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Edward Ratcliff
Born (1835-02-08)February 8, 1835
Died March 10, 1915(1915-03-10) (aged 80)
Place of birth James City County, Virginia
Place of death York County, Virginia
Place of burial Cheesecake Cemetery
Charles Corner, York County, Virginia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1864–1867
Rank Sergeant Major
Unit 38th Regiment United States Colored Troops

American Civil War

Awards Medal of Honor

Edward Ratcliff (February 8, 1835 – March 10, 1915) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm.

Born as a slave, he was freed when the Union Army took Yorktown. By September 29, 1864, Ratcliff was serving as a First Sergeant in Company C of the 38th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops. On that day, his unit participated in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm in Virginia, and it was for his actions during the battle that he was awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on April 6, 1865.

Ratcliff reached the rank of Sergeant Major before leaving the military. He died at age 80 and was buried in Cheesecake Cemetery, Charles Corner, York County, Virginia.[1]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Medal of honor old

Rank and Organization:

First Sergeant, Company C, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and Date: At Chapins Farm, Va., September 29, 1864. Birth: James County, Va. Date of Issue: April 6, 1865.


Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy's works.[2][3]

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

  • Melvin Claxton and Mark Puls, Uncommon valor : a story of race, patriotism, and glory in the final battles of the Civil War, (Wiley, 2006) (ISBN 0471468231)

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