First Lieutenant Ernest Albert Garlington, A Troop, 7th Cavalry – Distinguished Gallantry

Garlington promptly took his place among the fighting men and kneeling in plain view of Indians who, not 30 yards away, were pouring a galling fire into his little party, he continued the fight against overwhelming odds and held the ravine.
–Col. James W. Forsyth

Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington, 7th U.S. Cavalry, circa 1876.[1]

Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington, 7th U.S. Cavalry, circa 1876.[1]

Thirty-seven-year-old Ernest A. Garlington was the First Lieutenant of Captain Moylan’s A Troop and was commanding a detachment of that troop posted as sentinels just south of the dry ravine on the morning of December 29, 1890. Lieutenant Nicholson, the acting adjutant for 1st Battalion, mentioned speaking with Garlington just prior to the first shots fired that morning.

Just before the firing took place, I was in rear of the center of the line of tepees on the edge of the ravine with Lieut. Garlington, who was one of the officers on guard, when he remarked to me that the squaws were saddling up and packing and that he was satisfied that they would make a break. He advised me to report the fact to Major Whitside, and I was on my way to him and had reached the opening between B and K Troops when the first shot was fired by the Indians.[2]

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

Garlington’s actions at the ravine that morning were highlighted in greater detail in an article in the New York Times some years later.

In the battle Garlington had drawn his revolver, rallied his men and was directing a return fire, steadying his force by his example of cool commands. A rifle ball tore through his right arm, smashing forearm and elbow and the lower part of the upper arm. He fell, bleeding badly, but remained conscious. From the ground he continued to direct his men.[3]

One of the soldiers in Garlington’s troop, Private Andrew Flynn, was serving as a medic during the campaign. In later years he reminisced on treating his lieutenant’s wounds that fateful day.

As I had charge of a squad of first aid men, I handled the bandages and other medical supplies and was quite busy. I may say here that the first man we picked up was our first lieutenant, Ernest A. Garlington, of Troop A. He had a compound fracture of the right elbow. I first stopped the flow of blood, although he had lost quite a lot of it. I took my lance and ripped the sleeve from his blouse. But before I had it all done, he said, “Hell! That’s my new blouse!” I cut not only the sleeve of his blouse, but his shirt sleeve, too, and stopped the flow of blood, and then took him to his tent and laid him on his bed.

Then he fainted and I had quite a time with him, but had a little medicine on my hip and found a silver teaspoon and put some of the “medicine” in it and worked till I got some of it into his mouth and he opened his eyes and said, “The red devils got me!” He wanted to get his pistol, but I told him he did not need it and if he did have it he could not use it.[4]

Just four days after the battle, Colonel Forsyth recommended Garlington for a brevet promotion. He was the first soldier recommended for any form of official commendation from the campaign.

I have the honor to recommend First Lieut. E. A. Garlington, Seventh Cavalry, for the brevet of captain for the admirable manner in which he managed the portion of his troop under his charge and the fighting qualities displayed by him in the performance of his duties during the battle with Big Foot’s band of hostile Indians at the crossing of Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.[5]

Unfortunately Lieutenant Garlington’s wounds necessitated his being evacuated to Fort Riley in early January and he was not available to testify at Major General Miles’ inquiry into the Wounded Knee affair.

A little over a year after the battle Captain Ewing addressed the Association of Military Surgeons of the National Guard at St. Louis, Missouri, on April 19, 1892, wherein he provided a detailed description of wounds he treated both on the field of battle and subsequently in the field hospital at Pine Ridge. Following is his medical description of Garlington’s wounds.

Lieutenant G… received a shot which entered olecranon process of right ulna, comminuting that part, passing forwards through shaft, and gained exit at the posterior surface of arm, at junction of inferior with middle third. Treatment consisted of removing portions of bone; applying antiseptic dressings, and supporting arm. This case was turned over to another surgeon the day following his arrival at the field hospital. I have since learned that this officer has rejoined his regiment.[6]

In the fall of 1891, Lieutenant Garlington was interviewed by Colonel E. M. Heyl, who at Major General N. A. Miles’s behest was investigating acts of gallantry, heroism, and fortitude on the part of the soldiers at Wounded Knee. Garlington provided the following testimony.

I left camp at Wounded Knee December 27th, 1890, with a detachment of 20 men and one Indian, and made a scout down Porcupine Creek about 26 miles, to Old Batt’s Place. The Indian with me learned that two of Big Foot’s band had been there that day; that the band was to camp that night on the first creek east of Porcupine Creek on their way to the agency. I returned with my command to Major Whitside’s camp [having ridden 52 miles that day], and reported what I had learned about Big Foot’s band. The next morning Major Whitside sent Little Batt [U.S. Scout Baptiste Garnier] on the hill with a pair of field glasses to look for Big Foot. He returned shortly and reported that he saw them going (as he supposed) into camp on Porcupine Creek. Major Whitside moved out with the command, and met Big Foot with his band coming in, on their way to the agency, displaying a white flag. Major Whitside had a short talk with Big Foot, who was sick in a wagon, after which the Indians were surrounded by the troops and marched back to the 7th Cavalry camp, they had just left.

I was on guard the night before the fight at Wounded Knee and that morning. I occupied the ravine when the firing began and was shortly afterwards wounded in the arm, the shot cutting off the elbow joint. I did not notice any of the officers. I left the field shortly after being wounded. Sergeant Neder, “A” Troop, 7th Cavalry, was in the ravine and exposed himself conspicuously. He has since received a medal.

Private Schutt, Troop “A”, 7th Cavalry, was very conspicuous for his coolness and bravery under a very hot fire. This man has not received a medal or been mentioned.

Sergeant Howard, Troop “I”, (since dead), was very gallant and conspicuous, and did most excellent work as a sharpshooter. It would probably be a source of gratification to his family to have his name mentioned honorably in orders.[7]

The War Department recognized Garlington’s gallantry with honorable mention in General Order 100, but did not act on the brevet recommendation. Two years later Forsyth wrote a letter reiterating his original recommendation and provided additional detail regarding Garlington’s actions at Wounded Knee. Four days later on March 11, 1893, Major General Nelson A. Miles, Commanding the Department of Missouri, endorsed Forsyth’s recommendation, and Lieutenant Garlington was awarded the Medal of Honor on September 26, 1893, for his actions at the dry ravine near the Wounded Knee Creek. Following is Forsyth’s second letter of recommendation.

Close up of Brig. Gen. E. A. Garlinton's Medal of Honor, and campaign medals from the Indian Wars, Spanish War and Philippine Insurrection.

Close up of Brig. Gen. E. A. Garlinton’s Medal of Honor, and campaign medals from the Indian Wars, Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection.[8]

A line of sentinels were thrown around the Indian village, behind which ran a deep ravine. Capt. Garlington was in command of a small portion of this line, and in order to prevent escape into the high grass up this ravine leading into the foothills he ordered his party, in case the Indians made a break, to immediately gather ‘behind the cut banks of a road crossing the ravine and to hold it at all hazards. As was anticipated, the Indians, upon the opening of the fight, rushed for the ravine, but Capt. Garlington with his party, having seized the road crossing, held it so well that not an Indian escaped in that direction without having to leave the ravine and thereby expose himself to a galling fire from other troops. As a consequence only a very few did escape. There was gathered with him there one officer, four noncommissioned officers, and five privates, but the shelter behind the banks of the road was of such a character that only about four men at a time could avail themselves of it and fire, whilst every time they fired they were partially exposed. However, Capt. Garlington promptly took his place among the fighting men and kneeling in plain view of Indians who, not 30 yards away, were pouring a galling fire into his little party, he continued the fight against overwhelming odds and held the ravine. Of the 11 men composing his party, 3 were killed and 3 wounded, but he held his position, emptied a Winchester rifle (private property with which he had armed himself before the fight) and then, taking the carbine of a private, he continued shooting (while the private supplied him with cartridges from behind) until he himself was knocked over by a bullet. He was finally led away, very weak from loss of blood. Sergt. Adam Neder, Troop A, Seventh Cavalry, who, in this same list with Lieut. Hawthorne, is granted a medal of honor, was a member of this party and was kneeling shoulder to shoulder with Capt. Garlington at the time he (Neder) was wounded.”[9]

Born February 20, 1853, at Newberry, South Carolina, Ernest Albert Garlington was the second of five children of Albert Creswell and Sarah (Moon) Garlington. A. C. Garlington was a wealthy lawyer and graduate of the University of Georgia who owned over fifty slaves by 1860, twenty-two of adult age. He served as a South Carolina state senator, and during the war was a brigadier general of state troops. The Garlingtons’ five children were Mrs. Octavia Fair born 1849 and died 1928, Earnest Albert, the subject of this posting, Meredith William, born 1855 and died 1896, Harry, born 1865 and died 1936, and Albert Creswell, born 1869 and died 1882. A. C. Garlington died in 1885 and his wife, Sarah, in 1910.[10]

In 1867, the Garlington’s moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and at the age of seventeen Ernest Garlington attended the University of Georgia for three years. Garlington gained an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and matriculated in 1872.[11]

Garlington graduated number thirty of forty-eight cadets in the class of 1876 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 7th Cavalry. His low standing prevented him from selecting the branch and regiment of his choice, but within days he would be thankful that fate had drawn him to the Seventh regiment of cavalry. While just beginning his post-graduation leave, Garlington’s new regiment rode into battle at the Little Big Horn. Due to the large number of losses across the regiment, Garlington was immediately promoted and reported to his regiment in early August a new First Lieutenant. Years later he wrote that had he not been assigned to the 7th Cavalry he, “would not have received my promotion as First Lieutenant within ten days after graduation; would not have had the fortunate opportunity for service with that gallant regiment and make the record I did make.”[12]

