About Henry Wilkes
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Landsman Henry Wilkes, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving on board U.S. Picket Boat No.1 in action, 27 October 1864, against the Confederate Ram, Albemarle, which had resisted repeated attacks by our steamers and had kept a large force of vessels employed in watching her. The picket boat, equipped with a spar torpedo, succeeded in passing the enemy pickets within 20 yards without being discovered and them made for the Albemarle under a full head of steam. Immediately taken under fire by the ram, the small boat plunged on, jumped the log boom which encircled the target and exploded its torpedo under the port bow of the ram. The picket boat was destroyed by enemy fire and almost the entire crew taken prisoner or lost.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 45 (December 31, 1864)
Action Date: October 27, 1864
Division: U.S. Picket Boat #1