Since the Medal of Honor was created in 1861 there have been 3,469 awarded. Approximately half were awarded during the Civil War alone.
The Medal of Honor is the highest US Military honor awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. It is awarded by the President on behalf of the Congress and represents the gratitude of the American people.
There are two methods of being nominated for the Award. The most common is for the service member to be nominated and approved by the chain of command for his organization, the other is to be nominated by Congress and approved by a special Act of Congress.
The presentation is usually made at a formal ceremony, by the President, at the White House. Medals awarded posthumously are presented to the primary next of kin. Since 1941 more than half of the Medals have been awarded posthumously.
There are three versions of the Medal, Army, Navy, and Air Force. Marine and Coast Guard members receive the Navy version.