Garlington served as the adjutant of the regiment for over four years, and it was in that capacity that he rode with Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis into the battle of Cañon Creek against the Nez Percé Indians in September 1877. In that battle, the young lieutenant was able to make an impression on his regimental commander, for Colonel Sturgis mentioned him by name in one of his official reports:

In the accompanying reports will be found the names of several officers and enlisted men whose good conduct has been deemed worthy of special mention, and I take pleasure in commending them to favorable consideration. To Lieutenants Garlington and Hare of my staff, and Mr. S. Slocum (a young gentleman who accompanied the exhibition as an amateur and who volunteered his services) I am under obligations for the gallant and indefatigable manner in which my orders were conveyed—often under a galling fire—to all parts of the field.[13]

In June 1883, Garlington volunteered to lead a relief mission to Lady Franklin Bay to provide relief supplies to the Greely Arctic expedition.[14] Ultimately Garlington’s steamship was crushed in the ice. Writing in a log from Littleton Island, in 1883 Garlington described the harsh conditions his crew faced:

The steamship Proteus was crushed by ice in an attempt to deliver supplies to Greely’s beleaguered expedition. Photograph from the National Archives.[15]

This party was in the steamer “Proteus,” of Saint John’s, Newfoundland, chartered by the United States Government, going to the relief of Lieut. A. W. Greely, U. S. Army, at Lady Franklin bay, Grinnell Land. The steamer was crushed in the ice between Cape Sabine and Cape Albert, Bache island, on the afternoon of the 23d instant. All saved. Much provisions gotten over side of ship, but a great quantity went under before it could be removed a sufficient distance from the ship for safety.[16]

Initially Garlington was brought up on charges for the failed mission and faced a court of inquiry. The court settled with a mild chastisement of Garlington’s judgment while at the same time commending his energy, and zeal. The court placed most of the blame on Garlington’s superior, Major General William B. Hazen, but stopped short of pursing charges against either officer.

Lieut. Garlington’s error in this respect is regarded as one of judgment, committed in the exercise of a difficult and unusual discretion, for which, in the opinion of the court, he should not be held to further accountability. It is also due to him to say that, in the general conduct of the expedition prior to the loss of the ship, he displayed zeal, energy, and efficiency, as well as afterward successfully conducting his command through a long, perilous, and laborious retreat in boats to a place of safety.[17]

In 1886, Garlington married Miss Anna Bowers Buford, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Grace (Bowers) Buford. Two years earlier Miss Buford’s sister, Sarah, married another 7th Cavalry lieutenant, James Franklin Bell, West Point class of 1878 and a future Chief of Staff of the Army. The Garlington and Buford marriage produced three children: Creswell born in 1887, Buford born in 1889 and died the same year, and Mrs. Sally Chamberlin born in 1890.[18]

After more than fifteen years as a First Lieutenant, promotion to Captain came to Garlington little more than a year after Wounded Knee. In the Army’s efforts at enhancing professional development, it created the Cavalry and Light Artillery School at Fort Riley with Colonel James Forsyth, commander of the 7th Cavalry, serving as the first commandant. Naturally the other officers of the regiment served in various capacities within the new school. Captain Garlington served as an instructor of hippology from 1891 to 1895.[19]

Seeing little chance for advancement to Major under the painfully slow pace of the seniority based promotion system of the 1890s, Garlington sought a transfer to the Staff Army as an Inspector General. His request was approved, and in January 1895 he was promoted to Major, little more than three years after his promotion to Captain.[20]

Major Garlington wrote a history of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment that was published in 1896 along with historical sketches of other regiments across the Army.  Following is an extract from Garlington’s regimental history describing the events surrounding the Battle of Wounded Knee.

E. A. Garlington’s personal copy of The Army of the United States: Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief, 1789-1896. Garlington wrote the chapter, “The Seventh Regiment of Cavalry.” According to the PBA Galleries, source of this photograph, Garlington’s copy of the book also contained a copy of a letter from the Adjutant General’s Office, dated May 16, 1932, awarding Garlington the Purple Heart “on account of wound received in action on December 29, 1890, while serving as a 1st Lt. 7th Cavalry.”[21]

The year 1890 is memorable for the Sioux outbreak after a peace of more than ten years. The history of this disturbance of the friendly relations which had existed for so long a period is full of interest, but only a passing reference can be made to it. Religious fervor, including the belief in the advent of a Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, the return of the buffalo and the departure of the white man from the Indian country, seized the savage mind; and its manifestations in the ghost dance and other ceremonies gave rise to the belief on the part of agents and others that the entire Indian nation meditated war.

Whether this belief was correct or not has never been definitely decided. In November the agent at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, not equal to the emergency which presented itself, deserted his post of duty, reported his Indians on the eve of war and called for military protection.

Immediately orders were issued for the concentration of a large force at Pine Ridge, under Brigadier General John R. Brooke. The headquarters and eight troops of the regiment formed a part of this force. At the same time troops were placed at strategical points north of this agency, in the Department of Dakota. One of these commands was located on the Cheyenne River in observation of Big Foot’s band, and of other Indians camped in that city.

Nothing of a hostile character occurred at Pine Ridge Agency for several weeks after the arrival of the troops. The time was spent in negotiating with a camp of Brulés and malcontents from Pine Ridge, which had been established upon the approach of troops in the Bad Lands north of White River. This was called the hostile camp. These negotiations, which looked to bringing these Indians into the agency, were progressing with a fair prospect of success until the news of the killing of Sitting Bull near Standing Rock was received, when they were to some extent interrupted. They were, however, resumed until broken off by an actual collision between the Indians and troops. Big Foot was a bad Indian, a disturbing element. In his camp the followers of Sitting Bull, who escaped when he was killed, found an asylum. There were also other renegades from the Missouri River agencies. On the night of the 22d December he escaped with his village from the troops that were supposed to hold him. The Major General commanding the Division, then at Rapid City, South Dakota, informed General Brooke of the escape, of the desperate character of the Indians, and impressed upon him the necessity of capturing, disarming and holding them under close guard.

On the 26th December, Forsyth, under orders from Brooke, sent Whitside‘s squadron, and two Hotchkiss guns under Lieutenant H. L. Hawthorne, 2d Artillery, to the Wounded Knee Post Office, the purpose being to capture Big Foot’s band if he should come that way. Brooke informed Whitside on the 27th that Big Foot must be in his front, and directed him to “find him, to move on him at once and with rapidity, to capture him, and if he fought to destroy him.”

Whitside did capture him on the 28th, without a fight, about six miles from Wounded Knee Post Office. The Indians were conducted to the camp which had been left standing on the Wounded Knee. They were assembled, counted, and rations issued to three hundred and fifty persons; one hundred and twenty bucks, the rest women and children.

Whitside reported his successful capture and requested reinforcements, that the disarmament, which was to be consummated on the morrow, be accomplished without bloodshed.

In response to his request Forsyth arrived during the night of the 28th with Regimental Headquarters and the second squadron; two Hotchkiss guns under Captain A. Capron, 1st Artillery; and Lieutenant Taylor, 9th Cavalry, with his troop of scouts, to which was attached Lieutenant Preston, 9th Cavalry. Forsyth’s instructions were to “disarm the Indians where they were camped, to, under no circumstances allow any of them to escape, and to destroy them if they resisted;” and as soon as the disarmament was completed to leave Whitside in charge and return at once to the agency.

Early the next morning Monday, the 29th of December, Forsyth made his dispositions to disarm the Indians, peaceably if possible, by force if necessary.

The bucks were invited into council between their own village and the camp; nearly all of them, one hundred and six, came wrapped in blankets. Big Foot remained in his tent.

General Forsyth, kindly and pleasantly, yet firmly, demanded the surrender of their arms. While the negotiations were progressing, a young buck fired into the soldiers. The others threw aside their blankets which concealed their weapons, and poured a murderous fire into the troops, which had been posted between them and their village, following it up as rapidly as their repeating rifles could belch forth the lead. The fight raged on the flat about one hour before it was cleared entirely of Indians. Here Captain George D. Wallace, commanding Troop K, and twenty-one enlisted men, including one hospital steward, were killed; Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington was shot through the right elbow; Lieutenant John C. Gresham received an abrasion on the nose from a passing bullet; Captain Charles A. Varnum had his pipe knocked from his mouth by a bullet; Captain John Van R. Hoff, Assistant Surgeon, received several bullets through his clothing, and twenty-one enlisted men were wounded. Father Craft, Catholic priest, who was present using his good offices to persuade the Indians to submit to the demands made of them by General Forsyth, received a vicious stab in the back which penetrated his lung. Scout Wells had his nose nearly cut off. Lieutenant John Kinzie, 2d Infantry, who was present as a spectator, was shot through the foot.

Some of the Indians, many of them wounded, escaped to a ridge of hills lying just west of camp, and secreted themselves in stump holes and inaccessible ravines. It was while attempting to dislodge a party which was doing considerable execution that Lieutenant. H. L. Hawthorne, 2d Artillery, received a very severe wound. The fighting in the hills was done by Troops C, D, E and G, which were mounted at the beginning of the engagement. They lost four men killed and four wounded; Lieutenant Donaldson was struck by a bullet with sufficient force to penetrate his leather belt and his clothing. There were many acts of individual bravery and gallantry, but every man showed himself a soldier—with the nerve born of disciplined courage.

