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William Joseph Franks
Personal Information
Born: 1830
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Navy
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Acting Master’s Mate
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: USS Marmora
Battles: American Civil War
Awards: Medal of Honor
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

William Joseph Franks (born 1830, date of death unknown) was a United States Navy sailor who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the American Civil War.


Franks was born in Pittsboro, North Carolina in 1830. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 16, 1863.

Franks distinguished himself in action at Yazoo City, Mississippi on March 5, 1864 when he and his shipmates from the USS Marmora landed a 12-pound howitzer to defend the city, which was threatened by strong Confederate forces. He and his group were in the thickest of the fighting, but it was never enough to drive them from their cannon. The actions of Franks and his men came to play the most important role in maintaining the Union position. Franks was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to Acting Master’s Mate in recognition of his gallantry.


A Fletcher-class destroyer, USS Franks (DD-554), was named in his honor and launched on December 7, 1942.

Medal of Honor citation[]

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1830, Chatham County, N.C. Entered service at: Duvalls Bluff, Ark. G.O. No.: 32, April 16, 1864.


Served on board the U.S.S. Marmora off Yazoo City, Miss., 5 March 1864. Embarking from the Marmora with a 12-pound howitzer mounted on a field carriage, Franks landed with the gun and crew in the midst of heated battle and, bravely standing by his gun despite enemy rifle fire which cut the gun carriage and rammer contributed to the turning back of the enemy during the fierce engagement.

See also[]

  • List of American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: A–F


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.