Seaman James K. L. Duncan
Mississippi Squadron. Union Navy
Aboard U.S.S. Fort Hindman
Near Harrisonburg, La.
2 March 1864
Serving as an Ordinary Seaman aboard the Tinclad Paddlewheel Gunboat, U.S.S. Fort Hindman, James Duncan participated in several river engagements and attacks on Confederate shipping and installations along the river.
During the engagement near Harrisonburg, La., on 2 March 1864. A confederate shell hit the gun position Duncan was manning setting the cartridge rail (the explosive charges for the gun) ablaze. Knowing the explosion would destroy the vessel and killing Duncan and the other Union sailors on board. Duncan immediately seized the burning cartridge, wrestled it from the rail, then carried the flaming charge to the side and threw it overboard.
In spite of the immediate danger to himself, Duncan reported back to his gun and continued to deliver effective fire on enemy positions. Duncan Save his ship and stood his ground courageously throughout the engagement in which the Fort Hindman was raked severely with shot and shell from land-based enemy artillery.
Ordinary Seaman James K. L. Duncan, survived the Civil War passing at the age of 67 on 27 March 1913