Although a very small percentage of the enlisted men had ever been under fire before—sixty recruits having joined at Pine Ridge—and the attack was sudden, there was no undue excitement. Each man obeyed orders, stood his ground, and shot to hit, and proved himself worthy of the number he wore upon his cap. One hundred and forty-six Indians were subsequently buried on the field; and there was undoubted evidence that many bodies had been removed; thirty-three Indians, nearly all wounded, were captured. The “hostiles” reported seven Indians as having escaped to their camp—all wounded except one.

The fight was over about three o’clock in the afternoon.

In view of the possible effect, of this fight upon the other Indians, and for the better care and protection of his wounded, Forsyth moved his command to the agency, arriving there about eleven o’clock at night.

At six o’clock on the morning of the 30th he was called to go to the assistance of Major Henry’s wagon train which had been attacked near the agency. One hour after his return to camp he was ordered to go the Drexel Mission, four miles from the agency which was reported attacked by the hostiles. It proved to be a false alarm.

When about to return, Little Bat, a scout, reported that he had heard the “firing of big guns” down the White Clay. Knowing that troops were located in that direction on the other side of the supposed position of the hostile camp, Forsyth determined to make a reconnaissance in force down the stream, to either confirm or demonstrate the error of the report. To guard against emergencies he sent couriers to General Brooke and Colonel Henry, asking that the latter join him at once.

The scouts, under Lieutenant Preston, 9th Cavalry, developed a small force which was pushed back by the advance guard. The number of Indians rapidly increased until the hills were full of them—at least three or four hundred opposed the advance of the troops. Forsyth’s instructions did not contemplate a general engagement which he knew would be precipitated if he pushed matters, and as soon as he became convinced that there was no heavy firing down the White Clay he decided to withdraw.

He was in the act of withdrawing his troops when Henry’s squadron of the 9th Cavalry arrived, having promptly responded to Forsyth’s request. These troops were placed in position, under Forsyth’s direction, and assisted in the completion of the movement.

The loss in this engagement was one enlisted man killed; Lieutenant James D. Mann, and six enlisted men wounded. Lieutenant Mann died of his wound, at Fort Riley, Kansas, on the 15th January, 1891. The loss among the Indians is unknown.

On the 30th December, 1890, the Major General commanding the army telegraphed to the Major General commanding the forces at Pine Ridge, asking him to thank the “Brave Seventh Cavalry for their splendid conduct.”

In the latter part of January the Indian problem at Pine Ridge was settled to the satisfaction of the Major General commanding. The prompt and drastic punishment awarded treachery at Wounded Knee contributed in no small measure towards bringing the hostile Indians to a realizing sense of their obligation to comply with the demands of the Government. The troops were relieved and sent to their stations.

The train carrying the second squadron of the Seventh Cavalry, and Capron’s battery of the 1st Artillery, collided with a passenger train, running at full speed, when within a short distance of Fort Riley. The wreck was complete; the escapes from death and injury miraculous. A sergeant of artillery and a private of cavalry were killed, and Captain E. S. Godfrey, 7th Cavalry, sustained a painful and permanent injury.[22]

In his capacity as an Inspector General, Garlington served under General Joseph Wheeler in Cuba during the battles surrounding Santiago in the summer of 1898, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel that June. Two years later Garlington served as the Inspector General of the Division of the Philippines in Manila and was promoted to Colonel in March 1901.[23]

Brigadier General Ernest Albert Garlington, Inspector General of the Army. Photograph by Harris & Ewing Photography.[25]

Finally in October 1906, Garlington rose to the pinnacle of his profession when he was promoted to Brigadier General and appointed as the Inspector General of the Army. His promotion and appointment came just six months after his brother-in-law, Major General J. Franklin Bell, became the third Chief of Staff of the Army.[24]

Garlington’s promotion to the flag rank came at the height of a third controversy in his career known as the Affray at Brownsville, Texas. Racial tensions between Texas townspeople of Brownsville and the Buffalo Soldiers of the Twenty-fifth Infantry Regiment at Fort Brown sparked into a night of retribution on the part of a few African American soldiers on August 13 and 14, 1906, at the end of which a sheriff was wounded and a barkeeper murdered. Garlington was assigned as one of the inspectors, and spending little more than a few days with the regiment was unable to get any of the soldiers to admit to guilt or provide statements against the perpetrators. He concluded his investigation by recommending:

that orders be issued as soon as practicable discharging, without honor, every man in Companies B, C and D of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, serving at Fort Brown, Tex., on the night of August 13, 1906, and forever debarring them from reenlisting in the Army or Navy of the United States, as well as from employment in any civil capacity under the Government. In making this recommendation I recognize the fact that a number of men who have no direct knowledge as to the identity of the men of the Twenty-fifth Infantry who actually fired the shots on the night of the 13th of August, 1906, will incur this extreme penalty.[26]

Being a southerner from South Carolina and the son of a former slave owner, Garlington came under scrutiny for his harsh recommendation and was widely criticized for prejudice. The Constitution League of the United States filed a motion in which Garlington was named.

The investigation by Inspector-General Garlington, in which he examined only a small number of men out of the entire battalion shows that evidently he, too, had already made up his mind that the soldiers were guilty. He restricted them entirely to answering questions relative to what soldiers, if any, were engaged in shooting in the riot, and to matters bearing on the identity of those persons; and he refused to listen to any answers explaining where the soldiers were and the conditions which made it impossible for them to have knowledge of the identity of the rioters or any details or incidents of the alleged riot.[27]

Even soldiers in those three companies who were sick in the post hospital, under watch in the guard house, or in the company of some of the officers, were not immune from the blanket discharge without honor. President Theodore Roosevelt came to the backing of the newly promoted Inspector General when he wrote to the Senate.

An effort has been made to discredit the fairness of the investigation into the conduct of these colored troops by pointing out that General Garlington is a Southerner. Precisely the same action would have been taken had the troops been white–indeed, the discharge would probably have been made in summary fashion…. The standard of professional honor and of loyalty to the flag and the service is the same for all officers and all enlisted men of the United States Army, and I resent with the keenest indignation any effort to draw any line among them based upon birthplace, creed, or any other consideration of the kind.[28]

President Roosevelt followed through with General Garlington’s recommendation and discharged 167 colored soldiers without honor and without a single trial. Just as with the earlier controversies of the failed relief of the Greely expedition and the battle of Wounded Knee, Garlington emerged from the Affray at Brownsville with his career and his name intact. The disgraced soldiers were not so fortunate, as their honor was not restored until 1972 when all were granted honorable discharges, all but one being posthumous.[29]

General Garlington continued to serve for another eleven years as the Inspector General of the Army retiring in February 1917 at the age of sixty-four. He died Tuesday, October 16, 1934, at San Diego, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery one week later on the 23rd. His wife joined him in death in 1954.[30]

Brigadier General Ernest A. Garlington is buried with his wife, Anna Buford, and daughter, Sally Chamberlain, at Arlington National Cemetery.[31]

On 19 May 2004, almost seventy years after his death and one hundred and fifty after his birth, the South Carolina General Assembly adopted a concurrent resolution commending Ernest A. Garlington’s extraordinary heroism at Wounded Knee. Following is that resolution.

Medal of Honor presented to Private George Hobday, A Troop, 7th Cavalry

This 1862 version of the Medal of Honor is the type originally presented to Lieut. Garlington. This particular medal was presented to Private George Hobday, in Garlington’s A Troop, 7th Cavalry.


Whereas, throughout our nation’s history, men and women in all eras from Concord and Lexington to Falleujah have gone in harm’s way to protect and secure our country’s freedom and way of life; and

Whereas, to recognize extraordinary heroism the Congress of the United States established the Medal of Honor which represents the highest award for valor in combat that can be bestowed upon a member of the armed forces of the United States; and

Whereas, there have been more than three thousand four hundred recipients but fewer than one hundred forty remain with us today; and

Whereas, most recipients of the medal are ordinary Americans from ordinary backgrounds who, under extraordinary circumstances and at great risk to their own lives, performed an incredible act or a series of acts of conspicuous valor that clearly sets them apart from their comrades; and

Whereas, thirty-seven citizens of South Carolina have received the Medal of Honor since its inception; and

Whereas, First Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington, a native of Newberry, is one of these South Carolinians; and

Whereas, First Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington, serving in the 7th United States Cavalry, displayed conspicuous courage and distinguished gallantry in action at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, on 29 December, 1890; and

Whereas, the members of the General Assembly, by this resolution, would like to publicly recognize and honor this brave and courageous son of South Carolina for his extraordinary heroism in the defense of our country and her ideals which epitomizes the very best of what America stands for. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the members of the General Assembly commend the extraordinary heroism of First Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor, which is the highest award that can be bestowed upon a member of the armed forces of the United States.[32]


