Monday, May 27, 2013

Medal of Honor Recipient: Seaman Luke M. Griswold - Springfield, MA

Seaman Luke M. Griswold
Springfield, MA
Topic: Medal of Honor Recipients

GPS: N42° 07.373; W072° 34.066

Quick Description: 

The burial site of Seaman Luke M. Griswold has recently been discovered in Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield, MA. He is the first person from Springfield to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Long Description:

After being buried in obscurity in an unmarked grave for 121 years, the grave of Medal of Honor recipient Seaman Luke M. Griswold has been located in Springfield's Oak Grove Cemetery and a marble gravestone has been installed. The gravestone was arranged by J. Donald Morfe of Baltimore, Md., an Army veteran and retired executive for BlueCross BlueShield of Maryland.

Luke M. Griswold was born in Springfield in 1837. He enlisted in the Navy at the outbreak of the Civil War and was assigned to the supply ship, USS Rhode Island. On Dec. 30, 1862, his ship dispatched rescue boats to save the crew from the USS Monitor, which was sinking in a storm off Cape Hatteras, N.C. After rescuing two groups of sailors from the Monitor, Griswold’s boat was blown off course in treacherous seas and presumed lost. The boat drifted 50 miles before being picked up by a passing ship.

Griswold died, apparently penniless, in 1892. His wife later died in the Springfield poor house.

A white marble gravestone is inscribed with the image of the Medal of Honor and the following inscription in gold lettering:

1837 1892

Seaman Luke M. Griswold (1837-1892) was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lincoln. He was serving aboard the USS Rhode Island which was engaged in saving the lives of the officers and crew of the Monitor December 30, 1862. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts to help rescue crew from the sinking Monitor.

Citation from the Center for Military History Website


Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837, Massachusetts. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Rhode Island which was engaged in saving the lives of the officers and crew of the Monitor, 30 December 1862. Participating in the hazardous rescue of the officers and crew of the sinking Monitor, Griswold, after rescuing several of the men, became separated in a heavy gale with other members of the cutter that had set out from the Rhode Island, and spent many hours in the small boat at the mercy of the weather and high seas until finally picked up by a schooner 50 miles east of Cape Hatteras. 

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