resolve while under fire and, equally, feel great sadness in knowing that the story of his heroism, and that of many others like him, is rarely found in American history books.

Of the Eight- and nine-year-old Americans studying history today, most have never heard of the many African-Americans who, like Wilson Brown - a true American hero - who fought so well in America's Civil War.

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