Frank Brownell's Medal of Honor

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Physical Description
Brass-colored metal on ribbon.
Specific History
Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to Frank E. Brownell, private, Company A, 11th New York Infantry. On May 24, 1861, Brownell killed James W. Jackson, who killed Brownell's commanding officer, Colonel Elmer Ellsworth. Ellsworth was the first Union officer killed in the Civil War. He was shot by Jackson as he lowered a Confederate flag flying from the Marshall House Inn in Alexandria, Virginia. Seconds later, Brownell shot and bayoneted Jackson. Brownell received two Medals of Honor; the first one issued to him was inscribed on the reverse: "The Congress to Sergeant Frank E. Brownell Co. 4 11th New York Volunteers." Brownell was not pleased with the inscription and sent the medal back. He was given a new medal with an inscription he had written himself: "The Congress to Sergt. Frank E. Brownell, 11th N.Y. Vol Inf'y for gallantry in shooting the murderer of Col. Ellsworth at Alexandria, VA, May 24, 1861."
date made
ca. 1863
Brownell, Frank E.
Ellsworth, Elmer E.
associated place
United States: Virginia, Alexandria
Physical Description
bronze (overall material)
silk (overall material)
overall: 4 1/2 in x 2 1/4 in x 1/2 in; 11.43 cm x 5.715 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Medal of Honor
Civil War
related event
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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