Sergeant, Co. E, 11th New Hampshire Infantry
Place/Date of action: Spotsylvania, VA, 12 May 1864
Date of issue: 23 Sept 1897
Citation: Six color bearers of the regiment having been killed*, he voluntarily took both flags of the regiment and carried them through the remainder of the battle.
With the 11th NH, Barker participated in numerous engagements, including White Sulphur Springs, Fredericksburg, Siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, Miss., Siege of Knoxville, Fort Sanders, and the Wilderness. The Battle of Spotsylvania, on 12 May 1864, fell next in his record of battles.
The regiment,in the Second Brigade of Gen. Potter's 2nd Division in Burnside's IX Corps, held the Union's left flank when the battle commenced in the early morning of the 12th. His obituary, printed in the Boston Evening Transcript on March 8th, 1904, described the event, in part: "...six color bears were shot down. As the last bearer of the Stars and Stripes staggered from a rifle ball, Sergeant Barker sprang from his cover and seized the falling colors...the State's flag also fell, and this, too, was taken by the brave sergeant, who bore both flags through the remainder of the battle".
Nathaniel Barker died in Somerville, MA on 7 March 1904, aged 67 yrs, from cancer of the liver and kidney. His body was sent to Merrimack, NH, where he was buried on the 11th in Last Rest Cemetery.
A History of the Eleventh New Hampshire Volunteers: The Color Guard
Boston Evening Transcript, 8 March 1904 (pg 2)
Medal of Honor, 1863 - 1968: pg 25
* While the citation claims that six color bearers were killed, only James K. Lane of Co. G was mortally wounded on that day, while the others in the guard fell wounded. A total of 19 men of the 11th NH were killed that day, with over a hundred twenty-five wounded.