Setting the Record Straight Regarding H. R. 3467 Remove the Stain Act


The Honorable Adam Smith, Chairman
The Honorable Mac Thornberry, Ranking Member
House Armed Services Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry:

I am writing you regarding H. R. 3467 “Remove the Stain Act,” to implore the House Armed Services Committee to take no action on this historically deficient bill. In doing so, I wish to set the record straight regarding the Army’s actions at Wounded Knee and the men who were awarded Medals of Honor for their gallantry, heroism, and fortitude on that battlefield.

I am a retired Army officer with three decades of active service in uniform, a military historian who has researched and written about the Army’s actions at Wounded Knee for two decades, and a descendant of a survivor of the Battle of Wounded Knee. Retired from active service, I now serve on the faculty and staff at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. However, I am writing to you as a private citizen, not in an official capacity.

My great great grandfather was Brig. Gen. Samuel M. Whitside, who, as a major in the 7th Cavalry in 1890, commanded that regiment’s First Battalion, captured Chief Spotted Elk’s band near Porcupine Butte, and escorted them to his camp at the Wounded Knee Creek crossing. Most of the soldiers who were killed the following day were from his battalion, and he was consulted on most of the medals awarded to 7th Cavalry troopers.

The House Armed Services Committee should allow the “Remove the Stain Act” to die in committee for three reasons, which I explain in detail on the following pages.

1) It all but ignores, and at times misrepresents, the well documented historical record that articulates the Army and the War Department’s official position on Wounded Knee and the honors conferred.

2) It presents only the perspective of the Lakota peoples, whose ancestors were the very forces that opposed U.S. Soldiers at Wounded Knee.

3) It does what has never been done in our Nation’s history, that is, consult the perspective of the opponent of our U.S. Soldiers in a particular conflict to determine if medals should be rescinded.

To pass such an Act now or any time in the future would set a precedent for all future generations of Americans to rescind any medal from any conflict to which such a generation may take umbrage, regardless of the facts and established record.

I ask that you have your staffs take the time to read my analysis, to check its sources, and to confirm the well documented reasons that soldiers who fought at Wounded Knee were awarded Medals of Honor.

I am available for consultation or to answer any questions and can be reached at the above address, by email at XXXX.XXXX@XXX.XXX, or by phone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

Sincerely,

SAMUEL L. RUSSELL
Colonel, U.S. Army retired

Copy Furnished: The Honorable John Joyce


Following is my analysis of H. R. 3467 “Remove the Stain Act.” Much of the narrative in my analysis is extracted from my earlier writings in the hundreds of essays I have authored and posted to my website, ArmyAtWoundeKnee.com and from my book Sting of the Bee. The verbiage from the Act is presented in blue text, and my analysis in black. Appended to this analysis are the details of each of the Medals of Honor associated with Wounded Knee, and include extracts from the letters of recommendation and other sworn statements submitted by 7th Cavalry and 1st Artillery officers and soldiers.

Other than quotes, which are from primary sources, the views in this analysis are mine alone and do not represent the official position of any U.S. Government agency or department.

116th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3467
To rescind each Medal of Honor awarded for acts at Wounded Knee Creek
on December 29, 1890, and for other purposes.
—————————————————————————————————-
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 25, 2019
Mr. Heck (for himself, Mr. Cook, Ms. Haaland, Ms. Davids of Kansas, Mr.
Kildee, and Mr. Lujan) introduced the following bill; which was
referred to the Committee on Armed Services
—————————————————————————————————-
A BILL
To rescind each Medal of Honor awarded for acts at Wounded Knee Creek
on December 29, 1890, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the “Remove the Stain Act”.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds as follows:

(1) The Medal of Honor is the highest military award of the United States.

Medal of Honor presented to Private George Hobday, Troop A, 7th Cavalry, awarded on June 23, 1891.

On its face, the statement in paragraph (1) of the Act seems correct, certainly for the last century. However, this Act pertains to medals that were conferred more than 125 years ago. In 1891, there were four options available to commanders to recognize soldiers for courage, bravery, or meritorious service: Honorable Mention through published general orders, Certificates of Merit for enlisted soldiers, Brevet Promotions for officers, or Medals of Honor. Thresholds for each were ambiguous and discretion was left largely to regimental commanders and department commanding generals, based on recommendations by company, troop, or battery commanders. The War Department and Congress had not yet created lesser combat awards such as the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, or Bronze Star for Valor; the first of those awards would come three decades later in 1918. Thus, it is not unusual to find Medal of Honor citations from the Indian Wars and Civil War periods for actions that today might be recognized by a lesser medal.

It is difficult in 2019 to depart from a contemporary understanding of the Medal of Honor as currently awarded and grasp the meaning of, and method of awarding a Medal of Honor in 1891 when it was the only military decoration and when Congressional law dictated very different standards for awarding a medal. As difficult as that may be, it is perhaps even more perplexing to understand the concept of brevet promotions, which have been out of existence for 120 years. The officer of 1891, particularly the more senior officers who were veterans of the Civil War, likely placed greater stock in the award of a brevet promotion for gallantry than in the award of a Medal of Honor. A brevet promotion was the American military’s original form of recognizing distinguished or gallant service in action for officers, dating back to the Continental Army, and under British rule, even earlier.

Most every regular Army officer in the Civil War received at least one brevet promotion, most awarded for meritorious service rather than for gallantry in action. Those officers who could boast of a brevet for gallantry were viewed with greater respect for such distinction. Moreover, each year the Government Printing Office published an Army register in which were listed all officers holding brevet ranks along with the reason for being awarded a brevet.

In February 1890, less than a year before Wounded Knee, Congress passed legislation that enabled the President, upon Senate confirmation, to award brevet promotions for “gallant service in Indian campaigns.”1 While a brevet rank by 1890 was strictly ceremonial and entitled the holder to no additional pay or assignment at higher positions, the officer could be addressed in social circles by his highest brevet rank. Given the Army’s stagnant, seniority-based promotion system, being addressed by a higher brevet rank carried far greater weight by 1890. To be sure, a Medal of Honor was a hallmark of distinguished service in action for any officer so awarded, but in 1891, a brevet rank for gallantry in the face of the enemy carried greater meaning to the officer corps of the frontier Army.

This explains why Col. James W. Forsyth, the 7th Cavalry Regiment’s commander, who was often addressed by his brevet rank of brigadier general, initially made no recommendations for Medals of Honor for his officers, but instead recommended brevet promotions. Had Col. Forsyth recommended medals rather than brevets in the spring of 1891, the Secretary of War likely would have awarded Medals of Honor to Maj. Whitside, Capts. Van R. Hoff, Capron, Varnum, and Nowlan, and Lieuts. Robinson, Gresham, Tompkins, Preston, Nicholson, Sickel, and Rice, and this Act today would be talking about rescinding thirty medals rather than twenty, which itself is an erroneous number. This error will be covered in greater detail later.2

(2) Congress found that to earn the Medal of Honor “the deed of the person . . . must be so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes his gallantry beyond the call of duty from lesser forms of bravery”.

The quote in paragraph (2) of the Act certainly became the standard in later decades but was by no means the standard in 1891. The requisites for a Medal of Honor as originally established by Congress in 1862 defined the criteria for awarding a medal as soldiers who “distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities.”3 That standard had changed little in the first three decades of the medal’s existence. The 1889 Army regulations, in effect at time the Wounded Knee medals were conferred, stated the criteria in one simple sentence, “Medals of honor will be awarded, by the President, to officers or enlisted men who have distinguished themselves in action.”4

The War Department’s first attempt to more clearly define the criteria of actions that merited a Medal of Honor came in June 1897, when Secretary of War Alger provided written instructions detailing the recommending and awarding of the Medal of Honor. His instructions were issued to the Army on June 30, 1897, in General Order No. 42.

In order that the Congressional Medal of Honor may be deserved, service must have been performed in action as such conspicuous character to clearly distinguish the man for gallantry and intrepidity above his comrades–service that involved extreme jeopardy of life or the performance of extraordinary hazardous duty. Recommendations for the decoration will be judged by this standard of extraordinary merit, and incontestible proof of performance of the service will be exacted.5

Such a high standard for the Medal of Honor did not exist in 1891, which accounts for why so many were awarded following the Pine Ridge Campaign. Medals awarded for actions at Wounded Knee were conferred using the standard of that day and must be judged through that contemporary lens. To apply a modern standard for the Medal of Honor selectively to Wounded Knee, or more generally to any other Indian Wars or Civil War era medals, would result in rescinding most all medals awarded prior to 1898, and several awarded later. Of note, the last Medal of Honor awarded for the Pine Ridge Campaign was approved three months after Secretary Alger’s 1897 General Order and therefore did meet the higher standard.

(3) The actions of Medal of Honor recipients inspire bravery in those currently serving in the Armed Forces and those who will come to serve in the future.

The statement in paragraph (3) of the act is correct, and the thirty Medals of Honor awarded during the Pine Ridge Campaign, including those awarded for actions at Wounded Knee, were conferred to recognize heroism and gallantry and did serve to inspire bravery. That is what those medals meant to the soldiers so adorned, and they no doubt garnered the respect of their comrades and their fellow citizens during their lifetimes. If the well documented historical record of those medals were known or consulted today, the actions of those medals would continue to inspire bravery.

If Congress is determined to seriously consider rescinding these medals, it is incumbent upon them that they consult the official records of Congress, the Interior Department, and the War Department that detail what occurred in the Dakotas in the fall and winter of 1890 and into 1891. Moreover, it is imperative that they review the hundreds of documents pertaining to the recommendations and approval or disapproval of Medals of Honor, Certificates of Merit, Brevet Promotions, and Honorable Mention, all of which are accessible in the National Archives. Once these records are reviewed, this Congress, just as previous Congresses, will come to very different findings than are presented in this Act.

That the medals would hold a different, more derogatory meaning for the Lakota Nation, whose members today are proud and dignified U.S. citizens, who count among their tribal members innumerable veterans of American wars, and who today actively lobby for rescinding those medals, is understandable and garners great empathy among our fellow American citizens, for their ancestors were on the receiving end of our military’s might. But, in the winter of 1890-91 the Lakota, and more specifically, Spotted Elk (Big Foot as he was known to the Army and will hereafter be referred) and Sitting Bull’s bands were declared to be hostile and in open revolt, defying the orders of their agents, the Indian police, and the Army elements with whom they engaged.

Never in the history of our Armed Forces, have our Nation’s military and civilian leaders taken into account, or ever contemplated consulting, the perspective of our military’s adversaries in any battle when deciding to confer military honors. Yet, that is precisely what this Act purports to do. To set such an example now is to open Pandora’s Box, empowering future generations to rescind any medal from any battle to which such a generation may take umbrage, despite the heroism, gallantry, and fortitude that may have been displayed on current or past battlefields and that were well documented and duly awarded by the military and civilian leaders at the time.

Should we review the oral history and traditions of the Southern Cheyenne and relook the eight Medals of Honor awarded for actions at Sappa Creek, known to Native Americans as the Massacre at Cheyenne Hole? Perhaps the Nez Percé descendants have an alternative view of whether the eighteen Medals of Honor awarded for actions against their ancestors in 1877 are sufficiently justified. Might we consult Confederate records and the Sons of Confederate Veterans to determine if 73 Medals of Honor conferred during the Gettysburg campaign really were deserved? Will factions of future generations view the Vietnam War as unjust and demand all those medals be rescinded? No weapons of mass destruction? No medals for the war in Iraq. The precedent this Act would set will not be an isolated review of medals; it will be the beginning of a continuous purge to whitewash our American history, warts and all.

(4) Those listed on the Medal of Honor Roll have come to exemplify the best traits of members of the Armed Forces, a long and proud lineage of those who went beyond the call of service to the United States of America.

Absolutely correct, and in the spirit of the sentiment expressed in this paragraph (4) of the Act, following is an alphabetical list of the thirty soldiers awarded the Medal of Honor during the Pine Ridge Campaign. Since it is their medals that this Act proposes to rescind, it is only fitting that their names be presented. Details of each recipient associated with Wounded Knee, including details of their respective 1916-17 review of all Medals of Honor, are appended to this analysis.

