Old South Military Antiques

Confederate Medal for Valor
Item #: OS-6826

The Davis Guard Medal is the only military valor medal ever issued by the Confederate Government.

It was bestowed by the State of Texas to Company F ("Davis Guards"), 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment, Texas Military Forces for their victory at the Second Battle of Sabine Pass. The battle was probably the most one-sided Confederate victory during the American Civil War and was considered the "Thermopylae of the Confederacy."

Only 50 of these were ever made, 49 for the men, and one for Jefferson Davis, the unit’s namesake. President Davis had his medal on him at the time of his capture in May 1865, but it was stolen by a Union soldier. A replacement was given to him by three veterans in 1875.

The medal consisted of a silver Mexican coin polished smooth with the letters "DG" on the front above a Maltese Cross. The reverse bore the inscription "Sabine Pass Sept. 23, 1864" in cursive script. The medal originally had a soldered-on loop along the top edge to which was attached a green ribbon as a nod to the Irish origins of the unit's members. The loop came off of the top of this one, and a hole has been punched to accommodate a string.

Organized as Company F of the Texas Heavy Artillery, the Davis Guards were an artillery unit composed of young, Irish dockhands from Houston and Galveston. In August 1863, the 47-man company was ordered to operate the six guns at Fort Griffin, near Sabine Pass. On the morning of September 8, 1863, Union gun boats appeared and shelled the fort for an hour. Later that day, the boats attempted to move through the pass. Under the command of Lieutenant Richard W. "Dick" Dowling, the Davis Guards fired 137 shots in a 40-minute, rapid-fire battle. They stopped the Union advance, captured 350 prisoners, and killed 50 Union soldiers without any losses.

On the first anniversary of the battle, Confederate Major General John B. Magruder presented each of the Davis Guards with a special citation and medal commissioned by grateful Houstonians.

There exist today only three other genuine examples. This example was discovered in the United Kingdom. The case, which is included, is merely for display, and is not related to the medal.


I have carefully studied this under a microscope, and believe it to be genuine, however, before any purchase will be consummated, I will submit it to one of the following grading services: Numismatic Guaranty Corporation or the Professional Coin Grading Service.


Price $28,000.00 USD

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