USS Valley City

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Congressional Medal of Honor winner




Rank and Organization:

Quarter Gunner, U.S. Navy

Born: Cedarville, N.J.

Accredited to: New Jersey.

G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863.




Served on board the U.S.S. Valley City during action against rebel fort batteries and ships off Elizabeth City, N.C., on 10 February 1862. When a shell from the shore penetrated the side and passed through the magazine, exploding outside the screen on the berth deck, several powder-division protecting bulkheads were torn to pieces and the forward part of the berth deck set on fire. Showing great presence of mind, Davis courageously covered a barrel of powder with his own body and prevented an explosion, while at the same time passing powder to provide the division on the upper deck while under fierce enemy fire.



Commander Rowan’s Report:

I would respectfully call your attention to one incident of the engagement  which reflects much credit upon a quarter gunner of the Valley City, and for which Congress has provided rewards in the shape of medals. A shot had passed through her magazine and exploded in a locker beyond containing fireworks. The commander, Lieutenant Commanding Chaplin, went there to aid in suppressing the fire, where he found John Davis, quarter gunner, seated with commendable coolness on an open barrel of powder as the only means to keep the fire out.