1864 : George Emery Ranney, Lansing Doctor, Earns Medal of Honor

May 14, 2022 all-day

George E. Ranney, Army Assistant Surgeon, Battle of Resaca, Georgia May 14, 1864, First Michigan Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor


At great personal risk, went to the aid of a wounded soldier, Pvt. Charles W. Baker, lying under heavy fire between the lines, and with the aid of an orderly carried him to a place of safety.

Born: June 13, 1839 at Batavia, NY

Entered Service in the US Army from Grand Rapids, MI

Earned The Medal of Honor During the Civil War For heroism May 14, 1864 at Resaca, GA

Died: November 10, 1915 at the age of 76
Mt. Hope Cemetery Section F
1701 East Mt. Hope.
Lansing, MI

Earlier in the war Dr. Ranney was captured during the battle of Chickamauga and sent to the infamous Confederate prison camp Libby where he stayed for 44 days. While there he continued treating wounded soldiers until he was released. His war efforts were not done however.

During Union General Sherman’s march to the sea the Confederate forces under General Johnson fell back rapidly, but stiffened their resolve to make a stand at Resaca, Georgia, on May 13 – 16, 1864 during which eight men earned Medals of Honor. In action against these rebel forces on May 14, Assistant Surgeon George Ranney was one of five men cited for his heroism. Private Charles Baker, a Union soldier, fell wounded between the lines of fire and lay in a place of great danger. With an orderly, Assistant Surgeon Ranney braved the continuing heavy fire of both sides to go out on the battle field and carry Private Baker to safety.

Plaque on headstone reads:

Dr. George E. Ranney served in the civil war of 1861-5 as private hospital steward, assistant surgeon, and surgeon of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, as brigade surgeon, division surgeon, and surgeon of the Cavalry Corps of the military division of Mississippi.

Was awarded congressional medals of honor, bronze and gold, for “most
distinguished gallantry;” held hostage in Libby Prison 1863.

He was one of the founders of the Michigan State Medical Society in 1866 and its Secretary twenty years; elected Honorary Member of same 1886 and President 1891. Was Honorary Member of other medical bodies; a member of The American Medical and British Medical Associations; Fellow of the British Gynecological Association; member Michigan State Board of Registration of Medicine; State Inspector of Communicable Diseases; President U. S. Pension Board for Lansing; Surgeon Lake Shore and Michigan Southern and Pere Marquette Railways, and Division Surgeon Grand Trunk Railway; author of many medical papers, one in 1874, first showing bad water the prolific cause of typhoid fever.

Historical Marker

One June 23, 2014, another historical marker will be unveiled at Ranney Softball Park near Frandor. Not only was Ranney one of Lansing’s leading surgeons and a Civil War hero, he donated the park to the city in 1915.

Reminiscences of an army surgeon / by companion Geo. E. Ranney. 1897. Available at the Library of Michigan.

Lawrence Cosentino, Ripped, Soiled, and Battered”, Lansing City Pulse, June 18, 2014.

Portrait and Biographical Album Ingham & Livingston Counties
, p. 225

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