  • AUSTIN, WILLIAM G., Sergeant, Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • CHEEVER, BENJAMIN H., JR., First Lieutenant, Troop F, 6th U.S. Cavalry, White River, S. Dak., Jan. 1, 1891.
  • CLANCY, JOHN E., Musician, Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • FEASTER, MOSHEIM, Private, Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • GARLINGTON, ERNEST A., First Lieutenant, Troop A, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • GRESHAM, JOHN C., First Lieutenant, Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • HAMILTON, MATHEW H., Private, Troop G, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • HARTZOG, JOSHUA B., Private, Troop E, 1st U.S. Artillery, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • HAWTHORNE, HARRY L., Second Lieutenant, Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery (Attached), Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • HILLOCK, MARVIN C., Private, Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek (actually recommended for White Clay Creek), S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • HOBDAY, GEORGE, Private, Troop A, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29 1890.
  • HOWZE, ROBERT L., Second Lieutenant, Troop K, 6th U.S. Cavalry, White River, S. Dak., Jan.1, 1891.
  • JETTER, BERNHARD, Sergeant, Troop K, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Sioux campaign, Dec. 1890.
  • KERR, JOHN B., Captain, Troop K, 6th U.S. Cavalry, White River, S. Dak., Jan. 1, 1891.
  • KNIGHT, JOSEPH F., Sergeant, Troop F, 6th U.S. Cavalry, White River, S. Dak., Jan. 1, 1891.
  • LOYD, GEORGE, Sergeant, Troop I, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • MCMLLLAN, ALBERT W., Sergeant, Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • MYERS, FRED, Sergeant, Troop K, 6th U.S. Cavalry, White River, S. Dak., Jan. 1, 1891.
  • NEDER, ADAM, Corporal, Troop A, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Sioux campaign, Dec. 1890.
  • NOLAN, RICHARD J., Farrier, Troop I, 7th U.S. Cavalry, White Clay Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 30, 1890.
  • RAGNAR, THEODORE, First Sergeant, Troop K, 7th U.S. Cavalry, White Clay Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 30, 1890.
  • SMITH, CORNELIUS C., First Sergeant, Troop K, 6th U.S. Cavalry, Near White River, S. Dak., Jan. 1, 1891.
  • SULLIVAN, THOMAS, Private, Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • TOY, FREDERICK E., First Sergeant, Troop C, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • TRAUTMAN, JACOB, First Sergeant, Troop I, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • VARNUM, CHARLES A., Captain, Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry, White Clay Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 30, 1890.
  • WARD, JAMES, Sergeant, Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • WEINERT, PAUL H., Corporal, Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery, Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890.
  • WILSON, WILLIAM O., Corporal, Troop I, 9th U.S. Cavalry, Sioux Campaign, 1890.
  • ZIEGNER, HERMANN, Private, Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Wounded Knee Creek, and White Clay Creek, S. Dak Dec. 29-30, 1890.

Of the thirty medals, seventeen were specifically for actions at Wounded Knee and one was for actions at both Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek, making it eighteen Medals of Honor awarded to soldiers for actions directly attributable to Wounded Knee, according to the official record. Of note, the War Department erroneously awarded Private Hillock for Wounded Knee, but his commander clearly recommended him for actions at White Clay Creek. Three soldiers were recognized for actions solely at White Clay Creek. Three more troopers were decorated for their service throughout the campaign, including two from the 7th Cavalry and a Buffalo Soldier from the 9th Cavalry. Regarding the two 7th Cavalry troopers awarded for the campaign, their respective letters of recommendation indicate that one was cited for actions at Wounded Knee and the other for actions at both Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. The other six medals were presented to troopers from the 6th Cavalry for actions along the White River. In all, nineteen 7th cavalrymen and four Light Battery E artillerymen who fought at Wounded Knee were decorated with the Medal of Honor. There were also at least three soldiers who fought at Wounded Knee who had previously been awarded Medals of Honor, and two officers who subsequently would receive the medal for actions prior to Wounded Knee.6

In addition to the thirty soldiers awarded Medals of Honor, the Commanding General of the Army issued two General Orders in which he recognized an additional thirty-five officers and enlisted men who during the Pine Ridge Campaign “Distinguished themselves by ‘specially meritorious acts or conduct in service.’ “7 Five of those soldiers were also recognized with the lesser known Certificate of Merit.

The War Department established the Certificate of Merit in 1847 to recognize the heroic actions of private soldiers during the Mexican American War. Although field commanders continued to recommend soldiers from that date, the War Department did not approve recommendations again until 1876 following the Battle of the Little Bighorn. A soldier recognized for such distinction received a certificate signed by the President of the United States and received $2 a month extra pay while in the service.

Article XXVI of the Army Regulations in 1889 provided minimal guidance on criteria for award of a medal of honor. By contrast, the specified criteria for award of the little known certificate of merit was specifically of gallantry in action.

Ironically, the Certificate of Merit was more exclusive than the better known and more prestigious Medal of Honor, for only sixty-one certificates were awarded to soldiers during the Indian Wars period compared to 384 Medals of Honor awarded to enlisted men during the same era. The Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890-91 exemplified this disparity with twenty-three enlisted soldiers receiving the Medal of Honor and only five receiving a Certificate of Merit. Moreover, according to the 1889 Army regulation, the Certificate of Merit was specifically for gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whereas the Medal of Honor made no such distinction.

In 1905, the Army created a Certificate of Merit Medal that it issued to all soldiers who had received a Certificate of Merit during the Indian Wars. Upon creation of the Distinguished Service Medal in 1918, the War Department discontinued the Certificate of Merit Medal and converted previous awards to the Distinguished Service Medal to recipients still on active duty–only one Certificate of Merit recipient from Wounded Knee was still in service. In the early 1930s, these medals were upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest valorous award.

Corp. Harry W. Capron, who served with Troop B, 7th Cavalry, at Wounded Knee, was the sole enlisted service member to ultimately receive the Distinguished Service Cross. John Van R. Hoff, a captain and field surgeon in 1890 who had been recognized in General Order No. 100 for his actions at Wounded Knee, was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1925. Additionally, upon creation of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Army awarded that decoration in 1918 to Sedgwick Rice who, as a second lieutenant in the 7th Cavalry Regiment’s Troop E, had also been recognized in General Order No. 100 for his actions at White Clay Creek.

Finally, Charles A. Varnum, then a captain and commander of Troop B, 7th Cavalry, was recognized in General Order No. 100 for his actions at Wounded Knee. In 1897, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at White Clay Creek. Upon creation of the Silver Citation—a silver star worn as an appurtenance on the respective campaign medal—Varnum was recognized with this distinction for Wounded Knee. Silver Citations were later converted to Silver Star Medals, the third highest valorous award. Thus, Varnum became the only soldier from the campaign to receive separate decorations, a Silver Star for Wounded Knee and the Medal of Honor for White Clay Creek.

The War Department’s intent in 1918 when it created the lesser awards was to cull their records and decorate those soldiers who had previously been recognized either with Certificates of Merit or honorable mention in General Orders. The War Department failed to decorate the other four Certificate of Merit recipients and some thirty other soldiers and officers mentioned in General Orders.

Rather than taking the negative action in this Act of stripping the military service members who were duly recognized by their Nation for their heroism during the Pine Ridge Campaign, the Armed Forces of this country and its proud military history and traditions would be better served if Congress took the positive step of correcting the earlier oversights by properly upgrading to appropriate valorous or meritorious awards the earlier recognitions of Certificates of Merit and honorable mention in General Orders for actions at Wounded Knee and during the Pine Ridge Campaign.

(5) To date the Medal of Honor has been awarded only 3,522 times, including only 145 times for the Korean War, 126 times in World War I, 23 times during the Global War on Terror, and 20 times for the massacre at Wounded Knee.

This paragraph (5) in the Act again views the Wounded Knee medals through the 20th Century’s higher standard for awarding Medals of Honor at a time when there were numerous medals of varying degrees available for commanders to recommend. Thirty Medals of Honor awarded during the Pine Ridge Campaign, covering a two-month period during the winter of 1890-91, was not an unusually high number of medals for such action during the period called the Indian Wars. Fourteen years earlier twenty-four Medals of Honor were earned by 7th Cavalry troopers for their actions on Reno Hill on June 25 and 26, 1876, at the Little Bighorn, all but two awarded in 1878. Moreover, thirty-one soldiers were recognized for their actions in October 1876, at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Montana, receiving their medals six months after the engagement. In all, eighty-one medals were awarded for the Little Big Horn Campaign of 1876-1877, known by historians as the Great Sioux War.

Thirty-two soldiers from the 1st and 8th Cavalry Regiments were decorated on February 14, 1870, for their actions against Cochise and his Apache warriors in a stronghold in the Chiricahua Mountains four months earlier, the greatest number of medals awarded for a single day’s action during the Indian Wars period, and that in a battle in which only two soldiers were killed. Those were in addition to the thirty-four medals bestowed on 8th Cavalry troopers for actions in Arizona throughout August 1868, a period in the Army’s history that is not even recognized with a campaign streamer.

To demonstrate that thirty Medals of Honor awarded during the Pine Ridge 1890-91 Campaign was not an anomaly, I offer the following Medal of Honor statistics:

  • 81 awarded for the Little Big Horn 1876-77 Campaign
  • 27 awarded for the Apaches 1873, 1885-86 Campaign
  • 18 awarded for the Nez Percé 1877 Campaign
  • 12 awarded for the Ute 1879-80 Campaign

177 medals were awarded for actions not covered under any Army campaign streamer including:

  • 53 awarded for actions against Apaches in 1869
  • 49 awarded for actions against Apaches in 1868

Following are numbers of medals awarded for single actions during the Indian Wars:

  • 32 awarded to 1st and 8th Cav. Regts. for action on October 10, 1869, against Apaches in Arizona Territory
  • 31 awarded to 5th and 22nd Inf. Regts. for action on October 21, 1876, at Cedar Creek, Montana Territory
  • 24 awarded to 7th Cav. Regt. for actions on June 25-26, 1876, at the Little Bighorn, Montana Territory
  • 20 awarded to 1st and 5th Cav. Regts. for actions in 1872 against Apaches in Arizona Territory
  • 18 awarded to 7th Cav. and 1st Art. Regts. for action on December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota
  • 13 awarded to 6th Cav. Regt. for action on July 12, 1870, at Wichita River, Texas
  • 12 awarded to 5th Inf. and 6th Cav. Regts. for action on September 9, 1874, at Upper Wichita River, Texas
  • 10 awarded to 5th and 9th Cav. Regts. for action on September 29, 1879, at Milk River, Colorado

(6) The Medal of Honor is awarded in the name of Congress.

It is a great distinction, the highest distinction for a military member to be awarded a Medal of Honor. It is awarded by the President in the name of Congress. These thirty soldiers were duly awarded for their actions during the Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890-91, based on the sworn statements of their fellow soldiers and commanders and in accordance with established standards for awarding the medal in their day. All Medals of Honor are awarded based on the statements of fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, or coastguardsmen, and on the statements of their commissioned officers. Never, in the history of our Armed Forces, have the views of adversaries opposing our forces been sought or considered when conferring medals. Do not set that precedent now.

Let not these Medals of Honor be rescinded based on the views of the descendants of the adversaries that faced our soldiers in 1890.

Let not these Medals of Honor be rescinded in the name of this 116th Congress.

(7) As found in Senate Concurring Resolution 153 of the 101st Congress, on December 29, 1890 the 7th Cavalry of the United States engaged a tribal community “resulting in the tragic death and injury of approximately 350-375 Indian men, women, and children” led by Lakota Chief Spotted Elk of the Miniconjou band at “Cankpe’ Opi Wakpa” or “Wounded Knee Creek”.

Forty-three years ago Congress held hearings on Wounded Knee in which Senator James Abourezk, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation in February 1976 “to award compensation to descendants of survivors of the Army’s massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek” calling for “$3,000 to be paid to descendants.”8 This was the third time such legislation had been proposed, and the third time it would be defeated. The hearings produced almost 600 pages of invaluable testimony from expert historians such as Robert M. Utley, Dee A. Brown, and Rex A. Smith. At one point the hearings went to great lengths in defining “massacre” and “battle” in attempts to properly describe the events at Wounded Knee by introducing definitions from numerous dictionaries. One definition read, “The indiscriminate, merciless killing of human beings.”9 Dr. Utley, whose 1963 landmark work, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation, more than qualified him as an expert historian, provided testimony that perhaps went the furthest in putting Wounded Knee into a proper context from a historian’s perspective.

I am fully aware that contemporary evidence can be extracted from the vast body of original sources to support almost any interpretation one wishes to place on Wounded Knee or any other controversial historical event, for that matter. Sound history, however, is careful synthesis of all the evidence, in which corroboration of individual testimony is sought and the possible and the probable and the credible carefully weighed. Studied as a whole, rather than in isolated bits and pieces, the historical evidence, from both white and Indian sources, does not substantiate Wounded Knee as a massacre in terms of premeditation or lack of discrimination between combatants and noncombatants. Assuredly it was a terrible, lamentable tragedy. But it seems to me that we should be a mature enough people to view it not in terms of the easy, conventional stereotypes of good guys and bad guys but in terms, rather, of decent, ordinary people caught up in the passions and insanities of an armed conflict that none of them intended or anticipated.10

(8) This engagement became known as the “Wounded Knee Massacre”, and took place between unarmed Native Americans and soldiers, heavily armed with standard issue army rifles as well as four “Hotchkiss guns” with five 37 mm barrels capable of firing 43 rounds per minute.

Wounded Knee, from the Army’s perspective, was not a massacre, the Indian braves were better armed than the individual soldiers, albeit in smaller numbers, and of course the Army of 1890 was equipped with Hotchkiss guns, but not the variant described in this Act.

Certainly, Wounded Knee was considered a massacre by the people whose tribe was destroyed there, and the Lakota nation have been very effective over the past century in reframing Wounded Knee as a massacre to the point that most Americans assume that is a proper description. I concur with Dr. Utley’s 1976 testimony that Wounded Knee being described as a “massacre” is not substantiated by the primary source evidence available. Further, as a historian, I find that labeling Wounded Knee—or any other similar conflict—as a massacre to be an impediment to objectively analyzing that event. Throughout our Nation’s history the term “massacre” has been the tool of propagandists, who strive solely to designate the good guys and the bad guys, and in so labeling, to silence any contrary evidence or perspective. That is exactly what this Act aims to do.

