Over the last two years you have heard me tell stories of over two hundred Medal of Honor recipients and there are quite a few where information is missing or there are even two names for the same person. This was the case for many people that emigrated to the United States because sometimes hand writing or accents prevented the information from being properly documented. Today, the story of John is one of those stories.
John was a Fireman First Class in the US Navy during the American Civil War and each of his Medal of Honor citations states a different birth location, birth year, and spelling of his last name. I am more inclined to believe that he was born in County Tyrone, Ireland in 1842 and came to the States through New York City. For the record, there are eighty-nine records of a John Laverty coming through Ellis Island, nine of which came from Ireland between 1848 and 1862, so it is extremely hard to track down more information. He did not enlist under his birth name but he did reenlist under his birth name, which is why both his citations have two different spellings. His actions on the 25th of May, 1864 would earn him the Medal of Honor, along with four other crew members of the gun boat. The citation reads:
Served on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing and participated in a plan to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864. Volunteering for the hazardous mission, Lafferty participated in the transfer of two torpedoes across an island swamp and then served as sentry to keep guard of clothes and arms left by other members of the party. After being rejoined by others of the party who had been discovered before the plan could be completed, Lafferty succeeded in returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp.
Seventeen years later, John would again display actions worthy of the Medal of Honor while in Peru. The citation reads:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Alaska at Callao Bay, Peru, September 14, 1881. Following the rupture of the stop-valve chamber on that vessel, Laverty hauled the fires from under the boiler.
John Laverty died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 13th of November, 1903, and is buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia: Section 3, Row 3, Grave 17.