[1] Wisconsin Historical Images, “Ernest Albert Garlington,” (, accessed 15 Oct 2013.
[2] National Archives, “Sioux Campaign, 1890-91,” 669 – 671 (Nicholson’s testimony dated 7 Jan 1891).
[3] Associated Press, “Gen. Garlington, 81, Dies,” The New York Times, 18 Oct 1934.
[4] Andrew M. Flynn, “An Army Medic at Wounded Knee,” in Indian War Veterans: Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West, 1864-1898, comp. Jerome A. Greene (New York: Savas Beatie, 2007), 186-192.
[5] United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, Volume 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919), 455.
[6] George B. Shattuck, ed., “The Wounded of The Wounded Knee Battlefield, with Remarks on Wounds Produced by Large and Small Calibre Bullets by Charles B. Ewing,” The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Volume CXXVI, January – June 1892, (Boston: Damrell and Upham, 1892), 466.
[7] Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor, Principal Record Division, file 3466, Record Group: 94, Stack area: 8W3, Row: 7, Compartment 30, Shelf: 2. I am greatly appreciative of the research conducted by Vonnie S. Zullo of The Horse Soldier Research Service.
[8] Harris & Ewing, photo., “Garlington, E. A. General,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington DC, LC-DIG-hec-16305.
[9] Secretary of War, “General Staff Corps and Medals of Honor,” United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, Volume 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919), 455-456.
[10], 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009, Year: 1850, Census Place: Newberry, Newberry, South Carolina, Roll: M432_856; Page: 187A, Image: 381; Year: 1860; Census Place: Newberry, Newberry, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1224; Page: 301; Image: 184; Family History Library Film: 805224;, 1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010, Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls; Year: 1870; Census Place: Atlanta Ward 1, Fulton, Georgia, Roll: M593_151; Page: 103B, Image: 10, Family History Library Film: 545650; Year: 1880, Census Place: Greenville, Greenville, South Carolina; Roll: 1230, Family History Film: 1255230, Page: 82C, Enumeration District: 082.
[11] University of Georgia, “Garlington, Ernest Albert — Page 1,” Centennial Alumni Catalog from the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, ( accessed 24 Oct 2013; James S. Robbins, Last in Their Class: Custer, Picket and the Goats of West Point, (New York: Encounter Books, 2006), 326.
[12] Robbins, Last in Their Class, 326.
[13] United States Congress, Index to the Executive Documents of the House of Representatives for the Second Session of the Forty-fifth Congress, 1877-’78, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1878), 512.
[14] George W. Cullum, “Ernest A. Garlington,” Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, Vols. 3 -6.
[15] Public Broadcasting Service, “The Greely Expedition,” American Experience, ( accessed 24 Oct 2013. The photograph has the caption,”The Proteus in ice.”
[16] Ernest A. Garlington, Report on Lady of Franklin Bay Expedition of 1883, (Washington City: Signal Office, 1883), 36.
[17] Associated Press, “Gen. Hazen’s Mistake, Findings of the Proteus Court of Inquiry,” The New York Times, 14 Feb 1884, ( accessed 24 Oct 2013.
[18] 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Year: 1910, Census Place: Precinct 3, Washington, District of Columbia, Roll: T624_150, Page: 5A, Enumeration District: 0052, FHL microfilm: 1374163; National Archives and Records Administration, Burial Registers of Military Posts and National Cemeteries, compiled ca. 1862-ca. 1960, Archive Number: 44778151, Series: A1 627, Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, Record Group Number: 92.
[19] Cullum, Biographical Register, Vol. IV, 269.
[20] Cullum, Biographical Register, Vol. V, 245-246.
[21] Photograph from PBA Galleries, Auctioneers and Appraisers, Lot 118 of 336 (, accessed 20 Jan 2019. According to the website, “Rare association copy, signed three times by Brig. Gen. Ernest Albert Garlington (1853-1934), of the U.S. Army; twice signed (along with some red penciled notes) on the front endpapers and signed on the title page: ‘E. A. Garlington, 7th Cavalry, 25 Jan. 76 – 3 Jan. 95.’ Also, with a copy letter from the U.S. War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, dated May 16, 1932, awarding Garlington the Purple Heart ‘on account of wound received in action on December 29, 1890, while serving as a 1st Lt. 7th Cavalry;’ and a typed letter from the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, addressed to Brig. Gen. Ernest A. Garlington, both laid in.”
[22] Major E. A. Garlington, “Seventh Regiment of Cavalry,” The Army of the United States: Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief, Theodore F. Rodenbough and William L. Haskin, eds., (New York: Maynard, Merrill & Co., 1896), 264-267.
[23] Cullum, Biographical Register, Vol. V, 245-246.
[24] Ibid.
[25] Harris & Ewing, photo., “Garlington, E. A. General,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington DC, LC-DIG-hec-16305.
[26] United States Congress, Affray at Brownsville, Tex., Vol. 1, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1908), 531.
[27] Ibid., 220.
[28] Ibid., 2.
[29] John D. Weaver, The Brownsville Raid, (College Station: Texas A & M Press, 1992), 9.
[30] Cullum, Biographical Register, Vol. VI, 245;, U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962[database on-line], Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962, Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92, The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland.
[31] John Evans, photo., “Gen Ernest Albert Garlington,” FindAGrave, ( accessed 16 Oct 2013.
[32] South Carolina General Assembly, 115th Session 2003-2004, “Ernest A. Garlington,’ H. 5298, ( accessed 24 Oct 2013.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “First Lieutenant Ernest Albert Garlington, A Troop, 7th Cavalry – Distinguished Gallantry,” Army at Wounded Knee, (Sumter, SC, and Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2018,, last updated 20 Jan 2019, accessed date ____________.

Posted in Award Recipients, Officers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

First Lieutenant James DeFrees Mann, K Troop, 7th Cavalry

I ordered my men to fire and the reports were almost simultaneous.

Lieut. J. D. Mann

2nd Lieut. James D. Mann, 7th Cavalry, in camp at Fort Riley, Kansas, 1888.[1]

On December 28, 1890, First Lieutenant James D. Mann, K Troop 7th Cavalry, was left in charge of his battalion’s camp at the Wounded Knee Post Office while his battalion commander, Major S. M. Whitside, rode out with over 240 troopers to meet and capture Big Foot and his band of Miniconjou Lakota. Lieutenant Mann sent the following message at 1:30 p.m. from the cavalry camp to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of the Platte headquartered in the field at the Pine Ridge Agency.

Major Whitside with all mounted men and mountain guns left camp at 12 m. to meet Big Foot’s band, reported to be in camp at the crossing of the Porcupine, having been reported there by Little Bat. We have in camp here two of their men, holding them as prisoners.
I have just been informed by Vespucius, a halfbreed, who has driven from the agency to this point, that he met about 50 strange Indians, who were about 9 miles from the agency and heading in that direction. These, I learn from our prisoners, are from Cherry creek and are trying to get into the agency.[2]

James D. Mann graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1877 and served with the 7th U.S. Cavalry for over thirteen years. As a thirty-six-year-old platoon leader in K Troop, Lieutenant Mann was in the thick of the fight at the Battle of Wounded Knee, in which his troop commander, Captain George D. Wallace, was killed. The following day Mann was commanding K Troop at the Drexel Mission fight along the White Clay Creek and was wounded in the hip. He was evacuated to Fort Riley, Kansas for recuperation.   From his hospital bed, Mann dictated to one of his brothers his account of the battle at Wounded Knee.

Before all of Big Foot’s band came in [on December 28, 1890], two bucks were brought to camp. I had a boy with me from one of the agency stores and, through him, asked one of the bucks why they were coming in. He answered, “Because Red Cloud sent for us.” I then asked him if they had seen anything of Colonel Henry’s soldiers. [Major Guy V. Henry, 9th Cavalry, was scouting farther north at the confluence of Wounded Knee Creek and the White River.] He answered “No, but if they had, they would have run them out of the country quick enough.” I thought both of these answers sounded ominous, and the boy thought so, too, for he said, “Yes, you are nice Indians to talk of running the soldiers out of the country.”

The night before the fight, the Indians had asked for tents, saying they had not enough tent room, so we put up Wallace’s mess tent and some “Sibleys,” but when we went into them in the morning, there were no evidences of their having been occupied, except Wallace’s, which was occupied by Big Foot, who was sick.

The morning of the 29th we started to disarm them, the bucks being formed in a semi-circle in front of the tents. We went through the tents searching for arms, and while this was going on, everyone seemed to be good-natured, and we had no thought of trouble. The enlisted men were not allowed to go inside the tents and only took the arms as we handed them out. The squaws were sitting on bundles concealing guns and other arms. We lifted them as tenderly and treated them as nicely as possible. Had they been the most refined ladies in the land, they could not have been treated with more consideration. The squaws made no resistance, and when we took the arms they seemed to be satisfied.  Wallace (Captain George D. Wallace, 7th Cavalry, West Point, ’72) played with the children chucking them under the chin and being as pleasant with them all as could be. He had picked up a stone war club, which he carried with him. I think we got about thirty pieces of various kinds from the tents.

As soon as we had finished this search, the squaws began packing up, which was a suspicious sign.

While this was going on, the medicine man, who was in the center of the semi-circle of bucks, had been going through the “Ghost Dance” and making a speech, the substance of which was, as told me by an interpreter afterwards, “I have made medicine of the White Man’s ammunition. It is good medicine, and his bullets can not harm you, as they will not go through your ghost shirts, while your bullets will kill.”

Cloman Map of Wounded Knee - Inset

(Click to enlarge) Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.[3]

During this time the detachments that had been detailed to make the search of the tents had resumed their places, but I had to fill in on the “left,” instead of on the “right,” where I should have been. [This positioning would place Mann nearest the apex of the ‘V’ formed by B and K Troops.] I had a peculiar feeling come over me which I can not describe–some presentiment of trouble–and I told my men to “be ready; there is going to be trouble.” We were only six or eight feet from the Indians, and I ordered my men to “fall back.” I finally got them back about twenty-five feet. Then it seemed that at some signal all the bucks threw off their blankets and drew their weapons. My mind was never clearer than at this moment, and I saw distinctly what was coming. I thought, “The pity of it! What can they be thinking of?” I knew what must be the inevitable consequence to them with so many soldiers present.

In front of me were four bucks–three armed with rifles and one with bow and arrows. I drew my revolver and stepped through the line to my place with my detachment. The Indians raised their weapons over their heads to Heaven as if in votive offering, then brought them down to bear on us, the one with the bow and arrow aiming directly at me. Then they seemed to wait an instant. The medicine man threw a handful of dust into the air, put on his war bonnet, and then I heard a gun fired near him. This seemed to be the signal they had been waiting for, and the firing immediately began. I ordered my men to fire, and the reports were almost simultaneous.

