Purple Heart Medal
Purple Heart, designated
as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by General George
by order from his headquarters at Newburgh, New York, August 7, 1782.
writings of General Washington quoted in part:
ever desirous to cherish
a virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage
every species of Military Merit, directs that whenever any singularly
action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his
facings over the left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth or
silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual
gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in
any way shall meet with a due reward".
So far as the known surviving records show, this honor badge was
to only three men, all of them noncommissioned officers: Sergeant
Bissell of the 2d Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line;
William Brown of the 5th Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line,
and Sergeant Elijah Churchill of the 2d Continental Dragoons, which was
also a Connecticut Regiment. The original Purple Heart depicted on the
first page is a copy of the badge awarded to Sergeant Elijah Churchill
and is now owned by the New Windsor Cantonment, National Temple Hill
PO Box 525, Vails Gate, NY 12584. The only other known original badge
the badge awarded to Sergeant William Brown and is in the possession of
The Society of the Cincinnati, New Hampshire Branch but differs in
by not having any lettering embroidered on the heart and the leaves are
at the top only with a larger spray of leaves at the base.
Subsequent to the Revolution, the Order of the Purple Heart had fallen
into disuse and no further awards were made. By Order of the President
of the United States, the Purple Heart was revived on the 200th
of George Washington's birth, out of respect to his memory and military
achievements, by War Department General Orders No. 3, dated 22 February
1932. The criteria was announced in War Department Circular dated 22
1932 and authorized award to soldiers, upon their request, who had been
awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate or were authorized
to wear wound chevrons subsequent to 5 April 1917.
During the early period of World War II (7 Dec 41 to 22 Sep 43), the
Heart was awarded both for wounds received in action against the enemy
and for meritorious performance of duty. With the establishment of the
Legion of Merit, by an Act of Congress, the practice of awarding the
Heart for meritorious service was discontinued. By Executive Order
dated 3 December 1942, the decoration was extended to be applicable to
all services and the order required that regulations of the Services be
uniform in application as far as practicable. This executive order also
authorized award only for wounds received.
a. The Purple Heart
is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any
of an Armed Force who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Services after
5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may
die after being wounded;
(1) In any action against an enemy of the United States;
(2) In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in
which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged;
(3) While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed
against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a
(4) As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces;
(5) As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force;
(6) After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist
against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United
recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the department
or jointly by the Secretaries of the departments concerned if persons
more than one department are wounded in the attack; or,
(7) After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations, while
outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping
(8) After 7 December 1941, by weapon fire while directly engaged in
conflict, regardless of the fire causing the wound.
(9) While held as a prisoner of war or while being taken captive.
b. A wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by
a medical officer.
This example has the earlier version slot brooch, (WWII era) which is
to the ribbon. Overall the medal is in Very Good condition with
wear, but flawless enamel. The ribbon has slight discoloration due to
and handling. This medal has obviously been worn, however the original
recipient is unknown.
to purchase a current issue Purple Heart Medal.