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Lt. Col. William Blackwood

Date of Award: July 21, 1897
Conflict: Civil War
Branch: U.S. Army

Lt. Col. William Blackwood (Surgeon) portraitLt. Col. William Blackwood served in the Civil War as a surgeon of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry during the remarkable run of Civil War battles collectively known as the Siege of Petersburg. As Union officers and soldiers were wounded on the battlefield, Blackwood recklessly put his own life at risk to save them. At one point, he even jeopardized his own life to ensure that the body of the fallen Col. G. W. Gowen would not be destroyed in battle. In addition to providing medical services, Dr. Blackwood served as a volunteer engineer officer. He is largely attributed with engineering the Petersburg Mine, an incredibly extensive military tunnel that the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry dug in order to reach and destroy Confederate trenches.

Citation: “Removed severely wounded officers and soldiers from the field while under a heavy fire from the enemy, exposing himself beyond the call of duty, thus furnishing an example of most distinguished gallantry.”

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