U.S. Civil War Colored Troops Medal

During the American Civil War, Gen. Benjamin F. Butler so appreciated the heroic actions of African American soldiers under his command at the 1864 battles of Fort Harrison and Fort Gilmer that he commissioned a special medal for them. Designed by Anthony C. Paquet and realized in silver by Tiffany, the U.S. Colored Troops medal had no official status. After General Butler was relieved of his command in 1865, the 300 U.S. Colored Troops who had received the medals were forbidden to wear them on their uniforms.
Object Name
Butler, Benjamin Franklin
Tiffany & Co.
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
siver (overall material)
overall: 53 cm x 3.8 cm; 20 7/8 in x 1 1/2 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
related event
Civil War
Battle of Fort Harrison
Battle of Fort Gilmer
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
Cultures & Communities
Coins, Currency and Medals
American Stories
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

7/19/2013 9:56:16 AM
1) Why was General Butler relieved of his command in 1865. 2) Of the 300 U.S. Colored Troops who had received the medals ow many are still around. 3) Why were they forbidden to wear them on their uniforms. 4) Did Anthony C. Paquet ever design anything else? 5) What purpose did the metal serve and was it every recognized?
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