An Iowa Civil War soldier who received a rare military honor may have gotten his medal in the mail. Michael Vogt (VOHT), curator of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston, says seven Iowans received the Medal of Honor for what they did during the final battle of the Civil War — and one of those medals is on display at the museum. It’s the only Type One Medal of Honor in its presentation box available for the public to see in the state of Iowa. It was won by Colonel Edward James Bebb who in April of 1865 fought in the last battle of the Civil War at Columbus, Georgia. Vogt says it was decisive action in battle that won Bebb the honor. Bebb crossed a bridge, jumped over some Confederate defenses and ended up driving off a gun crew. For those actions, Bebb received the military’s highest honor — the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor against an enemy. But Vogt says it’s wasn’t “a big deal” back then to get the Medal of Honor. In fact, since the war ended Bebb probably didn’t get the award from his commanding officer. Vogt says Bebb likely received it in the mail. “It wasn’t until Teddy Roosevelt’s Adminstration that they felt the highest decoration in the country should be awarded with some ceremony, and at the White House,” Vogt says. Only three-thousand-four-hundred-60 (3,460) American soldiers and sailors have received the Medal of Honor. “We know that is among the first 500 Medals of Honor struck,” Vogt says. The presentatation box bears the name of a contractor who struck the first 500 Medals of Honor. Bebb was part of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, from Henry County before the war. He is bured in Jasper County. Over 76-thousand Iowans served in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Civil War.
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