About Richard Willis
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Coxswain Richard Willis, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving on board the U.S.S. New Ironsides during action in several attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, 24 and 25 December 1864; and 13, 14 and 15 January 1865. The ship steamed in and took the lead in the ironclad division close inshore and immediately opened its starboard battery in a barrage of well-directed fire to cause several fires and explosions and dismount several guns during the first two days of fighting. Taken under fire as she steamed into position on 13 January, the New Ironsides fought all day and took on ammunition at night, despite severe weather conditions. When the enemy troops came out of their bombproofs to defend the fort against the storming party, the ship's battery disabled nearly every gun on the fort facing the shore before the ceasefire order was given by the flagship.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 59 (June 22, 1865)
Action Date: December 24 - 25, 1864 & January 13 - 15, 1865
Division: U.S.S. New Ironsides