> I think we would be interested in hearing what the friend's
> ancestor, Johnny Johnson, did to merit the nation's highest
> military honor.
John Johnson was a Norwegian immigrant living in Wisconsin when the war
broke out. (I'm doing this from memory---having loaned out some of my
books). He enlisted in the 2nd (?) Wisconsin, but apparently was soon
serving with Battery B. It was the gun John Johnson was serving that Gibbon
personally sighted during the fight in the Cornfield. He was a very lucky
man to survive that hellish part of Antietam.
His luck would not hold at Fredericksburg. While desperately trying to
check the advancing Confederates and the guns of the "Gallant Pelham",
Johnson's arm was torn off at the shoulder by a Rebel shell. He pitched
forward onto the snow covered ground, and was left for dead. The intense
cold and snow froze the gaping wound, and 3 days later he was found alive
by a burial squad.
He stood his post and did his job in the face of galling fire. Thousands
did the same. So why the medal? I suppose because he was in the process of
loading a shell when he lost his arm. He lost his arm but still managed,
somehow, to load that shell before he collapsed.