It is apparent that paragraph (8) of the Act is presented to derisively paint the Army as overly militant, possessing far greater firepower than conditions warranted, and conversely to present the Lakota as unarmed victims of the Army’s unjust and unwarranted attack. It is a one-sided statement, devoid of any finding of fact, and which fails to mention that the historical record well documents that Big Foot’s band consisted of, “120 Indians, all well armed and plenty of ammunition in their belts,”11 when initially arrested on December 28, 1890, near Porcupine Butte. Later sworn testimony detailed that most every military aged male Indian when brought to Wounded Knee, possessed a Winchester magazine rifle capable of holding up to eight rounds, which provided a greater rate of fire when compared to the soldiers who were armed with single shot Springfield carbines.

This paragraph in the Act fails to detail deceptive measures taken by Big Foot and his band in claiming they had destroyed all their firearms before surrendering. Maj. Samuel M. Whitside provided sworn testimony that, “Big Foot consulted with his bucks and reported to Colonel Forsyth that they had no arms, that they, the arms, had all been destroyed on the Cheyenne. This notwithstanding the fact that the Indians had met me the day before fully armed.”12

Further, this paragraph in the Act fails to mention the great lengths taken by the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa to conceal and otherwise avoid surrendering their firearms necessitating not only a search of their village, but eventually a search of each individual warrior. Yes, many of the braves were disarmed at the time the Indians fired their first volley. Still, the historical record clearly reveals that numerous Indians were armed, took aim at, and fired on the soldiers, who immediately returned fire.

To quote Lieut. John C. Gresham—one of the Medal of Honor recipients from Wounded Knee—the Indians “flung off their blankets, and with nothing but breech clouts and light ghost shirts to impede their marvellous [sic] agility, began emptying their magazine rifles into the ranks of the soldiers. The fire was returned instantly and with great effect.”13
Lieut. John Kinzie, a 2nd Infantry Regiment officer at Wounded Knee as an observer who was himself wounded that morning, described the commencement of the fight, “Then the whole outfit threw open their blankets, pulled up their Winchesters and began to pump them for all they were worth.”14

Maj. Whitside, the battalion commander who captured the band, also described the opening volleys in his sworn testimony, “One shot was fired by an Indian and was instantly followed by a volley from the rest of the Indians, who had all jumped to their feet for the purpose, and thrown their blankets on the ground, and commenced firing at the two Troops, B and K, formed at right angles, as described, firing through these troops and their own tepees. At least 50 shots were fired by the Indians before the troops returned fire. Some 25 or 30 Indians were seen to fall.”15

That the Army also brought Hotchkiss mountain howitzers to Wounded Knee is merely indicative of sound military tactics of that period. Any regiment given such a mission in 1890 would have been so armed if possible. Maj. Guy V. Henry’s battalion of Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th Cavalry that went in search of Big Foot’s band up on the White River two days prior to the 7th Cavalry also were accompanied by an artillery platoon armed with two such howitzers.

Any tactician with a modicum of military education, training, and experience would embark on a mission with the intent of meeting an adversary with overwhelming firepower. No captain enters a fight insisting that his soldiers only be armed to an equal level of their adversary to ensure a fair fight. On the contrary, they seek to engage their foe asymmetrically, with superior numbers and superior firepower. That is the American way of war.

The Army commander who captured Big Foot’s band succinctly reported his employment of men and artillery upon arrival at Wounded Knee, “Detailing 2 troops, A and I, to guard the Indians during the night, which was done by placing a chain of sentinels around their camp and the 2 Hotchkiss guns… on the side of the hill overlooking the Indian village.”16 The howitzers’ placement on the hill was to provide over watch of the village and to position the guns on the high ground where they could best be employed if needed, and best defended if attacked by onrushing Indians.

The commander further explained in sworn testimony his reasoning for calling for reinforcements doubling his firepower. “To guard against any mishap a courier had been dispatched, when the capture was first affected, to General Brooke, at the Pine Ridge Agency, to send the second battalion of the 7th Cavalry. The object I had in view was that, by their presence, we could overawe the Indians, and so they would submit quietly to be disarmed. I was convinced, from a hostile demonstration of the Indians at the time of surrender, that otherwise trouble might ensue.”17 The battalion commander further elaborated, “At no time previous to actual firing did it enter into my mind that a fight would ensue. I thought the Indians were ugly and would not give up their arms, and that we would have to take their arms forcibly by search, and I did not anticipate any armed resistance, because of the overwhelming display of force.”18

For the record, this Act incorrectly describes the Hotchkiss gun as having five revolving 37mm barrels. There was a Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon matching that description but not at Wounded Knee. The Hotchkiss mountain howitzers employed at the fights at Wounded Knee and White Clay creeks were 1.65-inch caliber (42mm) with a single barrel. While rates of fire for this gun is difficult to ascertain, one artillery expert estimated it at 12 to 24 rounds a minute per battery (six guns), which would equate to 2 to 4 rounds per gun. There were four Hotchkiss guns at Wounded Knee. There is no historical evidence available to accurately estimate how many rounds were fired at Wounded Knee, much less any gun’s rate of fire. It certainly was not 43 rounds per minute even across the whole battery, as deceptively described in the Act.19

(Click to enlarge) “Corp. Paul Weinert and gunners of Battery “E” 1st Artillery. Photo. and copyright 1891 by the Grabill P. & V., Deadwood, S.D.”

(9) Nearly two-thirds of the Native Americans killed during the Massacre were unarmed women and children who were participating in a ceremony to restore their traditional homelands prior to the arrival of European settlers.

Paragraph (9) of the Act is factually false both in the estimate of non-combatant deaths and in describing the Indians’ purpose for being at Wounded Knee.

The number of male Indians—warriors according to the Army, and in today’s parlance, military aged males—that were killed was somewhere between 85 and 95, with almost 50 more unidentifiable by age or sex. For non-combatants to number nearly two-thirds of the casualties, the women and children killed would have to add up to 200 or more. That far exceeds any of the contemporary numbers reported. Capt. Frank D. Baldwin, who was serving as an Acting Assistant Inspector General and investigated Wounded Knee, provided the following report of Indian casualties from the battle:

Killed on the battle field, or died of wounds, warriors… 85
Killed on the battle field, or died of wounds, non-combatants… 68
Killed on the battle field, or died of wounds, sex and age not known… 47
[total] 200

Wounded and received in Hospital at Pine Ridge,

Adults, males… 8
Children, males… 12
Adults, females… 11
Children, females… 5……… [total] 36
seven of the foregoing died in hospital.

Scattered among other bands of Indians, exact whereabouts, condition or sex not known, although the major portion of whom are believed to be wounded… 70

Grand total… 306 20

Baldwin’s numbers indicate that 207 Indians were killed or died of wounds of which 85 were confirmed as warriors, and 47 were unable to be identified by age or sex.

At the time of Wounded Knee, all women and children were considered non-combatants. However, there are ample accounts, from soldier and Indian alike, that describe women and teenage boys picking up weapons and engaging the soldiers. Certainly, they cannot be faulted for defending their and their loved ones’ lives. But, even present-day restrictive rules of engagement would permit American soldiers to treat as combatants those armed women and teenagers firing on American troops. Lieutenant Sedgwick Rice provided sworn testimony that described just such a scenario, and the mercy shown. “One of these mounted squaws was armed and fired on our line, and one of the men said then ‘There is a buck.’ And I said ‘No, it is a squaw, don’t shoot on her,’ and he said ‘Well, by God, Lieut., she is shooting at us.’ He did not fire at her.”21

Paragraph (9) of the Act also purports that those same non-combatants were, at the time of the attack, participating in a religious ceremony, a reference to the Spirit Dance or Ghost Dance, that is widely seen as the catalyst that brought the Army back to the Dakotas in force. However, none of the Indians from Big Foot’s band and the remnants from Sitting Bull and Hump’s bands were conducting a Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee at the end of December. While members of all three of those bands had participated in the Ghost Dance during the fall of 1890, all those elements had stopped their worship ceremonies—called dancing by Indian Agents—by the time Sitting Bull was killed two weeks prior to Wounded Knee.

Big Foot had surrendered to Lieut. Col. Edwin V. Sumner, 8th Cavalry, a week prior to Wounded Knee, but the Indians eluded Sumner and fled south during the night on December 23, ostensibly in response to an invitation for Big Foot to serve as a peacemaker between the factions at the Pine Ridge Agency. Although, records exist indicating that the Hunkpapa Indians from Sitting Bull’s village intended to flee to Pine Ridge even before they linked up with Big Foot at that chief’s village. Lieut. Col. Sumner recorded that he believed the Indians fled south because they were misinformed that his troops would shoot them down if they did not surrender and go into Fort Bennett, that they were further terrified by additional troops moving up the Cheyenne River toward their homes, and that the ailing Big Foot only reluctantly agreed with the younger braves who demanded the whole village move south.22

Regardless of their reason for fleeing south, the Army commanders believed Big Foot’s outbreak from their reservation homes was an attempt to reach the Brulé Indians who had broken from the Rosebud reservation and were held up in supposed fortified defensive positions atop a mesa known as the Stronghold. Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, the commanding general of the campaign, was adamant that Big Foot’s band be prevented from linking up in the Stronghold and undermining the Army’s efforts to coax those Brulé Indians into coming into Pine Ridge peacefully. Based on reporting, Gen. Miles declared that Big Foot’s band were hostile and should be treated as such, captured, disarmed, and removed from the country. As the band fled south, they made every effort, successfully, to elude numerous cavalry troops that were scouting for the rogue band. Eventually, Big Foot was so ill, dying of pneumonia, that the band determined to find the next group of soldiers they encountered, which as fate would have it, was a battalion of the 7th Cavalry.

Maj. Whitside originally was dispatched with the instructions to capture Big Foot’s band, prevent them from linking up with the hostiles’ camp in the Stronghold of the Bad Lands, prevent their escape, disarm them, and, if they resisted, destroy them. Once Whitside had captured the Indians he was given further orders. After disarming them, move them to Gordon, Nebraska, take their ponies from them, and turn them over to the Infantry to be sent out of the country for a time, i.e. put on trains to Fort Omaha, Nebraska.

The cavalry was convinced that if the Indians saw the overwhelming fire power arrayed against them, they would surrender their weapons rather than be destroyed. By the morning of December 29, 1890, many of the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa men were convinced that if they surrendered their weapons, they would be destroyed anyway. This placed the Lakota men on what Sun Tzu 3,000 years ago termed desperate ground. That is, ground on which they could only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay.

By the time Col. Forsyth determined that he would have to search each individual Indian for weapons to effectively disarm them, the stage was set for tragic consequences. Given that situation, created by all the external events over the previous 300-plus years of failed Euro-American and Native-American relations, there was not a unit in the Army in December 1890, nor a man in or out of uniform, who could have defused that situation.

Without placing blame or casting aspersions, there were Lakota men who were never going to willingly surrender their weapons that morning, for they were convinced that to do so meant their destruction, and more importantly, the destruction of their loved ones. Further, there were Lakota men who never would have submitted to being taken to Gordon, Nebraska, willingly given up their ponies, and then submitted passively to being shipped by train out of the country. Brig. Gen. Brooke had given orders to Col. Forsyth and Maj. Whitside that they were never going to be able to carry out, save one, if the Indians resist, destroy them. By December 29, conditions were such that conflict was inevitable. The Lakota were going to resist.

Regarding the large number of unidentifiable remains, the Lakota put up stiff resistance from covered and concealed positions from a pocket in the ravine. From those positions they were able to employ effective and lethal small arms fire. When reading the dozens of sworn statements and the commanders’ letters of recommendation, it is apparent that at least two troops of cavalry and a platoon of artillery came under a galling fire from that pocket. Documented in those pages are the names of troopers killed and wounded trying to suppress the fire from the Indians, and the heroism, gallantry, and fortitude of the cavalrymen and artillerymen is evident in their efforts to eliminate that lethal threat. Ultimately, it took the repeated direct fire of one howitzer to bring that fight to an end. Tragically, the pocket from whence the Indians were fighting contained men, women, and children, and all were killed during the soldiers’ efforts to suppress their fire. Many of the Indians’ bodies were unidentifiable, either by sex or age. War is hell, both for the soldiers who fell under the Indians’ effective small arms fire, and for the Lakota who were destroyed in the pocket. The fact that there were women and children in the pocket—the site of such lethal resistance—does not detract from the soldiers’ heroic efforts, under a galling fire, to bring that fight to an end. For a Lakota survivor of such a battle it would be remembered as a massacre. For a soldier who fought alongside fallen comrades, the troopers and artillerymen who finally silenced the threat would be remembered as heroes of a terrible fight.

In summation, there were no Indians at Wounded Knee who were there to participate “in a ceremony to restore their traditional homelands.” They were all at Wounded Knee because they had fled from surrender to the 8th Cavalry, eluded capture by the 6th and 9th Cavalries, only to eventually surrender to the 7th Cavalry. There were Lakota men who were never going to surrender their firearms, and their stiff, even heroic, resistance was the cause of their destruction.

That Maj. Gen. Miles eventually resolved the outbreak without further bloody engagements, excepting White Clay Creek the following day, was due largely to a hard fought lesson learned, by both Lakota and soldier alike, at Wounded Knee: that to force the Lakota to relinquish their arms would result in conflict. Gen. Miles came up with the solution that ultimately worked, only after he had seen the bloody results of Wounded Knee, namely, to have the Indian chiefs collect the weapons and surrender them, and to look the other way when they knowingly relinquished only a token few weapons. Unfortunately, for all concerned, that lesson had yet to be learned on December 29, 1890.

