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John Swanson (Medal of Honor)

John Swanson (1842 – 1923) was a sailor in the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865. His birth name was Jacob Johnson.[citation needed]

John Swanson
US Navy Medal of Honor (1862 original).png
Died1923 (aged 80–81)
Indiana, United States
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Union Navy
UnitUSS Santiago de Cuba (1861)
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
 • Second Battle of Fort Fisher
AwardsMedal of Honor

Military serviceEdit

Emigrating from his native Sweden, Swanson volunteered for service in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the Union brig USS Santiago de Cuba (1861). His enlistment is credited to the state of Massachusetts.

On January 15, 1865, the North Carolina Confederate stronghold of Fort Fisher was taken by a combined Union storming party of sailors, marines, and soldiers under the command of Admiral David Dixon Porter and General Alfred Terry. Seaman Swanson was a member of the storming party.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Seaman John Swanson, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving on board the U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba during the assault on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, on 15 January 1865. As one of a boat crew detailed to one of the generals on shore, Seaman Swanson bravely entered the fort in the assault and accompanied his party in carrying dispatches at the height of the battle. He was one of six men who entered the fort in the assault from the fleet.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 59 (June 22, 1865)

Action Date: January 15, 1865

Service: Navy

Rank: Seaman

Division: U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba

See alsoEdit


  • "John Swanson". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  • "John Swanson". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved June 19, 2010.