GEORGE E. READ (1837-1910)

by James E. Fargo, FSA Scot

George E. Read was born on July 27, 1837 in Rhode Island. He enlisted as a seaman in the Union Navy and served on the sloop-of-war steamer U.S.S. Kearsarge when she found, pursued and sank the commerce raider steamer C.S.S. Alabama in less than one hour near Cherbourg Harbor, France.

Read’s Medal of Honor citation read: "Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June, 1864. Acting as the first loader of the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Read exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by his divisional officer."

Seventeen men of the Kearsarge crew were awarded the Medal of Honor for the superior gunnery of its gun crews using 11-inch Dahlgren smoothbore pivot cannons against the Alabama’s 32-pounder shells. Among those seventeen was Coxswain George E. Read.

George E. Read died on December 7, 1910 in Bristol, Rhode Island. He is buried in the Ancient Littleneck Cemetery, East Providence, Rhode Island.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Hall of Valor Project
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