Served on board the U.S.S. Mississippi during the action against Port Hudson, 14 March 1863. Running aground during the darkness and in the midst of battle while exposed to a devastating fire from enemy shore batteries, the Mississippi was ordered abandoned after a long and desperate attempt to free her. Serving courageously throughout this period in which a steady fire was kept up against the enemy until the ship was enveloped in flames and abandoned. Howard acted gallantly in his duties as boatswain's mate. Soon after the firing of the Mississippi and its abandonment, it was seen to slide off the shoal, drift downstream and explode, leaving no possibility of its falling into enemy hands.