(10) Poor tactical emplacement of the soldiers meant that most of the casualties suffered by the United States troops were inflicted by friendly fire.

Paragraph (10) of the Act also is categorically false, although it at least has a basis in suppositions made by a couple of Army officers in the days following Wounded Knee, including Maj. Gen. Miles. However, the evidence collected during the subsequent investigations and the statements of commanders made when recommending their soldiers for honors refutes this claim. Miles stated that a large number of soldiers were casualties from friendly fire as quoted in the Act’s next paragraph. “A large number” does not equate to “most of the casualties,” and Miles’s assumption was not borne out by the facts. The only other officer on record theorizing that there were friendly fire casualties among the soldiers was Capt. Charles B. Ewing, an assistant surgeon on Gen. Miles’s staff who was present at Wounded Knee as an observer. He testified that, “Located as the troops were, and firing as they did, it was impossible not to wound or kill each other.”23 However, no commander testified that their troops were hit by friendly fire, and most provided testimony to the opposite. Contradicting Dr. Ewing was Capt. John Van R. Hoff, who was the senior medical officer at Wounded Knee. He testified, “I have not the slightest reason to know or think that any men were wounded by our bullets. I desire to state that as a general principle it was possible that some men might have been so wounded, but there is no reason or evidence that came under my observation whatever to show that such was the case.”24

Embedded throughout the various testimonies from the several investigations and the numerous recommendations are statements from the officers detailing soldiers being wounded or killed by Indians. Following is a small sample of such statements.

  • Lieut. C. W. Taylor: “A soldier was killed there by the Indians and fell into the ravine.”25
  • Capt. W. S. Edgerly: “There I found Captain Jackson with his Troop, who had corralled some Indians. They were firing on the Indians, who answered the fire and had just killed one of his men.”26
  • Lieut. H. L. Hawthorne: “A hostile Indian had taken refuge in the Sibley tent used by our scouts and from which he had killed two men and wounded a third.”27
  • Lieut. W. J. Nicholson: “Private Zenhder, Troop ‘I’, 7th Cavalry, was killed while ripping open a tent in order to get at an Indian who had killed several soldiers.”28
  • Capt. A. Capron: “A party of Indians had taken possession of a ravine from which cover they had wounded and killed a number of our men. Hawthorne gallantly moved one of his pieces forward by hand to within three hundred yards of the place where the hostiles were concealed and while coolly and gallantly commanding his piece was shot and severely wounded.”29
  • Capt. C. A. Varnum: “These latter drew their knives and one assaulted Sergeant Ward. The sergeant was knocked down and stabbed several times in the shoulder but continued to struggle and getting his feet under the body of the Indian threw him off when he (the Indian) was killed by Corporal Capron. It was a fearful hand to hand struggle.”30
  • Lieut. H. G. Sickel: “Tritle received a slight wound in right hand, but continued in his efforts to dislodge the Indians until disabled by a severe wound in right shoulder.”31
  • Lieut. S. R. H. Tompkins: “My men killed three bucks and I had one man killed and one wounded. The bullets flew thick but I was not touched.”32
  • Lieut. J. Kinzie: “Captain Wallace was killed with a war club, of which there were a great many on the battlefield. He was struck twice across the forehead, apparently by different instruments. He was also shot. When they found him his hand was raised, and in it was clenched his revolver. Every chamber was empty, and grouped around him were five dead Indians.”33
  • Col. J. W. Forsyth: “Of the 11 men composing his [Garlington’s] 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.”34
  • Lieut. W. W. Robinson: “I observed no firing on the part of any of our men, which I considered endangered the lives of other men of the command, and I believe our dead were killed and wounded by Indian bullets, and after what I observed on the part of the Indians and their magazine guns I was not at all surprised at our loss, except that it was not greater than it was.”35
  • Maj. S. M. Whitside: “I am positive that the change of these two troops, brought about by the conditions of affairs in disarming the Indians, did not endanger the lives of other troops, from the fact furthermore that none of the troops opposite B Troop were either killed or wounded; and there were no troops in front of K Troop except a few men whose duties called them in the Indian circle to assist in the search.”36
  • Maj. J. F. Kent, senior Wounded Knee investigator for Gen. Miles: “But the evidence upon this subject fails to establish that a single man of Colonel Forsyth’s command was killed or wounded by his fellows.”37

In short, there was and is no evidence that any soldier was wounded or killed by friendly fire. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of Indians engaging, wounding, and killing U.S. Soldiers.

(11) On January 1st, 1891, Major General Nelson A. Miles, Commander of the Division of Missouri, telegraphed Major General John M. Schofield, Commander-in-Chief of the Army notifying him that “[I]t is stated that the disposition of four hundred soldiers and four pieces of artillery was fatally defective and large number of soldiers were killed and wounded by the fire from their own ranks and a very large number of women and children were killed in addition to the Indian men”.

Paragraph (11) of the Act finally quotes an Army officer from the time of Wounded Knee. Of course, it is Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, the commanding general of the campaign, perhaps the only officer in the Army who held a visceral, negative view of the 7th Cavalry’s performance at Wounded Knee. Gen. Miles was a truly heroic man, a fighting general with a sterling reputation for leading in combat, against both Confederates and Indians, eventually being awarded a Medal of Honor himself for action during the Civil War, which he received in the summer of 1892. He also had a reputation for unbridled ambition to rise to command of the whole Army, and some speculated even to the Presidency. He was loyal to his officers who were loyal to him and rewarded them accordingly. Nelson Miles’s signature was on more Medals of Honor than perhaps any other officer in the history of the U.S. Army. Gen. Miles also had a reputation for cashiering any officer who he believed brought discredit to his campaigns. In January 1890, his ire was focused on Col. James W. Forsyth, commander of the 7th Cavalry, for his actions at Wounded Knee, and on Lieut. Col. Edwin V. Sumner, 8th Cavalry, for his failure to capture and retain control of Big Foot.

Gen. Miles did express disdain for Col. Forsyth’s command of the 7th Cavalry in a telegram to Maj. Gen. Schofield on New Year’s Day 1891, seeking and receiving permission to relieve Col. Forsyth and investigate what occurred at Wounded Knee. In addition to the quote in paragraph (11) of this Act, Gen. Miles also wrote a report to the Adjutant General’s Office at the War Department four days later in which he again expressed his initial findings of all the failures of Col. Forsyth. “The map, presents one erasible [sic] fact, namely, the commands were so placed that the fire must have been destructive to some of their own men, while other portions of the troops were so placed as to be non-effective. It also appears that after a large number of their arms (47) had been taken away from the Indians, the fight occurred between the troops and Indians in close proximity.”38

On January 6, the day before the investigation began, Miles privately aired his low opinion of Forsyth in a letter to his wife. “Forsyth’s actions [are] about the worst I have ever known. I doubt if there is a Second Lieutenant who could not have made better disposition of 433 white soldiers and 40 Indian scouts, or could not have disarmed 118 Indians encumbered with 250 women and children.”39

Col. Forsyth recognized that he had been singled out for Gen. Miles’s wrath when he wrote to his daughter, “From the time I got here I knew that some one would be selected as a scapegoat, for the character of the general officer running this thing indicated this, but I did not believe that I was to be selected by Providence to carry the load.”40

Gen. Miles was operating well within his authority as commanding general of the campaign to provide his initial opinion and to initiate a board of inquiry, particularly after the President and Secretary of War gave him instructions to look into the facts. However, there was genuine concern in Army circles that based on Gen. Miles’s reputation, his board would get the results the General wanted, regardless of the facts. Maj. Whitside expressed his concerns of the board coming to an objective review of the evidence when he wrote in a letter to his wife, “The investigation developed nothing to his [Col. Forsyth’s] discredit but as one of the officers of the Board was the confidential advisor of Gen. Miles, the report of the Board will probably be in accordance with the will or desires of Gen M. instead of the facts in the case as shown by the evidence adduced.”41

However, Gen. Miles’s own investigators, which included one of his closest protégés, initially failed to find any evidence that the officers and soldiers at Wounded did anything other than their utmost duty, and certainly no evidence that could be used to prefer charges. That was not the outcome Gen. Miles desired, so he sent his investigators back to work, grilling his immediate subordinate, Brig. Gen. John R. Brooke, the commander to whom the 7th Cavalry reported. Finally, Maj. J. Ford Kent, Assistant Inspector General and the senior investigator, provided the following solitary criticism. “In conclusion, it appears, in answer to the requirements of the Division Commander, that Colonel Forsyth’s command was not held at a safe distance, and that the attack of the Indians resulted in a surprise to the troops.”42

Gen. Miles’s wrath was unassuaged, and the evidence, or lack of it, failed to persuade him to change his initial opinion. Ignoring the hundreds of pages of reports, sworn testimony, and depositions from his own investigation, he wrote a scathing two-page endorsement condemning Col. Forsyth.

Upon reading the entire file, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield found Gen. Miles’s condemnation completely unfounded. Gen. Schofield praised the 7th Cavalry, “The evidence in these papers shows that great care was taken by the officers and generally by the enlisted men to avoid unnecessary killing of Indian women and children in the affair at Wounded Knee, and shows that the conduct of the 7th Cavalry under very trying circumstances was characterized by excellent discipline and, in many cases, by great forbearance.”43

Secretary of War Redfield Proctor also found Gen. Miles’s findings in complete contravention to the evidence adduced. This paragraph (11) of the Act deceptively quotes only Gen. Miles’s initial findings, formed prior to any investigation, and doesn’t bother with presenting what the War Department ultimately concluded once all the evidence was evaluated. Since Secretary Proctor’s conclusions are the official U.S. Government position pertaining to the investigation of Wounded Knee, it is appropriate to quote his findings in full.

From the testimony taken by Major Kent and Captain Baldwin, two officers of Gen. Miles’ staff, ordered by him to investigate the fight at Wounded Knee, it appears that before the action Big Foot’s band had been joined by Sitting Bull’s following, and these bands embraced the most fanatical and desperate elements among the Sioux. They surrendered because of the necessities of their situation rather than from a submissive spirit. It was the sullen and unwilling yielding of a band of savage fanatics, who were overmatched and out of food, to superior force. It was not in good faith on the part of the younger braves, at least, but yet not with any definite prearranged plan of treachery.

The surrender was made to Major Whitside, commanding the First Battalion of the Seventh Cavalry, on the afternoon of December twenty-eighth. Colonel Forsyth was ordered up to his support and arrived at eight forty-five that evening.

It was manifestly an imperative necessity to prevent the escape of any of these desperadoes during the process of disarming or as a consequence of the attempt to disarm them, for such escape would probably have resulted in a destructive raid upon the settlements. The troops appear to have been well disposed to prevent an outbreak which was not and could hardly have been anticipated by any one, under the circumstances, even in dealing with Indians, and the dispositions made appear to have had the desired effect of convincing at least a majority of Indians of the futility of any attempt to escape. If treachery was premeditated by any of the Indians, which seems extremely improbable, the majority of them were deterred from attempting to execute it, until incited by the speech of the ghost dancer.

The disarmament was commenced and it was evident that the Indians were sullenly trying to evade the order. To carry out this order the men had been ordered out from their camp, to separate them from their women and children, and were formed about a hundred yards away, and Troops K and B were posted midway between them and their tepees. When ordered to surrender their arms, they produced two broken carbines and stated that was all they had, but when the partial search of the tepees was made before the firing commenced, about forty arms were found, the squaws making every effort to conceal the same by hiding and sitting on them, and in various other ways evincing a most sullen mien. The disarmament was much more thorough than they expected, and when they found that the arms were to be taken from their tepees, and those they had concealed under their blankets were to be taken away also, they were carried away by the harangue of the ghost dancer, and, wheeling about, opened fire. Nothing illustrates the madness of their outbreak more forcibly than the fact that their first fire was so directed that every shot that did not hit a soldier must have gone through their own village.

There is little doubt that the first killing of women and children was by this first fire of the Indians themselves. They then made a rush to break through and around the flanks of Troop K, commanded by the gallant Capt. Wallace, and reached their tepees, where many of them had left their arms with the squaws, and they continued the firing from among their own women and children, and when they started from their camp, their women and children were mingled with them. The women and children were never away from the immediate company of the men after the latter broke from the circle. Many of them, men and women, got on their ponies, and it was impossible to distinguish a buck from a squaw at a little distance when mounted. The men fired from among the women and children in their retreat. Cautions were repeatedly given by both regular and non-commissioned officers not to shoot squaws or children, and men were cautioned individually that such and such Indians were squaws. The firing by the troops was entirely directed on the men in the circle and in a direction opposite from the tepees until the Indians, after their break, mingled with their women and children, thus exposing them to the fire of the troops, and as a consequence, some were unavoidably killed and wounded, a fact which was universally regretted by the officers and men of the Seventh Cavalry. This unfortunate phase of the affair grew out of circumstances for which the Indians themselves were entirely responsible. Major Whitside emphatically declares that at least fifty shots were fired by the Indians before the troops returned the fire. Several special instances of humanity in the saving of women and children were noted.

