Some ramblings of a writer/genealogist/former snowbird who's in love with the American West (past and present). Exploring the past via my own families is my pastime and passion.
By Myra Vanderpool Gormley℠
Certified Genealogist by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, 1987-2012, retired 2012.
I was strolling through virtual cemeteries all over the country— updating and
adding links and info to Find-A-Grave for my Hensley family. I was doing this
from the comfort of my office, thousands of miles removed from where the actual
And when I re-visited the site (it had been a
while), I discovered someone had left this picture of a medal. So I looked
again at the only picture I have of him, and while his medal doesn’t match this
graphic — exactly, perhaps it solves the mystery and helps to date the photograph.
Civil War Campaign Medal—Army
The Civil War Campaign Medal was retroactively awarded
to all members of the United States Military who served during the American
Civil War. It was first authorized in 1905 for the 40th anniversary
of the war's conclusion. Originally intended as a commemorative award, it was
soon adopted as a military decoration due to its popularity in the senior
military ranks, many of whom were Civil War Veterans.
The blue and gray ribbon drape is to commemorate the
uniform colors of the Union and Confederate troops. The Army's version of the
medal has a profile of President Abraham Lincoln on the medallion while the
Navy and Marine Corps version depicts the battle between the USS Monitor and
the CSS Virginia.
Army Civil War Campaign Medal was established by the United States War Department on January 21, 1907, by General Orders Number 12. To
qualify, a soldier had to serve between April 15, 1861, and April 9, 1865. In
the U.S. Army, units with Confederate lineage use campaign streamers with the
gray edge up and units with Union lineage use campaign streamers with the blue
edge up. The closing date was extended to August 20, 1866, date of President
Johnson's Proclamation ending the war.
some recipients may have worn some form of the ribbon, the monies necessary to
mint and issue the medal were not appropriated by Congress until 1956 – 91
years after the war ended.
down in our family is a picture of five Hensley brothers and it has long been a
mystery as to the date it was taken and there’s some disagreements among family
members as to which brothers are pictured therein. There’s no dispute that the
one on the far right is Francis Marion Hensley (my ancestor) [1841-1923].
photograph of interest must have been taken near Muskogee, Oklahoma where he lived, and his
three brothers, who lived nearby are assumed to be included: They are: James (1856-1929),
Charles F. (1857-1920) and Ralph (R. M.) 1851-1921.
disagreement is whether the other brother in the photograph is George
(1835-1912) or Marble John (1851-1923), both of whom lived in Georgia. It
appears to me that the men are lined up by their ages, with the eldest (Francis
Marion) on the right. If so, next to him was Ralph, Marble John (I think),
James and then Charles. Francis Marion would have been about 64, with Ralph 61
and the rest in their 50s, except, Charles, the youngest, who would have been
date of the photograph is probably about 1905-10 and my guesstimate now is that
it was taken in 1905 — the 40th anniversary of the end of the Civil
War — and perhaps because of a reunion of those soldiers and the Civil War Campaign
Medal, although it is not clear to me that the medal was actually available
course, in genealogy, nothing is always positively, 100% accurate, and I’ve been
known to be wrong. If you can verify the men and the date or prove otherwise, let
me know. I'll be in a cemetery -- somewhere.