Capt. Adolphe Libaire
USCIS Baltimore Field Office
The USCIS Baltimore District dedicates the Baltimore Field Office to Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Adolphe Libaire. Born in Baccarat, France, on May 2, 1840, Libaire earned the Medal of Honor for service during the Civil War at the Battle of Antietam in Antietam, Md. At that time he was a captain in the 9th New York Infantry.
On Sept. 17, 1862, Confederate forces ambushed the 9th New York Infantry. The rebels’ musket fire mowed down scores of soldiers, including the entire color guard of eight men. With the infantry’s regimental flag on the ground, eight more soldiers were shot trying to pick it up. The 22-year-old Libaire snatched it up and carried it above his head to the extreme front, urging the infantrymen forward. Awed by Libaire’s brave act, the 9th New York Infantry regained its momentum. The soldiers shattered through the rebel line, forcing the Confederate troops to break ranks and retreat. Libaire received the Medal of Honor on April 2, 1898, for “conspicuous gallantry.”
The 9th New York Infantry lost more than 60 percent of its soldiers during the Maryland Campaign of 1862. The Battle of Antietam is considered one of the major turning points of the Civil War. It is remembered as the single bloodiest day in U.S. history, with more than 23,000 Union and Confederate casualties over a 12-hour period.
Libaire was discharged from the military on May 20, 1863. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on Oct. 23, 1866, in the Superior Court of the City of New York. He was a member of the New York Stock Exchange from 1869 to 1908. He died on Sept. 5, 1920.