After the first fire the Indians broke and ran back among their women and children, and some secreted themselves in the tents, keeping up their firing from there. One of them secreted himself in one of the “Sibley” tents and, cutting slits in it, out of which he could see, picked off a number of our men before we could locate him. One of my men, noticing where the shots came from, said: “I will get the ——– out of there” and ran up to the tent. I called to him to “come back,” but he kept on and with his knife slit the tent from top to bottom. Before he could do more, the buck had fired at him. He stepped back and exclaimed, “My God, he has shot me. I am killed. I am killed.” He turned and started to run back to us but, before reaching us, he fell dead. A Hotchkiss gun was brought up, and a couple of shells exploded in the tent. There was no more shooting from there after that, but we did not know whether or not the buck was dead. To avoid the loss of any more men from him, we threw a fire-brand on the tent and burned it down, revealing the buck lying dead.

After the battle we found Wallace lying dead in front of a tent with two bullets through his body and a wound on his head, with empty revolver in his hand. I think someone must have reached out of the tent and struck him on the head with a war club after he was down, and possibly it was done with the war club he had been carrying. By this time all the Indians had been killed except a few who had secreted themselves in a gully, and these were dislodged by the Hotchkiss guns.

It was during this latter firing that Lieutenant Hawthorne was wounded.

I do not see how any disposition of the troops could have been made to have prevented the fight. I have thought over and over about this, and the only thing I can see would have been to place a man behind each buck, with his revolver against the buck’s head, with instructions to shoot if he made the least move, and I doubt if even that would have done any good.

This band of Indians was a sullen, hard lot, and they had made up their minds to die.

They were crazy with religious frenzy and believed they were going to exterminate the soldiers.[4]

Concerning Mann’s wounding on White Clay Creek the day after Wounded Knee, First Lieutenant John C. Gresham provided the following account in an article for Harper’s Weekly just weeks after the two battles.

No animal, however shy or watchful, is safe against the quick, stealthy approach of the Sioux Indian. This talent was well illustrated in the wounding of Lieutenant J. D. Mann. He was commanding his troop in skirmish line along a prominent ridge. About a hundred yards to his left and rear, and running from the crest down the slope, was a slight depression, whose existence no one suspected. A few Indians crawled along this, and gave us a volley partly enfilading and partly in reverse. A detachment was sent there at once, but saw no one.[5]

Not long after dictating his Wounded Knee account to his brother, Lieutenant Mann succumbed to his wounds on January 15, 1891. Upon learning that Mann had died of complications from his wounds while recovering at Fort Riley, Major S. M. Whitside, had this to say of the lieutenant in a letter:

Mann was a fine, brave and gallant officer, always ready and willing for service and did his duty cheerfully. There is many a sad heart here to day among the officers and especially among the enlisted, as he was a great favorite of the men, as he always treated them kindly. I will miss poor Mann as I have always been fond of him and appreciated his many good qualities.[6]

William F. Kelley, correspondent for the Nebraska State Journal also recorded Mann’s passing for his readers:

Word was received here yesterday that Lieutenant James D. Mann of K Troop, Seventh Cavalry, had died from the effects of his wounds received in the fight near the Mission the day after the Wounded Knee affair. Lieutenant Mann is another victim of the ill-fated troop to which the brave Captain Wallace belonged and was engaged at the time of his death in writing a magazine article upon the battle. Mann was a brave and popular officer, making many friends during his short residence here.[7]

In Syracuse, Kosciusko County, Indiana, on May 15, 1854, James DeFrees Mann was born to Richard Fleury and Elizabeth (DeFrees) Mann. James’ father, Richard, was born on June 29, 1825, in Farquier County, Virginia, the son of George Mann, Jr., and Elizabeth Floweree. At the age of twenty-four Richard married Elizabeth DeFrees on September 20, 1849, at Elkhart, Indiana. She was the eighteen-year-old daughter of James S. and Mary R. (Frost) DeFrees. Richard and Elizabeth moved to Turkey Creek near Syracuse where he was employed as a clerk. Their first child was a daughter, Mary Regina, who died in her first year of life in 1851. Three years later their first son, James Defrees—the subject of this post—was born in 1854. Their second son, George Richard, was born July 22, 1856, at Goshen, Indiana. George married Caroline Louise Rock (1864-1960) and settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked as an architect. George and Carrie had three daughters, Elizabeth, Wilhelmina, and Georgia. He died on March 20, 1939, at Little Rock. Richard and Elizabeth were blessed with another daughter, Minnie E., in 1859 but she too did not survive her first year and died in 1860. Their last child, William DeFrees, was born in Middlebury, Indiana, on April 17, 1861. William married Ella Virginia Stambaugh (1862-1924) at Philadelphia in 1899. William and Ella had no children and he died after 1940 likely in Los Angeles, California.[8]

In November 1861 Richard DeFrees joined the 48th Indiana Infantry where he served as the Captain of G Company. His Civil war service took him to Paducah, Kentucky, and ultimately to Farmington, Mississippi, where he died of typhoid fever on July 24, 1862. Captain Mann was initially buried in Corinth. Elizabeth eventually had his bodied reinterred in the Oakridge Cemetery at Goshen, Indiana, where the thirty-year-old widow was living with her mother and raising her three boys.[9]

Cadet James D Mann

(Click to enlarge) James D. Mann as a cadet first sergeant at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.[10]

In 1873, James Mann was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and embarked on a career that would come to an end at Fort Riley, Kansas, when he succumbed to the effects of his wounds. After the 7th Cavalry Regiment returned to Fort Riley and the Secretary of War had restored Colonel James W. Forsyth to command of the regiment, the commander had the adjutant issue the following order that detailed Lieutenant Mann’s career:

Headquarters 7th Cavalry,
Fort Riley, Kansas,
February 14, 1891.

Orders No. 21.

Lieutenant Mann was born in Syracuse, Indiana, May 15, 1854. He was appointed a cadet at the United States Military Academy and entered the class which graduated June 15, 1877. He was assigned to the 7th Cavalry and joined his troop, E, at Fort A. Lincoln, North Dakota, October 1st of that year. On July 4th of the next year he accompanied his troop on the march to Bear Butte, S. D., and later in the same summer, on the campaign against the Cheyennes in Dakota and Nebraska. Returning to Bear Butte he remained with his troop in the winter camp which preceded the building of Fort Meade in 1879. He remained on duty at Fort Meade until May, 1882, when he was detailed on special recruiting duty at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, remaining on that duty until August, 1883. He was then transferred to troop G, stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While stationed at that post he took the course in the Infantry and Cavalry School, graduating very high in his class. In 1885 his troop was ordered to Fort Keogh, M. T., for station. Having been ordered from that post to Fort Buford, D. T., to temporarily command troop “F,” he became partially paralyzed from exposure during the trip and never fully recovered, although he continued to zealously perform such duties as came to his lot. In 1886 his troop, was ordered overland to Fort Meade, S. D., and in 1887 was changed again to Fort Riley Kansas, from which time until his death, Lieutenant Mann continued almost uninterruptedly on duty at this post, performing various staff duties to the entire satisfaction of his superior officers, his aim being to well perform the duties of whatever detail came to him. He was promoted 1st Lieutenant July 22d, 1890, and assigned to troop H, at Fort Sill, I. T., but was transferred to troop K at this post, and accompanied his troop to Pine Ridge, S. D., for duty during the recent Indian troubles. He was engaged with hostile Indians at Wounded Knee, S. D., December 29, 1890, and conducted himself with marked ability and courage. On the following day he took part in the engagement on White Clay Creek, S. D., and while on the skirmish line with his troop, he received the wound which from complications caused his death on January 15, 1891, at 1:15 A.M. Lieutenant Mann gained the respect and esteem of all with whom he was associated.

As a mark of respect for the memory of Captain Wallace and Lieutenant Mann, the officers of the regiment will wear the usual badge of mourning on their sabres for the period of thirty days.

By order of: Colonel Forsyth,
L. S. McCormick, 1st Lieutenant 7th Cavalry, Adjutant.[11]

heyl investigation case mann - mann

(Click to enlarge) War Department record of honorable mention of Lieut. James D. Mann, 7th Cavalry for actions at Wounded Knee.[12]

During Colonel E. M. Heyl’s investigation of acts of gallantry, heroism, and fortitude, Major Whitside provided the following account of Lieutenant Mann’s actions at Wounded Knee:

Lieut. Mann, 7th Cavalry, was in command of “K” Troop before the search of the Indians began. I gave him instructions to be on the alert, watch the Indians in front of him, and to have the carbines loaded and in readiness to fire. After the firing began, I heard Lieut. Mann’s voice distinctly give the command aim and fire. Other than that I cannot say. The Indians when they broke rushed through his troop and Captain Varnum’s. Lieut. Mann’s conduct at that time was cool and deliberate. It was a position of great danger.[13]

At the end of 1891 the Commanding General of the Army, Major General John M. Schofield, recognized a number of officers and soldiers who distinguished themselves during the Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890 – 1891. Lieutenant Mann, thanks to Major Whitside’s testimony, was listed among these soldiers.