That it resulted in the loss of the lives of many good soldiers and the wounding of many others, as well as the almost total destruction of the Indian warriors, was one of the inevitable consequences of such acts of insane desperation.

The bodies of an Indian woman and three children who had been shot down three miles from Wounded Knee were found some days after the battle and buried by Capt. Baldwin of the Fifth Infantry on the 21st day of January; but it does not appear that this killing had any connection with the fight at Wounded Knee, nor that Colonel Forsyth is in any way responsible for it. Necessary orders will be given to insure a thorough investigation of the transaction and the prompt punishment of the criminals.

No doubt the position of the troops made it necessary for some of them to withhold fire for a time in order that they might not endanger the lives of their comrades, but both Major Kent and Captain Baldwin concur in finding that the evidence “fails to establish that a single man of Colonel Forsyth’s command was killed or wounded by his fellows.” This fact, and, indeed, the conduct of both officers and men through the whole affair demonstrates an exceedingly satisfactory state of discipline in the 7th Cavalry. Their behavior was characterized by skill, coolness, discretion and forbearance, and reflects the highest possible credit upon the regiment, which sustained a loss of one officer, and twenty-five enlisted men killed, and two officers and thirty-one enlisted men wounded.

The situation at Wounded Knee Creek was a very unusual and very difficult one, far more difficult than that involved in ordinary battle, where the only question is of gaining a victory without an effort to save the lives of the enemy. It is easy to make plans when we look backward, but in the light of actual conditions, as they appeared to the commanding officer, there does not seem to be anything in the arrangement of the troops requiring adverse criticism on the part of the department.

I therefore approve of the endorsement of the Major General Commanding, that the interests of the military service do not demand any further proceedings in this case. By direction of the President Colonel Forsyth will resume command of his regiment.

REDFIELD PROCTOR, Secretary of War44

If this Congress would but review its own records from 1938, in which the 75th Congress considered a Bill to “liquidate the liability of the United States for the massacre of Sioux Indian men, women, and children at Wounded Knee,”45 they would discover that these same words by Secretary Proctor were presented by the then Acting Secretary of War, General Malin Craig. Gen. Craig concluded by stating: “This matter has been heretofore carefully and thoroughly investigated by the War Department and it is evident from the above-quoted statement of the Secretary of War that the military forces were completely vindicated from any blame in the affair at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890. There appears to be no reason why surviving Sioux Indians or their next of kin should be reimbursed by the United States Government for the result of an action for which, insofar as the records of the Department show, they were responsible.”46

(12) The United States awarded 20 Medals of Honor to soldiers of the U.S. 7th Cavalry following their participation in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Maj. Gen. Miles recommended approval on four of the recommendations for Medals of Honor, three were men assigned or attached to Light Battery E, 1st Artillery, two of whom manned the Hotchkiss mountain howitzers. He endorsed only one of the 7th Cavalry recommendations for medals–Lieut. Garlington–for the mere fact that the recommendations were properly routed through the Department of the Missouri, commanded by Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt, and were not required to be routed through Gen. Miles’s Division of the Missouri.

There can be some confusion, from a historical perspective, because of the similar names in these two headquarters, and because of Secretary of War Proctor’s efforts to humble Gen. Miles after his brazen attempt to skew the investigation against Col. Forsyth and the 7th Cavalry. In the summer of 1891, after most all of the Medal of Honor recommendations had made it to the War Department, a number of brigadier general assignments were announced, moving each of the one-star generals to new positions, including Brig. Gen. Merritt out of the Department of the Missouri. Rather than promote a colonel to brigadier general to fill the vacant position, Secretary Proctor disestablished the Division of the Missouri and assigned Maj. Gen. Miles to fill the one-star command of the Department of the Missouri. This in effect demoted Gen. Miles by position, although he retained his two-star rank. It was taken as a public rebuke of the ambitious General.

No doubt, Gen. Miles viewed Col. Forsyth’s actions as responsible for his, Miles, removal from Division command. This became apparent in the fall of 1891 when the War Department referred Col. Forsyth’s recommendations for brevet promotions to Gen. Miles, then Department of the Missouri commanding general with oversight of Fort Riley and the 7th Cavalry. The recommendations included two brevet promotions for Maj. Whitside, one to lieutenant colonel for the capture of Big Foot’s band and another to colonel for his conspicuous gallantry at Wounded Knee. The recommendations also included one from Brig. Gen. Merritt for Col. Forsyth to major general for his gallantry at Wounded Knee and judicious management of White Clay Creek. In response to the brevet recommendations, Gen. Miles ordered his Inspector General investigate “Conspicuous acts of gallantry, heroism and fortitude”47 displayed by the officers at the two battles.

In writing his endorsement to this new investigation, Gen. Miles began by briefly praising the actions of the company grade officers–captains and lieutenants–and soldiers at Wounded Knee. He again disregarded all evidence obtained during the new investigation and took the opportunity to write a lengthy condemnation of the field grade officers–Maj. Whitside and Col. Forsyth–writing, “The actions of such officers as Captains Moylan, Capron and Godfrey, and Lieutenants Garlington, Hawthorne, Sickel, and others, did much to retrieve the actions of Major Whitside and Colonel Forsyth, who were responsible for placing and retaining the command in such a fatal position, resulting, in the opinion of the Department Commander, in the useless waste of many lives.”48 Gen. Miles at least acknowledged that any notion of friendly fire casualties was only his opinion. Even he recognized by then that such an accusation was wholly unsubstantiated. Gen. Miles, despite his vitriolic disdain for Forsyth and Whitside, never strayed from his support and endorsement of the gallantry of the junior officers and soldiers displayed at Wounded Knee.

(13) In 2001, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a member Tribe of the Great Sioux Nation, upon information provided by Lakota elders and by veterans, passed Tribal Council Resolution No. 132-01, requesting that the Federal Government revoke the Medals of Honor from the soldiers of the United States Army, 7th Cavalry issued following the massacre of unarmed men, women, children, and elderly of the Great Sioux Nation on December 29, 1890, on Tribal Lands near Wounded Knee Creek.

Our military and civilian leaders have never, nor should they ever, use accounts from the adversaries of our forces when determining honors to bestow on our military men and women. Nor should Congress use such accounts to whitewash our Nation’s history and rescind medals that were properly recommended, duly considered, and approved in accordance with established law and regulations.

(14) The National Congress of American Indians requested in a 2007 Resolution that the Congress “renounce the issuance of said medals, and/or to proclaim that the medals are null and void, given the atrocities committed upon unarmed men, women, children and elderly of the Great Sioux Nation”.

Father Francis M. Craft, a Catholic missionary for ten years among the Hunkpapa at Standing Rock, was grievously wounded at Wounded Knee. He provided a sworn deposition during Gen. Miles’s investigation of the battle while recovering from his wound. He was a most credible witness, in that he was unfamiliar with the soldiers at Wounded Knee and was empathetic to the Lakota. Many historians write off all the testimony that 7th Cavalry and 1st Artillery officers provided with the guise that they were lying to cover up their dastardly deeds and protect their inept commander. This is astounding, as the documentation for Wounded Knee is substantial, taken under oath, provided within days of the battle, but largely ignored by present historians, and apparently the authors of this “Remove the Stain Act.”

Father Craft’s empathy lay entirely with the Lakota, to the point of directing that his body be buried with the Indians in the trench at Wounded Knee if he died of his wounds. He vociferously blamed the Indian Bureau for all the ills the Lakota suffered, and saw those ills–abject poverty, misery, and starvation–as the root cause of all the turbulence in November and December 1890. He was at Wounded Knee to serve as an interpreter, as a friendly face known to the Lakota through his last ten years of missionary work, and to convince the warriors that they would be well cared for if only they peacefully surrendered their weapons. He was positioned between the warriors and the cavalry at the opening volley. He was, according one of his later accounts, shot by soldiers and stabbed by a Brulé. Yet from his perspective on the battlefield, Fr. Craft faulted the Lakota for initiating the hostilities, for indiscriminately firing on their own village directly behind a troop of cavalry, and for continuing the resistance, and he lauded the actions of the cavalry in trying to spare the lives of women and children to the point of taking greater casualties themselves than if they had just wantonly and mercilessly shot all of them down.

Fr. Craft, who was not afraid to rattle cages and was very vocal on what he believed to be the truth, provided a deposition that corroborated the soldiers’ accounts of Wounded Knee. He was recovering in the Catholic Church, not the army field hospital, so was not privy to the post-battle banter and comparing of accounts that occurred among the soldiers prior to giving testimony. He provided a similar account to Eli Ricker, but the judge seemed to not pay much heed to the Catholic priest’s version of events.

Fr. Craft gave an even lengthier description of Wounded Knee in February 1892 that is recorded in At Standing Rock and Wounded Knee, by Thomas Foley. A quote from Foley in his closing paragraphs provides an outstanding perspective of the Lakota at Wounded Knee. “Proponents who would enshrine Wounded Knee as the iconic epitome of Native American victimization diminish the heroic stand taken by Big Foot’s warriors.”49 Dewey Beard’s account of his exploits at Wounded Knee are singularly impressive and undoubtedly heroic, and account, in part, for why the 7th Cavalry and Light Battery E continued the battle up the Ravine, to suppress such fierce resistance and eliminate the Indians’ effective lethal fire from covered and concealed positions.

All the faults of 300-plus years of failed Euro-American policy in confronting Native Americans are heaped, by today’s historians, on the soldiers at Wounded Knee. The 7th Cavalry became the Indian Bureau’s scapegoat–for all its own failed policies and corrupt practices–within days of the battle. Col. Forsyth became Gen. Miles’s scapegoat because of perceived discredit brought to his campaign. The troopers of the 7th Cavalry are a convenient scapegoat today for historians to dump on as well. With this “Remove the Stain Act,” Congress looks to do the same.

(15) General Miles contemporaneously stated that a “[w]holesale massacre occurred and I have never heard of a more brutal, cold-blooded massacre than that at Wounded Knee”.

Even out of uniform and through his many years of retirement, Lieut. Gen. Miles continued to lambaste Maj. Gen. Forsyth and to blame him for any discredit that he, Miles, felt was levied against him for the Pine Ridge Campaign, such as criticism from President Theodore Roosevelt. Nelson Miles nurtured his deep-seated and ever-growing hatred for James Forsyth, especially after the latter officer passed away in 1906. Miles had an additional 19 years to harbor those ill feelings and slander Forsyth. However, Gen. Miles placed no such blame on the officers and soldiers recognized for gallantry, heroism, and fortitude at Wounded Knee.

(16) Allowing any Medal of Honor, the United States highest and most prestigious military decoration, to recognize a member of the Armed Forces for distinguished service for participating in the massacre of hundreds of unarmed Native Americans is a disservice to the integrity of the United States and its citizens, and impinges on the integrity of the award and those who have earned the Medal since.

Certainly, paragraph (16) of the Act makes no attempt to provide a historically accurate representation of the events at Wounded Knee, but merely continues to present Lakota oral histories and traditions as the basis to disregard dozens of sworn statements and thousands of pages of official records. There is, however, a Congressional precedent regarding rescinding Medals of Honor, and it is one that this Congress should refer to if seriously considering passage of this “Remove the Stain Act,” if for no other reason than that that earlier Congress first sought the informed opinion of the military.

As the standards for conferring the Medal of Honor continued to be raised by the Army, Congress determined to review all the War Department’s medals. In 1916, Congress directed that a board of retired general officers review all documents pertaining to the 2,625 medals awarded to that date, to “consider the question of persons entitled to medals of honor.” The board was comprised of five retired general officers and was headed by none other than Lieut. Gen. (retired) Nelson A. Miles. For the next six months the board poured over the thousands of documents pertaining to every medal and recommended rescinding hundreds of them. Among the thousands of medals, the board reviewed all thirty medals awarded during the Pine Ridge Campaign of 1890-91 and did not recommend rescinding any of them. The board’s notes from this review for each of the Wounded Knee medals are included as part of the appendix to this analysis. In effect, Lieut. Gen. Miles, as president of the review board, provided a second endorsement for all the medals associated with Wounded Knee a quarter century after they were first conferred.

It is worth noting some of the comments of Lieut. Gen. Miles and his fellow board members regarding their review of Medals of Honor.

In a large majority of cases the medals have been awarded for distinguished conduct in action, measuring that term by the highest standard, and there can be no question as to the propriety of the award.

In some cases the papers are missing and those on file do not furnish evidence, which of itself would be satisfactory to this board, except for the corroborative evidence contained in the action of the proper authorities at the time. The evidence was satisfactory to them and should not be questioned now, after a lapse of so many years, the death of important witnesses, and of the recipients of the medals, and the loss of valuable papers…. With but few exceptions these cases set forth the acts of brave men under trying circumstances. The rewards which these men received were greater than would now be given for the same acts, but the acts were highly meritorious nevertheless… because there has been no high judicial interpretation of the medal of honor laws, the board has felt bound to measure the act by the standard established by the authorities at the time of the award, rather than by that now observed, thus avoiding as far as practicable, retroactive judgment on the course of the War Department in a matter lawfully within its discretion, and so closely affecting the honor of so many patriotic citizens living and dead.50

The Medal of Honor review board concluded their findings by stating, “And once a medal of honor or other insignia has been duly awarded to an officer or enlisted man according to law, he should not be deprived of it except by the judgment of a military court for causes disgraceful to the military service.”51

Congress should not now insert themselves into a well-established system of trust between our civilian and military leaders in the conferring of military honors by relooking battles from centuries past and applying present day social norms and partisan politics to feats of gallantry and bravery that were recognized in our military history. To do so will be to break a sacred trust, and will call into question any medal, brevet, certificate, or honorable mention ever conferred on our military service men and women.

