Last year I was doing some geneology research and found that one of my distant cousins received the Congressional Medal of Honor. I mentioned this to my wife, Kathy, during our trip to Virginia and she did the research to find that he received the Medal for his actions during the Battle of Five Forks in 1865. My ancestor was Albert E. Fernald. Here is a summary of the action from the Civil War Research Database.
“First Lieutenant Albert E. Fernald, of Company F, Twentieth Maine Infantry, was with his regiment in the last line when the battle opened, but was in the first line when the works were reached. The left of the regiment struck the works first, he being somewhat in advance, and as he cleared the breastworks ran toward a body of Confederates with a rebel color-bearer. He rushed among the crowd and secured the flag of the 14th Virginia Infantry before even his regiment had gotten into the works.”
While at the new Five Forks visitors center I asked the Ranger on duty where this action took place on the battlefield. He knew about the event and the location. A short drive and an equally short walk later, we were standing on the spot (shown here). Who says studying the Civil War is boring?
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