The Major General Commanding takes pleasure in publishing in orders to the Army the names of the following officers and enlisted men who, during the year 1890 and in the recent campaign in South Dakota, distinguished themselves by “specially meritorious acts or conduct”: December 30, 1890. 1st Lieutenant James D. Mann, 7th Cavalry (since deceased): For gallantry in action against hostile Sioux Indians, near the Catholic Mission, on White Clay Creek, South Dakota, where he was mortally wounded.[14]

On January 7, 1885, James Mann married Kate Leslie Ray, the twenty-four-year-old daughter of A. Ross and Eliza L. Ray of Washington D.C. James and Kate had two sons, Richard Ray and Anson, both born in the Montana Territory, about 1886. Following his death in January 1891, Lieutenant Mann was buried initially at the Fort Riley Post Cemetery, but his widow had his body exhumed at the end of May that year and re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery.[15]


Lieut. James D. Mann’s grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery.[16]

Kate Mann moved with the boys back to Washington, D.C. where she was raised. In 1910 her son, Anson, was an Army officer living with her in Washington. By 1918 Mrs. Mann was living in Annapolis, Maryland, with her other son, Richard, his wife Emilie (Spalding) and their son, Richard Leslie. On April 16 of that year Kate Ray Mann died of Apoplexy and was laid to rest with her husband at Arlington.[17]

Following the military tradition of his father and grandfather, Richard Ray Mann, served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Like his father and grandfather, Commander Richard Mann gave his life in the service of his country when he died of “hemorrhagic pancreatitis” while assigned in Manila, Philippines in 1925.[18] An article in the New York Times announced his death:

Commander Richard R. Mann, U.S.N., Superintendent of the Asiatic Naval Communication Service, who died here Saturday, was buried with military honors. After a requiem mass was said over his flag-draped coffin in the San Ignacio Church, a destroyer carried the mourners to a point off Corregidor Island, at the entrance to Manila Bay, where the body was lowered into the sea in accordance with the Commander’s wish.[19]

For the third generation in a row, a young widow was left to raise a teenage son.


[1] This photograph of then Second Lieutenant James D. Mann at Fort Riley was cropped from a larger photograph in the authors private collection.
[2] John R. Brooke, Sioux Campaign 1890-91, vols. 1 and 2 (Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1919), 603.
[3] Inset to “Map No. 3 Scene of the Fight with Big Foot’s Band December 29, 1890, Showing position of troops when first shot was fired, From sketches made by Lt. S. A. Cloman, Acting Engineer Officer Division of the Missouri,” Nelson A. Miles Papers, Sioux War, 1890-1891, Wounded Knee, Pullman Strike, Commanding General, box 4 of 10, repository at the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA. Photograph of map taken by Samuel L. Russell, copyright Russell Martial Research, 2017.
[4] James D. Mann, “Incidents of the ‘Wounded Knee Fight,’ December 29, 1890, as related to his brother by Lieutenant James D. Mann, K Troop, 7th Cavalry,” as quoted by Frazer Arnold in his article “Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee,” The Cavalry Journal, May-June, 1934, (Fort Riley: The United States Cavalry Association), 19-20.
[5] John C. Gresham, “The Story of Wounded Knee,” Harper’s Weekly, 35 (February 7, 1891), 106.
[6] Samuel L. Russell, “Selfless Service: the Cavalry Career of BG Samuel M. Whitside from 1858 to 1902,”
[7] Kelley, Pine Ridge 1890, 256.
[8] 1850 United States Federal Census, Turkey Creek, Kosciusko, Indiana; Indiana Marriages, 1802-1892 [database on-line]; 1860 United States Federal Census, Middlebury, Elkhart, Indiana; 1870 United States Federal Census, Goshen Ward 3, Elkhart, Indiana; 1880 United States Federal Census, Goshen, Elkhart, Indiana; 1900 United States Federal Census, Little Rock Ward 3, Pulaski, Arkansas, and Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Arkansas Death Index, 1914-1950; 1910 United States Federal Census, Little Rock Ward 2, Pulaski, Arkansas, and Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1920 United States Federal Census, Little Rock Ward 2, Pulaski, Arkansas, and Gloucester, Camden, New Jersey; 1930 United States Federal Census, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas, and Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Web: Indiana, Find A Grave Index, 1800-2012; 1940 United States Federal Census, San Gabriel, Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951.
[9] U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865; Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 895; Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, compiled 1861–1865, ARC: 656639; The National Cemetery Administration; Union National Cemetery, Regimental Groups, c. 1861-1933; 1870 United States Federal Census, Census Place: Goshen Ward 3, Elkhart, Indiana; Roll: M593_311, Page: 336A, Image: 353, Family History Library Film: 545810.
[10] USMA AOG, Twenty-second Annual Reunion of the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, June 12th, 1891, (Saginaw: Seemann & Peters, Printers and Binders, 1891),49-50.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Adjutant General’s Office, Honorable Mention file for First Lieutenant James D. Mann, Principal Record Division, file 3466, Record Group: 94, Stack area: 8W3, Row: 7, Compartment 30, Shelf: 2. Research conducted by Vonnie S. Zullo of The Horse Soldier Research Service.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Adjutant General’s Office, General Orders for 1891, G.O. 100 dated 17 Dec. 1891, page 4.
[15] Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, The Washington Post (1877-1954); National Archives and Records Administration, Burial Registers of Military Posts and National Cemeteries, compiled ca. 1862-ca. 1960.
[16] Samuel L. Russell, “Lieut James DeFrees Mann (1854 – 1891),” FindAGrave, accessed 10 Aug 2013.
[17] 1910 United States Federal Census, Precinct 8, Washington, District of Columbia; Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, The Washington Post (1877-1954).  The 1910 census is the only record the author has found documenting Anson R. Mann.
[18] New York Times, 4 Jan. 1925.
[19] Ibid., 7 Jan. 1925.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “First Lieutenant James DeFrees Mann, K Troop, 7th Cavalry,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC, Savannah, GA, and Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2018,, last updated 30 Dec 2018, accessed date ____________.

Posted in Award Recipients, Casualties, Officers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Private Marvin Charles Hillock–A Lost Medal of Honor Recipient

…for distinguished bravery in action against hostile Sioux Indians, near the Catholic Mission, on White Clay Creek, South Dakota, continuing on duty though painfully wounded.

1862 MOHPrivate Marvin C. Hillock was assigned to Captain Charles A. Varnum’s B Troop sometime prior to the regiment’s departure from Fort Riley to South Dakota in November 1890. Being in B Troop, likely placed Hillock on the ‘V’ shaped angle of sentinels surrounding the council of Indians during the disarmament on Wounded Knee on the morning of December 29, 1890. This position would put him in the thick of the fight at the opening volley. Twelve of the forty-three soldiers in B Troop were casualties that day, including the company’s First Lieutenant, John C. Gresham. Of those twelve, five where killed outright and two more died later of their wounds. This was the second highest casualty rate of the ten line companies at Wounded Knee, including the artillery and Indian scouts. Only K Troop, making up the other leg of the ‘V’, had experienced more casualties, sixteen, including six killed in action and two that died of wounds. Hillock came through the battle unscathed but was not so fortunate the following day at the battle on White Clay Creek. There Hillock was one of two soldiers from B Troop wounded, the other being Private William S. Kirkpatrick. Captain Varnum recorded in the company muster roll that Private Hillock was sick in quarters suffering from a gunshot wound to his left foot received in action on December 30.[1]

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

(Click to enlarge) Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

Private Hillock’s actions in both battles clearly made an impression on his commander and fellow soldiers, as he was one the first troopers awarded the Medal of Honor from that day, receiving the Nation’s only medal at that time on April 16, 1891. However, there is some confusion for which battle, Wounded Knee Creek or White Clay Creek, Private Hillock was recognized. According to the 1917 Medal of Honor Review Board convened to determine the validity of all medals presented to that date, Private Marvin C. Hillock was awarded the Medal of Honor for “distinguished bravery” on December 29, 1890, while serving with Troop B, 7th Cavalry, in action at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society recognizes Hillock as a recipient from that engagement. However, Captain Varnum’s recommendation dated March 17, 1891, clearly stated that he recommended Hillock for actions at White Clay Creek on December 30, 1890. Varnum cited both Sergeant James H. Ward and Hillock in the same letter in two separate paragraphs beginning both recommendations with the appropriate date and engagement for each soldier: Sergeant Ward at Wounded Knee and Private Hillock at White Clay Creek.[2]

Varnum Recommendation

(Click to enlarge) Captain Charles A. Varnum clearly recommended Private Marvin Hillock for actions at White Clay Creek, not Wounded Knee.[3]

Private Marvin C. Hillock Troop B 7 Cav.–at White Clay Creek, S.D. Dec. 30, 1890. Private Hillock recieved [sic] a painful wound which lamed him early in the fight, but he never left the skirmish line during the engagement but continued to do his duty there during the day, saying nothing about his wound until the following day when he had to report to the surgeon and remain on sick report until Jan’y [22d] following.

