Established early in the Civil War to "promote efficiency in the Navy", the Medal of Honor rose to prominence in American history and heritage. Fewer than 3,500 Americans have been awarded Medals of Honor, and today only 81 of them survive. These heroes are a vanishing breed whose valiant history MUST be preserved for future generations. That heritage is nurtured and sustained on the ground floor of the Hall of Heroes.
The President of the United States
in the name of
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
BEARSS, HIRAM IDDINGS
Rank and Organization: Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 13 April 1875, Peru, Ind. Appointed from: Indiana. Other Navy Award: Distinguished Service Medal.
For extraordinary heroism and eminent and conspicuous conduct in battle at the junction of the Cadacan and Sohoton Rivers, Samar, Philippine Islands, 17 November 1901. Col. Bearss (then Capt.), second in command of the columns upon their uniting ashore in the Sohoton River region, made a surprise attack on the fortified cliffs and completely routed the enemy, killing 30 and capturing and destroying the powder magazine, 40 lantacas (guns), rice, food and cuartels. Due to his courage, intelligence, discrimination and zeal, he successfully led his men up the cliffs by means of bamboo ladders to a height of 200 feet. The cliffs were of soft stone of volcanic origin, in the nature of pumice, and were honeycombed with caves. Tons of rocks were suspended in platforms held in position by vine cables (known as bejuco) in readiness to be precipitated upon people below. After driving the insurgents from their position which was almost impregnable, being covered with numerous trails lined with poison spears, pits, etc., he led his men across the river, scaled the cliffs on the opposite side, and destroyed the camps there. Col. Bearss and the men under his command overcame incredible difficulties and dangers in destroying positions which, according to reports from old prisoners, had taken 3 years to perfect, were held as a final rallying point, and were never before penetrated by white troops. Col. Bearss also rendered distinguished public service in the presence of the enemy at Quinapundan River, Samar, Philippine Islands, on 19 January 1902.