About James Sullivan
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Ordinary Seaman James Sullivan, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving on board the U.S.S. Agawam as one of a volunteer crew of a powder boat which was exploded near Fort Fisher, North Carolina, 2 December 1864. The powder boat, towed in by the Wilderness to prevent detection by the enemy, cast off and slowly steamed to within 300 yards of the beach. After fuses and fires had been lit and a second anchor with short scope let go to assure the boat's tailing inshore, the crew boarded the Wilderness and proceeded a distance of 12 miles from shore. Less than two hours later the explosion took place, and the following day fires were observed still burning at the forts.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 45 (December 31, 1864)
Action Date: December 23, 1864
Rank: Ordinary Seaman
Division: U.S.S. Agawam