Schofield Endorsement

The War Department created the confusion when forwarding for approval both Sergeant Ward’s and Private Hillock’s recommendations on the same memorandum. The summation of the two recommendations only listed Wounded Knee for both troopers, and Major General John M. Schofield’s endorsement as the Commanding General of the Army  perpetuated this error. The Department recognized the confusion the following December when finalizing its list of honorable mentions from the campaign. The Adjutant General’s Office sent a telegram to Fort Riley asking, “Was the recommendation for medal of honor for Private Hillock… intended for Wounded Knee or Mission Fight.” General Order 100 correctly stated “For distinguished bravery in action against hostile Sioux Indians at White Clay Creek,” but to this day the Department’s official record still erroneously indicates Hillock’s medal was for action at Wounded Knee.[4]

Marvin Charles Hillock was the fifth of seven boys born to Robert and Mary Hillock about June 1867 at Port Huron, St Clair County, Michigan. His father, Robert Hillock, was born about 1831 in Caledon, Peel County, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of Alexander and Catherine (Daly) Hillock, both immigrants from Ireland. On 8 June 1858 at Toronto Gore, Peel County, Ontario, Robert married Mary Jean Gough. She was born about 1838 at Caledon, Ontario, the daughter of John and Dellia (Garaghty) Gough, also both Irish immigrants. In 1861, Robert and Mary Hillock were living in a framed one-story house in Caledon, Peel, Canada West, with their two-year-old son, Dennis, and one-year-old son, Alex, and were registered as Roman Catholic. By 1870 they had relocated to Burtchville, St Clair, Michigan, with Robert working as a tanner having immigrated to the United States about 1863. Their family had grown to five boys, eleven-year-old Dennis, ten-year-old Alexander, eight-year-old Robert, five-year-old John Joseph, and three-year-old Marvin with the two youngest sons having been born in Michigan and older sons in Canada. The Hillocks still resided in Burtchville, Michigan, in 1880 with Robert working as a farmer and the family having grown to seven children with the addition of two more sons, Thomas, born about 1870, and Edward, born about 1873. The eldest four boys were working as laborers and the three younger were attending school. Robert Hillock died sometime between 1880 and 1900, his precise date of death and final resting place are unknown.[5]

On October 14, 1888, the second eldest son, Alexander Hillock, died at the age of twenty-seven at Bay City, Bay, Michigan. At the time of Alexander’s death, his parents, Robert and Mary Hillock, were listed as residing in the Dakota Territory.[6]

Marvin’s younger brother, Thomas, headed to Detroit in September 1889 to enlist in the Army. He ended up serving in Battery C, 3rd Artillery Regiment at Washington Barracks, District of Columbia. Following his younger brother’s lead, on March 11, 1890, Marvin Hillock enlisted in the Army at Detroit, Michigan, for five years. The recruiting officer, Lieutenant Lockett, listed him as twenty-two years and nine months in age, a farmer born at Port Huron, Michigan, with blue eyes, red hair, a fair complexion, and standing five feet, six inches tall.[7]

After recovering from his wound at White Clay Creek, Hillock was discharged from the Army on April 2, 1892, at Fort Riley, Kansas, after serving two years on his five year-enlistment. Hillock was drawn back to the military sixteen months later, enlisting at Chicago for another five-year stint on August 5, 1893. His recruiting officer, Captain Hoyle, recorded Hillock as twenty-three years two months in age, which appears to be three years younger than his actual age, with an occupation of miner, a profession that Hillock continued to pursue for the remainder of his life. During his second enlistment, Hillock was assigned to F Troop, 3rd Cavalry, which at the time was located at Caldwell, Kansas, and later Pond Creek, Oklahoma, under the command of Captain George A. Dodd where the unit was participating in the opening of the Cherokee Strip, part of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893. This was another controversial episode where the U.S. troops were alleged to have killed various homesteaders or ‘sooners.’ Despite the negative press the Army received, an investigation of the incident reported that the conduct of the troop was “very good. The citizens are glad to have the troops with them and petitioned the major-general commanding the department to allow them to remain here for the moral effect.” Whatever his role in this incident, Hillock’s enlistment record states that he deserted from his unit on January 11, 1894, just five months after enlisting.[8]

If Marvin Hillock was following his younger brother, Thomas, by entering the military, it was Thomas that followed Marvin’s lead by deserting the Army. Thomas was discharged from his first enlistment with the 3rd Artillery as a corporal on Christmas Eve 1892. He enlisted again a year later not long after Marvin enlisted a second time. Thomas was assigned to Battery C, 4th Artillery, but like Marvin, deserted from his unit in August 1894. At about the time that Thomas was deserting from his unit, the youngest of the seven Hillock brothers, Edward, was enlisting at Portland, Oregon, on August 4. He was assigned as a teamster in Company G, 14th Infantry, at Vancouver Barracks, Washington, but was discharged for disability after only five months.[9]

At least three of the Hillock brothers and their mother appear to have reunited in Lead City or Deadwood, South Dakota, in the mid-1890s. John, Marvin, and Edward all turn up at various times in South Dakota in the latter half of 1890. Edward filed for a disability pension in March 1895 from South Dakota, and John’s name is listed in the St. Paul Daily Globe later that same year as a mining investor:

Pierre, S. D., Nov. 18.–Articles of incorporation were filed today for the Black Hills and Wyoming Gold Mining Company, with a capital stock of $1,500,000 headquarters at Lead City. Incorporators, John P. Hillock, James P. Wilson, Lead City; O. N. Ainsworth, Spearfish.[10]

That Hillock was known as a Medal of Honor man in Lead, South Dakota, is evident from an article printed in the Lead Daily Call in the summer of 1896.

Lead Daily Call 12 Jun 1896 Page 8

Article in the Lead Daily Call detailing Marvin C. Hillock’s Medal of Honor.[11]

…Mr. Hillock is so modest that but few, only of his intimate friends, know him to be the possessor of such a treasure, and it was by the merest accident that The Call caught on to him having such a valuable medal in his possession. But three of these medals were issued, one being to Mr. Hillock, another to J. W. Martin, the other to Corporal Ira Renard. Hillock and Martin were both members of B troop, 7th, while Renard belonged to I of the Second artillery. These three soldiers handled the Hotchkiss at the Wounded Knee fight, and it was they who turned the gun on the tent wherein an Indian was doing such fatal execution with his little gun. But it was on the following day that these three same boys exhibited their bravery to a degree that called for admiration. They were out reconnoitering, being accompanied by Capt. Barnard and Lieut. Gresham, when suddenly they were surprised by a volley which brought down both officers. The boys stood their ground and when the skirmish was over seven “good” Indians lay prostrate on the earth. The officers were wounded, and afterwards recovered, and both are yet in the service. The Indians were bent on getting their scalps, and but for the bravery of the boys who received these medals they would undoubtedly have done so. But a short time elapsed after the first firing until the hills were covered with Indians, the battle being known as the “Mission fight,” but the boys stood their ground and the incessant firing brought to their rescue one troop of the 7th and one troop of the 9th cavalry, both under command of that gallant soldier Guy V. Henry, of the 9th. But for the timely assistance of these two troops the boys would have been taken in and with them the two wounded officers. As we have before stated Mr. Hillock does not stand on the street corners and display his medal or boast of his bravery, but he possesses something, in the shape of the gold badge which he modestly exhibits, that any young man might well feel proud of.

The story of the Army award recipient turned deserter is erroneous on a number of facts, including names. There was no Corporal Ira Renard at Wounded Knee or White Clay. There was a Private James W. Martin, but he was in D Troop, not B Troop to which Hillock was assigned. The Hotchkiss guns fell under the control of  Capt. Capron’s Light Battery E, 1st Artillery. There is no indication that troops of the 7th Cavalry took control of any of the four Hotchkiss guns during the course of the battle. Capt. Barnard likely is a reference to Capt. Varnum, who commanded B Troop. Neither Varnum nor Lieut. Gresham were wounded at White Clay–The Mission Fight–although Gresham was slightly wounded at Wounded Knee when a bullet grazed his nose. There is no mention of Hillock being wounded. The notion that Privates Hillock and Martin saved the fictionally wounded Gresham and Varnum from being scalped at White Clay is preposterous. Although, one dead or unconscious soldier left on that field was severely mutilated after the soldiers withdrew from the ground. Unknown is whether this published tall tale was spawned from the imagination of Hillock, or from an over zealous reporter who was more interested in captivating readers than accurately reporting.

Marvin’s name appears in the Omaha Daily Bee in 1897 under dubious circumstances, where he is listed as a miner.

Lead, S. D., March 6.–(Special.)–Marvin Hillock, a well-to-do mine owner, living in this city, was arrested this week upon the charge of seduction upon promise of marriage, preferred by Sophie Nelson, a domestic, employed by Wolff Fink, the jeweler. Miss Nelson is soon to become a mother, and charges Hillock with being responsible for her condition. Hillock was bound over until Monday in the sum of $500, bail for which was furnished. If Hillock decides to fight the case, it will be highly sensational, for he is very prominent in mining circles, and well known throughout the entire Hills. The girl in the case is a comely young woman, and has always borne a good reputation.[12]

Miss Nelson’s ploy worked, as she and Hillock were married two days later. The following month Sophie gave birth to a son, Franklin Joseph, on 6 April. Marvin’s first child lived just short of two years, succumbing to pneumonia on March 14, 1899, at Lead. According to the death announcement, Marvin and Sophie Hillock were still married. Sophie’s fate remains a mystery, but the marriage did not seem to last much beyond the death of her son.[13]

Marvin appears again later in 1897 in the Engineering and Mining Journal this time with questionable mining practices.

Polo Creek, Lawrence County, South Dakota.–Claim jumpers have been busy in this neighborhood of late, but two of their number, Ernest LaVenture and Marvin Hillock, came to grief last week, receiving a thorough thrashing at the hands of an indignant miner, and the practice is likely to fall into disrepute.[14]

In 1900, the matriarch of the family, Mary Hillock, is listed as a widowed resident of Lead, South Dakota, the mother of seven children, five still living. That same year Marvin Hillock again made the papers this time with his older brother, John, when they appeared in an article in the Nebraska State Journal with the headline “Deadwood People Buncoed.”