SEC. 3. RESCISSION OF MEDALS OF HONOR AWARDED FOR ACTS AT WOUNDED KNEE CREEK ON DECEMBER 29, 1890.

(a) In General.–Each Medal of Honor awarded for acts at Wounded Knee Creek, Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, on December 29, 1890, is rescinded.

(b) Medal of Honor Roll.–The Secretary concerned shall remove the name of each individual awarded a Medal of Honor for acts described in subsection (a) from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard Medal of Honor Roll maintained under section 1134a of title 10, United States Code.

(c) Return of Medal Not Required.–No person may be required to return to the Federal Government a Medal of Honor rescinded under subsection (a).

(d) No Denial of Benefits.–This Act shall not be construed to deny any individual any benefit from the Federal Government.

Left unmentioned in this Act is what would become of the grave markers of these Medal of Honor recipients. Will passage of the “Remove the Stain Act” lead to Congressionally sanctioned desecration of the graves of these heroes of an earlier era as the Medal of Honor headstones are pulled up from their final resting places?

Will just the consideration of this Act embolden more radical elements of our society to take it upon themselves to destroy, damage, or deface the grave markers of these gallant service members?

It is for all the reasons articulated in this analysis that I implore Congress to table the “Remove the Stain Act.”

COLONEL SAMUEL L. RUSSELL, U.S. Army retired.


Name: AUSTIN, WILLIAM G. Rank: Sergeant. Unit: Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 22

Recommender: Lieut. Horatio G. Sickel and Lieut. Sedgwick Rice

Recommendation: Sickel: Throughout the engagement Sergt. Austin was conspicuous by his coolness and bravery, rendering his troop commander valuable assistance by placing the men on the skirmish line in good positions, directing their fire and encouraging them by good example.
At one time while the troop was engaged, dismounted, with Indians concealed in the ravine, Sergt. Austin took an exposed position commanding a position of the ravine which protected the hostiles from the fire of the skirmishers and from which a deadly fire had been delivered, and by well directed shots caused the fire from that point to cease.

Rice: I cannot praise to [sic] highly the service of Sergeant Austin, who while his troop was engaged in clearing out a ravine in which were lodged a number of hostile Indians, was untiring in his efforts to accomplish this object, he repeadetly exposed himself to the fire of the Indians and by his example he greatly encouraged the men of his troop. He displayed great bravery in crossing the ravine under a hot fire and maintained his position there until his troop was withdrawn at the time the Hotchkiss gun was put in position. Sergt. Austin is a sharpshooter and from my personal observation I feel justified in saying that he did great execution.

Date of Issue: June 27, 1891

Citation: While the Indians were concealed in a ravine, assisted men on the skirmish line, directing their fire, etc., and using every effort to dislodge the enemy

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Cases Nos. 2209, 2364 (7343, 7356-91). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890. While Indians were concealed in ravine, directed fire from skirmish line and assisted in effort to dislodge them.
April 17, 1891, recommended by H. G. Sickle, first lieutenant, Seventh Cavalry.
May 4, 1891, troop commander earnestly recommends; approved May 5, 1891, by Forsyth; forwarded by Gen. Merritt; no recommendation.
April 18, 1891, letter of Second Lieut. Rice to Adjutant General.
General Order 100. W. D., December 17, 1891, gives specially meritorious acts of officers and enlisted men for the year 1890.
One medal issued June 27, 1891 (2209).
One medal Issued June 23, 1891 (2364).
2209. Austin, William G.
2364. McMillan, Albert W.


Name: CLANCY, JOHN E. Rank: Musician. Unit: Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 21

Recommender: Lieut. Harry L. Hawthorne and Capt. Allyn Capron

Recommendation: Hawthorne: I have the honor to call your attention to the courageous action of Musician Clancy, Light Battery E, 1st Arty., on Dec. 29, 1890, at the affair at Wounded Knee Creek, under the following circumstances.
A hostile Indian had taken refuge in the Sibley tent used by our scouts and from which he had killed two men and wounded a third. This wounded man lay in a helpless condition near the tent and I was asked by Major Whitside if the men under my charge would bring the wounded man out. This being unexceptionally dangerous duty, at that time, I called for volunteers and Musician Clancy instantly offered himself and assisted in getting the man and carrying him to the hospital. A few minutes after he again volunteered in an attempt to bring in the wounded from the foot of the hill on which the battery stood, a place fully open to the fire of the Indians in the ravine and considered at that particular time an extremely dangerous duty. I consider Musician Clancy’s action on this occasion as exceptionally gallant and particularly praiseworthy, in risking his life to save his wounded comrade. I trust that you may find it in your power to suitably reward him and to enroll his acitons on that trying day among those deeds which have brought such credit to his battery and have assisted to establish its reputation for steadiness under fire and prowess in action.

Capron: Lieut. Hawthorne was probably too sick to render his report before I left the battery, and I now recommend that Clancy be given the full benefit of the source, and be awarded a medal of honor for his conduct in action on December 29, 1890.

Date of Issue: January 23, 1892

Citation: Twice voluntarily rescued wounded comrades under fire of the enemy

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2240 (20181-91). Wounded Knee Creek. S. Dak., December 29, 1890. Twice rescued wounded comrades under fire.
October 27, 1891, Col. E. M. HeyI submits report of Lieut. Hawthorne, citing gallantry.
December 25, 1891. Capt. Capron recommends medal; concurred in by Col. Crofton and Gen. Miles, and Secretary of War Grant awards January 15, 1892.
One medal issued January 23, 1892. (This man musician, Company E, First United States Artillery.)
2240. Clancy, John.


Name: FEASTER, MOSHEIM. Rank: Private. Unit: Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 21

Recommender: Capt. Charles S. Ilsley

Recommendation: I have the honor very respectfully to recommend that a Medal of Honor be awarded to Pvt. Mosheim Feaster, troop E 7 Cavalry for extraordinary gallantry at the battle of Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., Dec. 29, 1890. At the time I was not present with the troop, but was in command of the battalion and from the position which I occupied distance of 600 yards observed this man but could not distinguish him, but have since learned that it was Private Feaster, from others. I enclose herewith affidavits of Sergt. Major McMillan, 7 Cavalry, Sergeant Austin, troop E 7 Cavalry and Corporal Sullivan, troop E 7 Cavalry.

Sergt. Maj. A. W. McMillan deposition: That Private Thomas Sullivan (now Corporal) and Private Mosheim Feaster…, when volunteers were called for to move from the left of our skirmish line and move to an exposed position (about 40yds) distant from the concealed Indians, which would command this pocket to better advantage, did voluntarily and of their own accord move to this position and their bravery at that time called forth the following remark from 1st Lieut H. G. Sickel 7th Cavalry commanding Troop, “men, Sullivan and Feaster have been brave men to-day.” Lieut Sickel was at this time on the skirmish line with his men, although he had no arms but a pistol and about five minutes previous to the remark referred to Private Keller Troop “E” 7th Cavalry, the skirmisher to his right, had been shot by one of the Indians concealed in the above pocket. I was the skirmisher on Lieut Sickel’s left about 5yds distant from him.

Sergt. W. G. Austin deposition: Private Mosheim Feaster… displayed especial courage and conducted himself with exceeding bravery under the following circumstances: that, Troop “E” 7th Cavalry being deployed in skirmish line along the north side of a ravine and endeavoring to drive out of a pocket in the ravine several Indians who were under cover there, and being good shots, were enable by said cover to do great injury to the men attacking them, Private Feaster did of his own accord and voluntarily take an exposed position at the foot of a knoll, rising from the center of the ravine about 75yds distant from the Indians and remained there; and that it is the belief of the despondent that Private Feaster, by holding this position and by his execution saved the lives of several of his comrades.

Corp. Thomas Sullivan deposition: At the Battle of Wounded Knee S.D. Dec. 29th, 1890, he (then Private) and Private Mosheim Feaster… volunteered and of their own accord did take the position referred to by Sergeant Major McMillian… and that the facts as set forth… are correct.

Date of Issue: June 23, 1891

Citation: Extraordinary gallantry

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2265 (7400). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.
Extraordinary gallantry.
Capt. Ilsley, Seventh Cavalry, especially recommends this man for extraordinary gallantry at battle of Wounded Knee.
Approved by Col. Forsythe May 5, 1891; forwarded by Gen. Merritt.
Mentioned in General Order, War Department, December 17, 1891.
Approved by general commanding, June 12, 1891.
One medal issued June 23, 1891.
2205. Feaster, Mosheim


Name: GARLINGTON, ERNEST A. Rank: First Lieutenant. Unit: Troop A, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 37

Recommender: Col. James W. Forsyth

Recommendation: 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.

Original Forsyth brevet recommendation: 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.

Date of Issue: September 26, 1893

Citation: Distinguished gallantry

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2273 (4532). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890. Gallantry in action. For service in detail see attached paper.
A true copy of original recommendation, January 2, 1891, Col. James W. Forsyth, Seventh Cavalry, for brevet as captain. Letter, March 7, 1891, James W. Forsyth, colonel, Seventh Cavalry, reiterates original recommendation and gives more minute detail of incident. Lieut. Hawthorne in original list received a medal of honor October 11, 1892. Gen. Miles in indorsement March 11, 1893, recommends.
Col. Heyl, inspector general, makes report of investigation to ascertain acts of gallantry Wounded Knee.
Assistant Secretary of War Grant, September 20, 1893, awards medal to 2273 for distinguished gallantry at Wounded Knee Creek.
One medal issued September 20, 1893.
2273. Garlington, Ernest A.


Name: GRESHAM, JOHN C. Rank: First Lieutenant. Unit: Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 39

Recommender: Capt. Charles A. Varnum

Recommendation: I have the honor respectfully to invite the attention of the Regimental Commander to the conduct of 1st Lieut. J. C. Gresham, of my Troop, (B) 7th Cavalry, while in action with hostile Sioux Indians, Dec. 29th, 1890.
The Colonel Commanding will recall that I was ordered with twenty men of my Troop to go up the ravine on the south of the Indian village, from the pockets of which concealed Indians were firing on and hitting and wounding our men, and clear it of the enemy. Lieut. Gresham accompanied me. The ravine was deep, with cut banks, very crooked, and afforded excellent cover for concealed enemies. It was strewn with dead and wounded Indians, many of whom were able to use their arms, though unable to get away. It was necessary to hold and control both banks of the ravine and also send a party up the bottom to scout and examine the net work of corners and angles and bring out the women and children, if such were found. This duty was extremely difficult and dangerous–especially as it was impossible to distinguish the dead, wounded and nests of women and children, the one from the other, and what might appear to be women might prove to be a formidable and desperate enemy. Lieut. Gresham asked to be allowed to lead the party up this bottom. He worked carefully, patiently and coolly, up the ravine, searching among the dead and wounded, brought out Nineteen women and children, disarmed some wounded men, was always in the lead himself, and continued to advance until orders were received from the Regimental Commander to withdraw. He was cool and deliberate as though there was nothing to fear, although in addition to the dangers already mentioned was the constant danger of suddenly running into those who were still unhurt and who had been firing on the Troops at every opportunity.
I think Lieut. Gresham worthy of recognition for his gallant conduct on this occasion.
Again on December 30th, 1890, when the Troop formed part of a dismounted skirmish line in action in the Valley of White Clay Creek, S. D. The position was for a while an important one, covering the withdrawal of other troops, and holding the crest of a ridge.
Orders for our withdrawal had been given and the movement commenced, when a heavy fire opened on our line while falling back, which threatened for the moment to demoralize it. Orders were given to at once retake and hold the crest. Lieut. Gresham ran among the men, catching hold of three, and by word and example urged them back. The line was re-occupied, but not until our fire had silenced that of the Indians did Lieut. Gresham leave his erect position on the crest of the ridge. This was done under a heavy fire and the act was, I think, well worthy of the notice of the Regimental Commander.

Original Forsyth brevet recommendation: 1st Lieut. J. C. Gresham, 7th Cavalry, for coolness and gallantry while in charge of a detachment of Troop “B” 7th Cavalry displacing certain hostile Indians from a ravine at the battle of Wounded Knee, S. D. Dec. 29, 1890.

Maj. Whitside testimony: I observed Lieut. Gresham, 7th Cavy. He was under a heavy fire giving orders to his men and acting in the coolest manner: I regarded his conduct superb.

Capt. Nowlan testimony: Lieut. Gresham rendered me a great deal of assistance while on the line. He was exposed to a very severe fire during the whole time, and acted in a very gallant manner.

Capt. Varnum testimony: I saw Lt. Gresham, 7th Cavy, go into the ravine (at Wounded Knee) among the wounded Indians, with a pistol in his hand, disarming the dead and wounded Indians. I consider his conduct under the circumstances conspicuous and gallant, as he was liable to be shot at any moment by one of the wounded Indians. Lieut. Gresham also displayed coolness and gallantry at the Mission fight, Dec. 30, 1890.

Date of Issue: March 26, 1895

Citation: Voluntarily led a party into a ravine to dislodge Sioux Indians concealed therein. He was wounded during this action

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Notes for the review of this case were not included in the United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, Volume 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919).


