Sons of Confederate Veterans
South Carolina Division
Confederate Medal of Honor
George E. Dixon*
Frank G. Collins*
J. F. Carlsen*
James A. Wicks*
Joseph F. Ridgaway*
Joseph Banks Lyle
The newly designed medal is struck from silver and bronze with a gray neck ribbon. The Great Seal of the Confederacy rests on top of the Confederate Cross of Honor. Inscribed on each end of the cross are the words Honor, Duty, Devotion, and Valor. The cross rests upon a single star that signifies each individual state of the Confederacy. Each branch of military service is represented on each point of the star. Behind all of this is a starburst, which signifies the importance of the medal. The neck ribbon is gray silk with a square of the same material sewn onto the ribbon with thirteen stars embroidered in the shape of the St. Andrews Cross to represent the Battle Flag. Designed by passed Army Of Northern Virginia Commander Henry Kidd.
Third Crew of the Confederate Submarine “H. L. Hunley” – Eight Men
Lieutenant, George E. Dixon, Kentucky
Seaman, Arnold Becker
Quartermaster, C. Lumpkin
Seaman, Frank G. Collins, Virginia
Corporal, J. F. Carlsen
Private, J. Miller, Georgia
Boatswain’s Mate, James A. Wicks, North Carolina
Quartermaster, Joseph F. Ridgaway, Maryland
“The original citation was written in late 1990 – early 1991, nine to ten years before the Hunley submarine was recovered. At which time all names were not known, J. Miller not being listed and C. Lumpkin listed as C. Simpkins. I made these two corrections here.”
“Attack of the CSS H. L. Hunley on the USS Housatonic
Outside Charleston Harbor, South Carolina
17 February 1864”
“With full confidence in the Hunley’s value as an attack submarine capable of breaking the enemy blockade, Lieutenant Dixon persuaded the Commander-in-Chief to rescind a directive banning further use of the vessel. Despite the tragic loss of two previous crews and the prevailing opinion that service aboard the Hunley courted death, Corporal C. F. Carlsen of the German Artillery and five seamen from the CSS Indian Chief – Becker, Collins, Ridgeway, Lumpkin, Wicks and Pvt. Miller-volunteered for duty aboard the vessel. Under Lieutenant Dixon’s exhaustive training, the crew became proficient in the submarine’s operation, yet found that protective measures by the enemy-night lights and chain booms-and the prevailing winds and bad weather, thwarted their plans. Finally, abandoning the relative calm waters of Charleston Harbor for the hazards of the open sea, Dixon and his crew – under cover of night with nothing to guide them but ship lights and dead reckoning – surprised, attacked, and sank the USS Housatonic with an improvised torpedo as the warship lay anchored more than two miles off shore. Despite sending a signal notifying shore batteries of their return, the crew of the Hunley was never seen again. Their mysterious fate remains an ironic twist to their enduring triumph as the world’s first submariners.”
In 1995 the Hunley was located, and recovered in 2000. In 2004 the eight man crew was laid to rest with the first two crews of the CSS H. L. Hunley submarine in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina.
The third crew of the H.L. Hunley has received the medal twice. The first on March 3, 1991 when a single medal was awarded to them. This was the early design and is on display at the Museum of Mobile, in Alabama. They were sponsored by the Raphael Semmes Camp 11, Sons of Confederate Veterans in Mobile. Then, on August 3, 2000, in Charleston, SC, the eight crewmen of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley received the first eight of the newly designed medals. These medals are numbered and Lieutenant Dixon received number one. These eight medals are now on display at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, where the Hunley submarine is housed, in North Charleston, SC. This was just days before the Hunley submarine was raised from the bottom of Charleston harbor. The presenter of these medals was the highest decorated living veteran in America, Rear Admiral Eugene Fluckey. Having received four Navy Crosses and the Congressional Medal of Honor himself for his actions onboard the WWII submarine USS Barb, Admiral Fluckey was humbled to present the crew of the first submarine in history to sink an enemy vessel during time of war with their Confederate Medals of Honor.
Captain Joseph Banks Lyle, was born December 6, 1829 at Old Yonguesville near Winnsboro, South Carolina. He died August. 16, 1913 in Caddo, Oklahoma, and is buried in: Gethsemane Cemetery, Caddo. A member of the 5th South Carolina Infantry, C.S.A. He lived in Caddo the last sixteen years of his life.
“Battle Of Williamsburg Road, Virginia – October 27, 1864.”
“Seeing that the enemy attack upon the works had failed, Captain Lyle watched the foe retreat to the safety of a ravine in the middle of the battlefield. Suspecting these men to be broken in morale and dispirited, Captain Lyle, ignoring two slight wounds received earlier in the day, requested permission to advance the skirmish line and capture them, knowing they would escape under cover of approaching night. When his request was refused, Captain Lyle advanced toward the enemy position alone. Although joined by two compatriots moments later, Captain Lyle realized the danger his two companions risked in accompanying him. Instructing them to halt on a rise overlooking the enemy, he continued forward. Upon hearing the shout of an enemy officer exhorting his men to continue the fight, Captain Lyle ordered his two companions to shoot down the officer unless he stopped his tirade. Advancing alone, Captain Lyle now came under friendly fire from Confederates far up the works who mistook him for a deserter. When word spread that the distant figure was a Confederate officer, all firing ceased and men up and down the line watched in disbelief as Captain Lyle audaciously ordered the entire force before him to surrender.
After half the enemy had filed from the protection of the ravine, another officer challenged him by berating his fellow soldiers for surrendering to a single man whom they could easily overpower and kill. Grabbing a discarded Spencer carbine, Captain Lyle advanced upon the man and threatened to kill him if he did not obey his demand to surrender, dramatically ending any further resistance. In one of the most incredible feats of personal valor witnessed during the War Between the States, Captain Lyle single-handedly captured three stands of colors, several swords and small arms, and between 500 and 600 prisoners. For extraordinary heroism at great personal peril, Captain Joseph Banks Lyle is hereby awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor.”
The service was held 23 July 2003 at 3:00 at the Fairfield County Museum, in Winnsboro, SC, where the medal is on permanent display. The Medal of Honor for Captain Joseph Banks Lyle, was nominated and sponsored by the General Robert E. Lee Camp #1589 Midlothian, Virginia.
Compiled and Updated by
Dennis E. Todd
Historian, South Carolina Division, SCV