DEADWOOD, S. D., April 15.–(Special.)–About two months ago, Marvin and John Hillock, two old-time mine owners of this city, brought in a report from their mining ground that they had made a remarkable discovery of sylvanite ore. They exhibited very rich samples of the ore on the streets and had assays made which went as high as $60,000 to the tone gold. There was great interest in the new find. The brothers placed an armed guard at the entrance of the tunnel and very few people were permitted to go in and see the gold strike. A week ago, a Colorado man got permission to enter the tunnel and he obtained a sample of the rich ore. This he pronounced genuine Cripple Creek, Colorado, phonolite ore, and he stated to certain Deadwood parties that the ore came from a depth of at least 600 feet. This statement aroused the suspicion of some parties who had put money into the find and they then compelled the two brothers to sink a shaft on the vein. At a depth of four feet, the ore was as rich as ever. The brothers had dug the hole and then salted it before the parties arrived.
The two brothers have suddenly disappeared. The vein has been examined closely and it was found pounded full of small pieces of sylvanite ore that came from Boulder, Colorado. Water had then been poured over the salted place and allowed to freeze, which gave it the appearance of being a solid body of ore. It is now known that two large boxes of sylvanite ore specimens were purchased at Boulder, Colorado, valued at $1,200. This rock was all given away to Deadwood and Lead people as samples from the Hillock mine. A third party named Ernest LaVenture, has been arrested and jailed and the officers are hot after the Hillock brothers. These brothers put through a similar deal a long time ago, in which they were successful.[15]

marriage certificate hilloock irvine

(Click to enlarge) 1903 marriage certificate of Marvin C. Hillock to Stella Irvine.[17]

Hillock next appears in 1903 in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he married twenty-seven-year old Stella Irvine. Likely born in Dickson, Tennessee, and raised in Shenango, Pennsylvania, by 1900 Stella was living in Lincoln with her widowed mother and two siblings. On the marriage certificate, Hillock was listed as a resident of Kansas City, Missouri. The marriage did not last, and by 1910 Stella was working as a telephone operator at the Hot Springs Hotel in Paso Robles, California, where she listed herself as a widow on the census. Stella was living in San Francisco in 1930, but the record runs cold after that.[16]

Sometime after this second marriage, Marvin Hillock relocated to Ontario. The final documentation of his whereabouts being his marriage certificate in 1911 when he was a resident of Webbwood, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, and listed himself as a thirty-seven-year-old mining engineer, although by all other documentation he would have been about forty-four years old. On May 23 of that year, Hillock married Catharine Shanahan, a twenty-nine-year-old Roman Catholic woman working as a domestic from Renfrew, Ontario. She was the ninth of ten children of John and Ellen (Culhane) Shanahan, he being a farmer whose parents immigrated to Canada about 1845 when he was an infant. The Shanahan family had been congregants of the Mount Saint Patrick Catholic community since its establishment in Renfrew.[18]

Marvin and Catharine Hillock had one child, George, who was born in 1912. George was a farmer in Lanark, Renfrew, and died in July 1998. He was buried in the Precious Blood Cemetery in Calabogie, Renfrew. Catharine died on January 19, 1933, at the Ontario Hospital in Kingston after almost two years treatment for chronic intestinal obstruction. She was listed as a widow at the time of her death, and was buried two days later at the township of her residence, Ashdad, Renfrew County. Unfortunately, a search of the Renfrew Catholic cemeteries, to include the Precious Blood Cemetery where her son is buried and the Holy Well Cemetery where her parents are buried, failed to locate her grave.[19]

Marvin’s younger brother, Edward, died in 1913 in a flash flood in Ely, White Pine, Nevada, where he was working as a salesman in dry goods.

ELY, Nev., Aug. 26.–One man was drowned this afternoon when a well of water from a cloudburst swept down Murray creek, which flows through Ely. The flood rose above the banks of the stream and inundated a portion of the business and residence section to a depth of several feet. When the torrent struck the corner of the Northern hotel, it quickly found its way into the basement, where C. D. Vautrin and Edward Hillock happened to be. The water poured down the stairway in such volume that they were unable to make their exit. Axes were obtained and a hole in the floor of the barroom was cut out, through which both men were dragged. Efforts to resuscitate Hillock failed.[20]

Edward was buried in the Old Holy Cross Cemetery in Santa Cruz, California. In 1920, Marvin’s mother, Mary Jean Gough Hillock, died in Detroit, Michigan, where she was living with her son, John, his wife, and their four children. Mary Hillock was buried with her youngest son, Edward, in Santa Cruz. Cemetery officials at the Old Holy Cross Cemetery were unable to find any other Hillock’s buried there.[21]

Marvin Hillock’s two older brothers, Dennis and John Joseph, both died in Detroit, Michigan, the latter in 1929 and the former in 1933. They were both buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in that city along with their wives. The date of deaths and final resting places of the two other brothers, Robert and Thomas, are undetermined.[22]

Marvin Charles Hillock’s date of death and final resting place remain unknown. He is one of three Medal of Honor recipients from the Battle of Wounded Knee–albeit that Hillock’s documented action occurred at White Clay Creek–whose ultimate fate is unrecorded, the other two being Matthew H. Hamilton and William G. Austin. The Medal of Honor Historical Society lists Hillock, Hamilton, and Austin as three of over 400 recipients lost to history.[23]


[1] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 1532.  Statistics were compiled from the Seventh Cavalry Regiment’s monthly returns for December 1890 and January 1891; Adjutant General’s Office, Muster Rolls of Regular Army Organizations, 1784–Oct. 31, 1912, 7th Cavalry, Troop B, Oct. 31, 1890–Dec. 31, 1890, pages 5 and 6; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[2] Secretary of War, “General Staff Corps and Medals of Honor,” United States Congress, Congressional edition, Volume 7609, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919), page 419.
[3] Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor file for Marvin C. Hillock, Principal Record Division, file 3466, Record Group: 94, Stack area: 8W3, Row: 7, Compartment 30, Shelf: 2; C. H. Carlton to Adjutant General’s Office dated 22 April 1891, Source data: The National Archives, Principal Record Division, file 6776, Record Group: 94, Stack area: 8W3, Row: 7, Compartment 30, Shelf: 3. Research conducted by Vonnie S. Zullo of The Horse Soldier Research Service.
[4] Ibid.
[5] and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada).Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Archives of Ontario; Series: MS248_23; Reel: 23; and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line] (Library and Archives Canada), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Census Returns For 1861, Roll: C-1062; and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Year: 1880, Census Place: Burchville, St Clair, Michigan, Roll: 604, Family History Film: 1254604, Page: 38C, Enumeration District: 367, Image: 0077.
[6], Michigan, Deaths and Burials Index, 1867-1995 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011), Original data: “Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800–1995.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.
[7], U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007, Original data: Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls), Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[8] United States Congress, The Executive Documents of the House of Representatives for the First Session of the Fifty-Third Congress, 1893, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893), page 7; U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007, Original data: Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls), Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[9] U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007, Original data: Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914, (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls), Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[10] St. Paul Daily Globe (19 Nov 1895), 5.
[11] “One of Three Medals,” Lead Daily Call, (Lead, S.D.: 12 Jun 1896), 8.
[12] “Arrest of a Rich Mine Owner,” Omaha Daily Bee (7 Mar 1897), Part I, 6.
[13] The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, S. D.: 9 Mar 1897); The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, S. D.: 16 Mar 1899).  Sophie Nelson’s name is given variously as Sophie, Sophia, and Sofia.
[14] Engineering and Mining Journal, vol. 64, 14 Aug 1897, 198.]
[15] “Deadwood People Buncoed,” Nebraska State Journal (16 Apr 1900).
[16], United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009), Year: 1870, Census Place: District 12, Dickson, Tennessee, Roll: M593_1524, Page: 384B, Family History Library Film: 553023; Year: 1880, Census Place: Shenango, Mercer, Pennsylvania, Roll: 1156, Page: 513C, Enumeration District: 231; Year: 1900, Census Place: Lincoln Ward 3, Lancaster, Nebraska, Page: 11, Enumeration District: 0049, FHL microfilm: 1240933; Year: 1910, Census Place: Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, California, Roll: T624_104, Page: 1A, Enumeration District: 0038, FHL microfilm: 1374117; Year: 1920, Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 32, San Francisco, California, Roll: T625_137, Page: 8B, Enumeration District: 190;, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 9Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011), Publication Title:
San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1930, Image; 334, Page: 660.
[17], Nebraska, Marriage Records, 1855-1908 (Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2017), County: Lancaster, Years: 1901-1904, Image: 1379.
[18] and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010, Archives of Ontario), Series: MS932_154, Reel: 154;, Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007), Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin;, Census of Canada [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006), Year: 1891, Census Place: Bagot and Blythfield, Renfrew South, Ontario, Roll: T-6366; Year: 1901, Census Place: Bagot and Blythfield, Renfrew (south/sud), Ontario, Page: 22, Family No: 186; Year: 1911, Census Place: 34 – Renfrew, Renfrew South, Ontario, Page: 18, Family No: 179.
[19] Murray Pletsch and Diane Dillon, Renfrew County, Ontario Gravemarker Gallery, accessed 4 Aug 2013; Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010, Original data: Archives of Ontario, Series: MS935; Reel: 464.
[20] The San Francisco Call (27 Aug 1913), 2.
[21] The Library of Michigan, Michigan Death Records, 1897-1920, Rolls: 1-302, Archive Barcode/Item Number: 30000008346607, Roll Number: 302, Certificate Number: 12232; Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, S. D.: 28 Jul 1933, Fri), 2.
[22], Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015), File Number: 169902 and File Number: 113689.
[23] “Lost to History,” Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, (, accessed 4 Aug 2013.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Private Marvin Charles Hillock – A Lost Medal of Honor Recipient,” Army at Wounded Knee ( Sumter, SC, and Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2015,, updated 2 Dec 2018, accessed date __________.

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