On May 15, 1862, a U.S. Navy sortie up Virginia’s James River to test Richmond’s defenses fell afoul of Confederate batteries atop Drewry’s Bluff, against which the warships were unable to effectively elevate their guns. The thinly armored ironclad USS Galena took the worst punishment, but amid the carnage Cpl. John Freeman Mackie seemed to be every- where, trading shots with Confederate marines or helping man Galena’s guns until it withdrew. For his dogged courage under fire he became the first U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor.