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Joseph L. Follett, Missourian awarded the Medal of Honor



From DEEDS OF VALOR, From Records in the Archives of the United States Government: How American Heroes Won the Medal of Honor, Edited by W. F. Beyer and O. F. Keydel, The Perrien-Keydel Co., Detroit, Mich., 1907. Vol. 1, p. 66.

Joseph L Follett

Lieutenant Joseph L. Follet enlisted as a private in Co. G, First Missouri Infantry in 1861. From September of that year he served continuously throughout the war, never absent from his command a single day and, though twice wounded, always in active service. He saw, perhaps, as much real hard fighting, and actual duty, as any other man. He has the distinction of being the youngest officer in command of a battery.

“I was nineteen years old,” Lieutenant Follet writes, “when at the battle of Perryville, Ky., I had charge of a battery as first sergeant. Again at the age of twenty-one, as a second lieutenant, I drew and equipped a six-gun battery and reported to General King on Lookout Mountain. I commanded Fort Sheridan, one of the defenses at the right of Chattanooga, which I afterward turned over to my successor. Later I was appointed adjutant of the Artillery District of the Etowah,–General J. B. Steedman commanding,– comprising the defenses of Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, and Bridgeport.”

Lieutenant Follet took part in all the battles and campaigns under Generals Sheridan, Pope, King, and Steedman, who repeatedly selected him to carry orders under the most trying circumstances. He himself says in regard to these services:

“It really looked sometimes as though I would never return. On more than one occasion I had a miraculous escape from death.”

That Lieutenant Follet in the pursuit of these missions overcame all dangers and obstacles is evidence of his daring bravery and great presence of mind.

He was wounded at the battle of New Madrid, Mo., March 2, 1862, and at Farmington, Miss., May 9, 1862, yet, as stated before, continued in active service. He received his Medal of Honor for his intrepidity and fine soldierly qualities throughout his military career and was honored by General Sheridan by special mention in several reports of important battles and in the general’s personal memoirs.


2d Lieutenant, Co. G, 1st Mo. L. Art.

Highest rank attained: Lieutenant-Colonel,

Born at Newark, N. J., Feb. 16, 1843.