Name: HAMILTON, MATHEW H. Rank: Private. Unit: Troop G, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 25

Recommender: Capt. Charles S. Ilsley

Recommendation: 1st endorsement: I have the honor to recommend Private Matthew H. Hamilton of my Troop for a Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery in rounding up and bringing to the skirmish line a stampeded pack mule, loaded with carbine ammunition and several frightened horses. This [illegible] at the Battle of Wounded Knee S.D., December 29th 1890.

2nd endorsement: I thought I stated the circumstances of this service with sufficient clearness in this communication, but will enter more into detail with the assurance that the Major General commanding the Army will agree with me that Private Hamilton deserves the honorable distinction for which he has been recommended. At the time the firing at Wounded Knee commenced, my Troop was mounted and near the Indians. I immediately dismounted it and ordered the horses to be taken to the ravine close by, for cover.
Bullets whistled over our heads, two horses were hit and they were all more or less frightened. The pack mule carrying extra ammunition and several of the horses stampeded and ran away in the direction in which the bullets were flying.
Private Hamilton who had remained mounted, being in charge of the pack mule, immediately dashed after them and, by good horsemanship and nerve, succeeded in bringing the mule to my dismounted line and afterwards in bringing in the stampeded horses.
He did a similar thing the next day [at the Drexel Mission fight along the White Clay Creek], bringing much needed ammunition to the firing line and distributing it with much coolness and bravery. I believe that his conduct and the example he set the rest of the men of the Troop, entitle him to the Medal of Honor asked for.

Date of Issue: May 25, 1891

Citation: Bravery in action

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Notes for the review of this case were not included in the United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, Volume 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919).


Name: HARTZOG, JOSHUA B. Rank: Private. Unit: Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 20

Recommender: Capt. Allyn Capron

Recommendation: Private Hartzog of Corporal Weinert’s gun detachment, when Lieut. Hawthorne fell severly wounded, picked him up, carried him out of range of the hostile guns and then returned to his duties.

Date of Issue: March 24, 1891

Citation: Went to the rescue of the commanding officer who had fallen severely wounded, picked him up, and carried him out of range of the hostile guns

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2473 (2226). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890. Gallantry in action.
Capt. Alan Capron, First Artillery, January 2, 1891, recommends 2473 and 2300 for medal of honor.
Forsythe, colonel Seventh Cavalry, in indorsement, January 3, 1891, approves.
Gen. John A. Brooke, February 11, 1891, approves.
Recommended by Gen. Miles, February 13, 1891.
Approved as recommended, March 21, 1891, by Secretary of War.
Two medals issued March 24, 1891.
2473. Weinert, Paul H. (2226).
2300. Hartzog, Joshua B.


Name: HAWTHORNE, HARRY L. Rank: Second Lieutenant. Unit: Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery (Attached)

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 31

Recommender: Capt. Allyn Capron

Recommendation: I have the honor to invite your attention to the bravery displayed by 2nd Lieutenant Harry L. Hawthrone 2nd Artillery in the engagement December 29th, 1890, with hostile indians on Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, during the engagement Lieut. Hawthorne had command of a platoon of my Battery, Light Battery “E” 1st Artillery, consisting of two Hotchkiss Mountain Howitzers which he served with great coolness and effect. A party of Indians had taken possession of a ravine from which cover they had wounded and killed a number of our men; when Lieut. Hawthorne gallantly moved one of his pieces forward by hand to within three hundred yards of the place where the hostiles were concealed and while coolly and gallantly commanding his piece was shot and severely wounded. I cannot speak too highly of the good judgement, coolness and bravery displayed by this officer, again on the same day when the indians first broke and the troops were mixed up promiscuously with the indians, although the guns of the battery were trained upon the indian encampment, with the lanyards in the gunners hands ready to fire, Lieut. Hawthorne stood by his guns and by his coolness at the most critical moment restrained his men from firing until the troops had separated themselves from the hostiles. If the gunners in the excitement of the moment had fired their pieces when the indians first broke, the fire would have been most deadly to our men. In consideration of the above facts which can be confirmed by other witnesses than myself I most respectfully recommend him for the brevets of 1st Lieutenant and Captain.

Lieut. Rice testimony: Lieut. Hawthorne, 2nd Artillery, when wounded, refused to allow his men to take him off the field, but urged them to work the gun.

Date of Issue: October 11, 1892

Citation: Distinguished conduct in battle with hostile Indians

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2302 (37284). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890. Gallantry In action.
January 1, 1891, letter of Allen Capron, captain commanding, Light Battery E, submits report of engagement of December 29, 1890, with hostile Indians on Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak.; recommends 2302 for brevet of first lieutenant or captain.
August 6, 1892, Capt. Capron, First Artillery, recommends 2302 for medal.
Description of wound by Capt. Charles B. Ewing, assistant surgeon; gives extract from paper read before Association of Military Surgeons.
Indorsement September 28, 1892. Gen. Schofield recommends award medal of honor for “distinguished conduct in battle with hostile Indians at Wounded Knee Creek. S. Dak., December 29, 1890.”
September 29, 1892, Acting Secretary of War awards medal for “distinguished conduct in action with hostile Indians at Wounded Knee Creek. S. Dak., December 29, 1890, while serving as second lieutenant, Fourth Artillery.”
One medal issued October 11, 1892.
2302. Hawthorne, Harry L.


Name: HILLOCK, MARVIN C. Rank: Private. Unit: Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 23

Recommender: Capt. Charles A. Varnum

Recommendation: 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.

Date of Issue: April 16, 1891

Citation: Distinguished bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2305 (3997). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.
Distinguished bravery.
March 17, 1891, Charles H. Varnum, Troop B, Seventh Cavalry, recommends specifically; approved by adjutant in absence of regimental commander; forwarded by Merritt, March 21, 1891.
Extract by Adjutant General gives military record both cases.
Department commander makes no remarks.
Both cases granted on recommendation of Gen. Schofield.
Mentioned in General Order 100, War Department, December 17, 1891.
Two medals issued April 16, 1891.
2305. Hillock, Marvin C.
2469. Ward, James.


Name: HOBDAY, GEORGE. Rank: Private. Unit: Troop A, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 51

Recommender: Capt. Myles Moylan

Recommendation: 1st endorsement: Private Hobday’s conduct in the action was gallant in the extreme and was noticed by several officers of the regiment.

2nd endorsement: Private Hobday left his work as cook when the fight opened, seized his carbine and rushed into the thickest part of the action; his conduct was so conspicuous that my attention was attracted to him personally. This man exposed himself so much that I expected to see him shot down every moment. Private Hobday is a cool and gallant soldier and deserves to be rewarded.

Date of Issue: June 23, 1891

Citation: Conspicuous and gallant conduct in battle

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Notes for the review of this case were not included in the United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, Volume 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919).


Name: JETTER, BERNHARD. Rank: Sergeant. Unit: Troop K, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Sioux campaign, December 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 28

Recommender: Capt. Luther Hare

Recommendation: I have the honor to request that the attention of the Colonel of our Regiment be invited to the following acts of special bravery displayed by Sergeant Bernard Jetter, Troop K 7th Cavalry, during the recent trouble with the Sioux Indians in South Dakota.
The particular care of Lieut. James D. Mann by Sergeant Jetter at the “Mission Fight,” December 30, 1890, as witnessed by Lieut. Rice, and also his bravery at the Wounded Knee fight, Dec. 29, ‘90 where he killed an Indian who was in the act of killing a wounded man of B Troop, 7th Cavalry and took from the Indain his pistol and turned it over to Lieut. Mann, whose revolver was empty and who had asked for ammunition, the above facts being related to me by Lieut. Mann before his death.
I recommend that Sergeant Bernard Jetter be given a Medal.

Date of Issue: April 24, 1891

Citation: Distinguished bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2320 (3985). Sioux campaign, December, 1890. Distinguished bravery.
Commanding officer Troop K, Seventh Cavalry, L. R. Hare, specifically recommends this man.
Gen. Merritt recommends as a specially deserving case, March 21, 1891.
Gen. Schofield recommends, April 4, 1891.
Mentioned General Order 100, War Department, December 17, 1891.
One medal issued April 24, 1891.
2320. Jetter, Bernhard.


Name: LOYD, GEORGE. Rank: Sergeant. Unit: Troop I, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 47

Recommender: Capt. Henry J. Nowlan

Recommendation: I have the honor to recommend that a Medal of Honor be awarded the following named enlisted man for distinguished conduct during the battle of Wounded Knee, S. Dakota on the 29th day of December 1890, viz: Sergeant George Loyd, Troop I 7th Cavalry.
This soldier distinguished himself under my personal observation by his zeal & attention to duty & the courage he displayed during that action after having been severely wounded by a shot through the lung.

Date of Issue: April 16, 1891

Citation: Bravery, especially after having been severely wounded through the lung

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2344 (3850-91). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.
Bravery, especially after having been severely wounded through lung.
March 15, 1891. I Troop Commander Seventh Cavalry Capt. H. J. Nowlan recommends medal; approved March 15, 1891. by Adjt. McCormick for regimental commander, and March 17, 1891, by Gen. Merritt.
On Gen. Schofield’s approval March 27, 1891, Acting Secretary Grant awards.
One medal issued April 10, 1891.
2344. Loyd, George.


Name: MCMILLAN, ALBERT W. Rank: Sergeant. Unit: Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 28

Recommender: Lieut. Horatio G. Sickel and Lieut. Sedgwick Rice

Recommendation: The Troop being engaged, dismounted, with Indians concealed in a ravine, Tritle and Sullivan attracted attention by their endeavors to drive the Indians from their position, it being necessary to expose themselves for this purpose to a close fire from the ravine. Tritle received a slight wound in right hand, but continued in his efforts to dislodge the Indians until disabled by a severe wound in right shoulder. While still in the field the troop comdr. took occasion to refer to the excellent conduct of Pvt. Sullivan.
McMillan and Austin were conspicuously brave, frequently exposing themselves to close fire from the ravine in order to obtain an advantage over the concealed Indians, and rendered much assistance in placing the men in good positions and, encouraging them by good example.

Date of Issue: June 23, 1891

Citation: While engaged with Indians concealed in a ravine, he assisted the men on the skirmish line, directed their fire, encouraged them by example, and used every effort to dislodge the enemy

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Cases Nos. 2209, 2364 (7343, 7356-91). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890. While Indians were concealed in ravine, directed fire from skirmish line and assisted in effort to dislodge them.
April 17, 1891, recommended by H. D. Sickle, first lieutenant, Seventh Cavalry.
May 4, 1891, troop commander earnestly recommends; approved May 5, 1891, by Forsyth; forwarded by Gen. Merritt; no recommendation.
April 18, 1891, letter of Second Lieut. Rice to Adjutant General.
General Order 100. W. D., December 17, 1891, gives specially meritorious acts of officers and enlisted men for the year 1890.
One medal issued June 27, 1891 (2209).
One medal Issued June 23, 1891 (2364).
2209. Austin, William G.
2364. McMillan, Albert W.


Name: NEDER, ADAM. Rank: Corporal. Unit: Troop A, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Sioux campaign, December 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 25

Recommender: Capt. Myles Moylan

Recommendation: I have the honor to recommend that a Medal of Honor be granted Corporal Adam Neder, Troop A 7th Cavalry for gallantry in the Battle of Wounded Knee, S. D., December 29, 1890. Corporal Neder was wounded while fighting gallantly on the skirmish line.

Date of Issue: April 25, 1891

Citation: Distinguished bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2388 (4011). Sioux Campaign, December, 1890. Distinguished bravery.
Capt. Moylan, commanding Troop A, Seventh Cavalry, recommends for medal of honor; approved by adjutant in absence of regimental commander; approved by Gen. Merritt, March 31, and Gen. Schofield, April 7, 1891.
Mentioned General Order 100. War Department, December 17, 1891.
One medal issued April 25, 1891.
2388. Neder, Adam.


Name: NOLAN, RICHARD J. Rank: Farrier. Unit: Troop I, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 30, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 42

Recommender: Capt. Henry J. Nowlan

Recommendation: I have the honor to recommend that a Medal of Honor be awarded to the following named enlisted man for distinguished conduct during the action on White Clay Creek near the Drexel Mission, S. Dakota on the 30th day of December 1890, viz: Farrier Richard J. Nolan, Troop I 7th Cavalry. This soldier distinguished himself under my personal observation by the coolness and courage he displayed throughout that action, in which he was seriously wounded.

Date of Issue: April 1, 1891

Citation: Bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2392 (3557). White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 30, 1890. Bravery.
Nowlan, commander I Troop, Seventh Cavalry, recommends this man; approved by Col. Forsyth, March 6, and Gen. Merritt. March 9, 1891.
Adjutant General, for major general commanding, recommends medal.
One medal issued April 1, 1891.
2392. Nolan, Richard J.


Name: RAGNAR, THEODORE. Rank: First Sergeant. Unit: Troop K, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 30, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 34

Recommender: Capt. Luther Hare

Recommendation: I have the honor to request that the attention of the Colonel of our Regiment be invited to the following act of special bravery displayed by 1st Sergeant Theodore Ragnar, Troop K 7th Cavalry, during the recent trouble with Sioux Indians in South Dakota.
(“For his coolness and bravery in holding his ground at the ‘Mission Fight’ December 30, 1890 and especially his cool behavior after being wounded at the ‘Mission Fight,’ which was only discovered by direct questions on the part of his comrade (Sergt. Jetter). Commissioned Officer testimony not obtainable as all the Commissioned strength was killed or wounded.”)
I recommend that 1st Sergeant Theodore Ragnar be given a Medal.

