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Between 1898 and 1905: James M. Pipes to to the Compilers of the Volume Deeds of Valor

1  UPDATE: The image of James Milton Pipes you see here is the only known image of the Medal of Honor winner known to exist.  Robert Pipes, the owner of http://www.pipesfamily.com, graciously allowed me to reproduce this image as a result of the coments from David McKay located at the bottom of this page.

James Milton Pipes wrote the following statement2 to the compilers of the volume “Deeds of Valor” concerning his action at Gettysburg and at Reams Station sometime between 1898 and 1905. From the content it appears that the original statement may have been edited somewhat to fit the intent of the book.

[Editor’s Note: A portion of the letter detailing the Gettysburg Campaign has been omitted.  For that information and more, visit the James Milton Pipes Page at www.pipesfamily.com.]

“On August 24,1864, at Ream’s Station Virginia, two divisions of Hancock’s Corps having torn up and destroyed several miles of railroad, a detail was sent out on picket duty for the night. Being captain and ranking officer, the command devolved upon me.” Captain Pipes narrates in describing his second experience. “We were on duty all night, and the next day during the fight the enemy attempted to flank us, causing my command to become uneasy and fear capture. I saw clearly that to remain meant capture with serious loss, so finally assumed responsibility, and moved my men by the left flank back across the railroad, ordering them to lie down there while I reconnoitered.”

“I discovered that our forces had left their positions, so I returned and led my command at the double-quick to a depression, where I ordered them to lie down again. I had been there but a few minutes, when a battery of the enemy unlimbered and opened a terrific fire upon us. They soon had the range and would have destroyed us, had not I ordered the command back up the hill at a lively gait. Near the top an officer came galloping up to me and said: ‘Captain Pipes, if you will take in your men on the left and help check the enemy in their flank movement, I’ll see that you will get credit.'”

“Moving some distance I deployed my men as skirmishers and led them in what was supposed to be the direction of the command. Then I ordered them to move forward, taking care to avail themselves of any protection they might find. Shortly afterward the command was given, ‘cease firing’ to enable us to discover the situation of our men and that of the enemy. While looking out under the smoke, when the fire of the enemy had abated, I received a wound through the right arm, shattering it from near the shoulder down to the elbow. The fight at this time seemed to be nearly over, and with the assistance of two comrades, I was able to lead my command back to the woods, where I ran across my regiment. My ride in an ambulance for ten miles that night was a memorable one. The dangling arm was amputated the next day at City Point, Va.”


  1. Only known image of Medal of Honor winner James Milton Pipes.  Image used with the written permission of Robert Pipes.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction of this image may occur without the express written consent of Robert Pipes.
  2. Pipes, James M. to to the Compilers of the Volume Deeds of Valor: Sometime Between 1898 and 1905. James Milton Pipes Page.  Letter used with the written permission of Robert Pipes.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction of this letter may occur without the express written consent of Robert Pipes.
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • David McKay May 21, 2010, 10:23 pm

    Does any one have a photo of James Pipes? James was a cousin of my grandfather and I have a photo of a one armed man with my grandfather that I would sincerely like to identify. They were both in the Civil War at about the time James’ lost his arm. They both may have been at City Point on or about August 25 1864

    David R McKay

  • bschulte May 21, 2010, 10:57 pm


    Thanks for posting! I would like to put you in touch with Bob Pipes, who runs a Pipes Family web site at http://www.pipesfamily.com/. I do not know if Bob has a photo of James, but I’m going to put you in touch with him via email, which will be forthcoming shortly.

  • bschulte May 21, 2010, 11:08 pm


    The email I sent to you bounced back with an addressee unknown error message. Could you use the Contact form on the Contact Page to send us a correct email address or let us know the address you gave is no longer having issues?

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