Date of Issue: April 13, 1891

Citation: Bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2405 (3804). White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 30, 1890. Bravery.
March 11, 3891, L. R. Hare, commander Troop K, Seventh Cavalry, recommends this man.
Affidavit First Lieut. Jetter, Troop K, dated March 13, 1891.
Certificate by Hare March 13, 1891.
Application approved by Col. Forsyth; approved by Gen. Merritt March 16, 1891; approved by Schofield, and Acting Secretary of War awards medal March 30, 1891.
Mentioned in General Order 100, War Department, December 17, 1891.
One medal issued April 13, 1891.
2405. Ragnar, Theodore


Name: SULLIVAN, THOMAS. Rank: Private. Unit: Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 31

Recommender: Lieut. Horatio G. Sickel and Lieut. Sedgwick Rice

Recommendation: While Troop “E” (dismounted) was engaged with Indians concealed in a ravine, Corporal (then private) Sullivan, acting with Sergt. Tritle, attracted my attention by his endeavors to drive the Indians from their position. Corpl. Sullivan acted with great coolness, advancing almost to the edge of the ravine, drawing upon himself and companion the hostile fire. Throughout the engagement he was conspicuous by his bravery, and I took occasion, while still on the field, to refer to his excellent conduct.

Sergt. Maj. A. W. McMillan deposition: That Private Thomas Sullivan (now Corporal) and Private Mosheim Feaster, Troop “E” 7th Cavalry, when volunteers were called for to move from the left of our skirmish line and move to an exposed position (about 40yds) distant from the concealed Indians) which would command this pocket to better advantage, did voluntarily and of their own accord move to this position and their bravery at that time called forth the following remark from 1st Lieut H. G. Sickel 7th Cavalry commanding Troop, “men, Sullivan and Feaster have been brave men to-day.” Lieut Sickel was at this time on the skirmish line with his men, although he had no arms but a pistol and about five minutes previous to the remark referred to Private Keller Troop “E” 7th Cavalry, the skirmisher to his right had been shot by one of the Indians concealed in the above pocket. I was the skirmisher on Lieut Sickel’s left about 5yds distant from him.

Date of Issue: December 17, 1891

Citation: Conspicuous bravery in action against Indians concealed in a ravine

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Notes for the review of this case were not included in the United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, Volume 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919).


Name: TOY, FREDERICK E. Rank: First Sergeant. Unit: Troop C, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 25

Recommender: Capt. Winfield S. Edgerly

Recommendation: 1st endorsement: I have the honor to recommend 1st Sergeant Frederick E. Toy, of my troop, for a Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery and coolness displayed while shooting hostile Indians in the battle of Wounded Knee, S. D., December 29, 1890.

2nd endorsement: The words “while shooting hostile Indians” in this communication were used by me advisedly and constitute the specific acts for which I recommended 1st Sergeant Toy. The fight was unexpected and I saw the sergeant deliberately aim at and hit two Indians who had run into the ravine; his coolness and bravery exciting my admiration at the time. I don’t believe in conferring medals indiscriminately, and for ordinary bravery; if I did, I would recommend about forty men of my troop for their splendid conduct on 29th & 30th of December, 1890, but I believe that 1st Sergeant Toy deserves the honor for which I recommended him.

Date of Issue: May 26, 1891

Citation: Bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2460 (3995). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.
Bravery.
March 18, 1891, Capt. Edgerly, Seventh Cavalry, specifically recommends this man for medal of honor; approved by adjutant Seventh Cavalry in absence of regimental commander.
April 18, 1891, Capt. Edgerly, in indorsement, gives specific act.
May 5, 1891, Col. Forsythe approves; forwarded by Gen. Merritt; approved by Gen. Schofield May 12, 1891.
Mentioned General order 100. War Department, December 17, 1891.
One medal issued May 26, 1891.
2460. Toy, Frederick E.


Name: TRAUTMAN, JACOB. Rank: First Sergeant. Unit: Troop I, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 50

Recommender: Capt. Henry J. Nowlan

Recommendation: This soldier distinguished himself under my personal observation by the coolness and courage he displayed throughout that action and especially by his conduct in killing a hostile Indian, at close quarters, who would have, probably, killed others of my command had not this soldier, by his coolness, courage and watchfullness, shot him down.
1st Sergeant Trautman reenlisted January 4th, 1891, in the field at Pine Ridge Indian Agency, although he had over 27 years service at that time and could have been placed on the Retired List had he so desired, but he preferred to remain in service until the campaign he was then on had ended. He has served over ten (10) years as 1st Sergeant of my Troop.

Date of Issue: March 27, 1891

Citation: Killed a hostile Indian at close quarters, and, although entitled to retirement from service, remained to the close of the campaign.

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 963 (3400 PRD). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29 1890. Killed hostile Indian close quarters; entitled to retirement from service, remained until close of campaign.
Capt. H. J. Nolan specifically recommends this man for medal of honor; regimental commander approves recommendation; approved by Gen. Merritt February 28, 1891.
Mentioned General Order 100. War Department, December 17, 1891.
One medal issued March 27, 1891.
963. Trautman, Jacob.


Name: VARNUM, CHARLES A. Rank: Captain. Unit: Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 30, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 41

Recommender: Capt. John C. Gresham

Recommendation: I certify that on December 30th, 1890, in action with Sioux Indians on White Clay Creek, S. D., Captain Charles A. Varnum, 7th Cavalry, did a work of great importance in a manner of uncommon gallantry.
For some time the command of General (then Colonel) James W. Forsyth had been retiring before a superior force, who were so bold and persistent that the only safety lay in withdrawing by detachments. Such was the nature of the country that great loss if not massacre might have fallen on the Seventh Cavalry, had this plan been conducted less skillfully.
At the moment Captain Varnum distinguished himself, the following were the conditions: The fire of “B” and Part of “E” Troops under his direction sweeps effectually ground whose hostile occupation must be disastrous to “G” Troop which according to plan is duly retiring under command of Captain W. S. Edgerly. Lieut. J. D. Mann of Varnum’s line has just been wounded. Closely pressed in spite of the efficient fire just mentioned, Edgerly has lost several men, and to come abreast of Varnum must still measure several hundred yards.
The latter now receives an order to withdraw; and for reasons I have never understood, unless it be the men heard the order when given by the Adjutant, the whole line starts hastily to the rear. Varnum, who, doubtless for better view, has constantly remained in dangerous prominence on horseback, orders the crest to be instantly occupied, rides among the men, who seem somewhat panicky, rebukes or encourages them, and with the assistance of his officers soon restores order and regains the position.
His officers were Lieut. Sedgwick Rice, and myself.
On learning the circumstances a little later, Edgerly and his Lieutenant, now Captain E. P. Brewer, warmly acknowledged the debt they owed for themselves and their men to the judgment and gallantry of Varnum.
The conduct of the latter, in my opinion, evinced not only military ability of a high order but also prompt resolution and bravery that are quite exceptional and entitle him fully to a medal of honor.
As an eyewitness of the events I ask that a medal be awarded to Captain Varnum. It may be proper to state that I have written this paper without suggestion from Captain Varnum or any of the officers whose names are given, and who will doubtless be called as witnesses.
Maj. Whitside testimony: Capt. Varnum at the time of the opening of the fire from the Indians at Wounded Knee, was within six feet of me, searching the Indians for arms. After the firing commenced it was a sort of hand to hand fight. I consider Capt. Varnum’s conduct at that time both gallant and conspicuous. [Note: Capt. Varnum was later awarded a Silver Citation to be worn on his Indain Wars Campaign Medal for actions at Wounded Knee]
Capt. Moylan testimony: At Drexel Mission, Capt. Varnum brought his men back on the line; he was cool and brave.
Lieut. Nicholson testimony: I saw Capt. Varnum at Drexel Mission, Dec. 30, ‘90. He had a small detachment of men at the crest of a hill, and was subject to a very annoying fire on his flank from the Indians. Some of the men (recruits) showed a disposition to seek a place a little in rear. Capt. Varnum rushed to the front of the line and ahead of the men and told them they must hold that position at all odds, and stood up in front while the men rallied upon him again, and held the position.

Lieut. Brewer testimony: I noticed Capt. Varnum walking up and down the skirmish line, bareheaded and under a hot fire…. I think that Capt. Varnum‘ s conduct was conspicuous.

Lieut. Rice testimony: At Drexel Mission, in the second position occupied by the first battalion, I was ordered with 20 men of E Troop, to support Capt. Varnum…. An order came to withdraw the line from this position. Capt. Moylan withdrew his troop. Capt. Varnum commenced to retreat when an assault was made on our line and he found it necessary to retake the former position. Capt. Varnum and Lt. Gresham both sprang forward, leading and cheering their men under a heavy fire from the Indians retaking the position and driving the Indians back. I thought at the time their conduct was particularly gallant and that they were conspicuous in their bravery.

Date of Issue: September 22, 1897

Citation: While executing an order to withdraw, seeing that a continuance of the movement would expose another troop of his regiment to being cut off and surrounded, he disregarded orders to retire, placed himself in front of his men, led a charge upon the advancing Indians, regained a commanding position that had just been vacated, and thus insured a safe withdrawal of both detachments without further loss.

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2462 (58757). White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 30, 1890. Most distinguished gallantry in action.
July 6, 1897, J. C. Gresham, captain, Seventh Cavalry, forwards certificate.
Extract report February 14, 1891, Col. Forsyth.
Letter Lieut. Sedgwick Rice, Seventh Cavalry, July 26, 1897.
Secretary Alger, September 14, 1897, by direction of President, presents medal.
One medal issued September 22, 1897.
2462. Varnum, Charles A.


Name: WARD, JAMES. Rank: Sergeant. Unit: Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 36

Recommender: Capt. Charles A. Varnum

Recommendation: Sergeant James Ward, at Wounded Knee Creek, S. D., Dec. 29th, 1890, with Big Foot’s band of hostile Sioux Indians. Sergeant Ward was assisting me in taking arms and ammunition from the Indians and when the Indians drew their rifles and commenced firing he was between the armed and those without guns. These latter drew their knives and one assaulted Sergeant Ward. The sergeant was knocked down and stabbed several times in the shoulder but continued to struggle and getting his feet under the body of the Indian threw him off when he (the Indian) was killed by Corporal Capron. It was a fearful hand to hand struggle. The sergeant could not use his carbine and was unable to draw his revolver and defend himself from the Indian knife at the same time, and his gallantry on this occasion I think worthy the medal asked for.

Date of Issue: April 16, 1891

Citation: Continued to flght after being severely wounded

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2305 (3997). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.
Distinguished bravery.
March 17, 1891, Charles H. Varnum, Troop B, Seventh Cavalry, recommends specifically; approved by adjutant in absence of regimental commander; forwarded by Merritt, March 21, 1891.
Extract by Adjutant General gives military record both cases.
Department commander makes no remarks.
Both cases granted on recommendation of Gen. Schofield.
Mentioned in General Order 100, War Department, December 17, 1891.
Two medals issued April 16, 1891.
2305. Hillock, Marvin C.
2469. Ward, James.


Name: WEINERT, PAUL H. Rank: Corporal. Unit: Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 21

Recommender: Capt. Allyn Capron

Recommendation: Corporal Paul H. Weinert was acting as Chief of section and gunner of a mountain Howitzer which by direction of his immediate commanding officer 2nd Lieut. Harry L. Hawthorne 2nd Artillery was moved forward by hand to within three hundred yards of a position in a ravine occupied by several hostile indians from which they had killed and wounded several of our men, after Lieut. Hawthorne fell severly wounded, Corporal Weinert continued to gallantly serve his gun, and after each fire moved it forward by hand to obtain a new position from which he could better shell the indians out, he continued his work coolly and gallantly until I directed him to withdraw his piece.

Date of Issue: March 24, 1891

Citation: Taking the place of his commanding of ficer who had fallen severely wounded, he gallantly served his piece, after each fire advancing it to a better position

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2473 (2226). Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890. Gallantry in action.
Capt. Alan Capron, First Artillery, January 2, 1891, recommends 2473 and 2300 for medal of honor.
Forsythe, colonel Seventh Cavalry, in indorsement, January 3, 1891, approves.
Gen. John A. Brooke, February 11, 1891, approves.
Recommended by Gen. Miles, February 13, 1891.
Approved as recommended, March 21, 1891, by Secretary of War.
Two medals issued March 24, 1891.
2473. Weinert, Paul H. (2226).
2300. Hartzog, Joshua B.


Name: ZIEGNER, HERMANN. Rank: Private. Unit: Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry

Place and Date of Action: Wounded Knee Creek, and White Clay Creek, S. Dak 29-30 December 1890.

Age at Date of Action: 26

Recommender: Lieut. Sedgwick Rice

Recommendation: Above is corroborated by 2d Lieut. Rice, 7th Cavalry, who also recommends Tritle for a certificate of merit, in addition to a medal of honor, and requests that a medal be granted to another man, Private Hermann Ziegner, same company, not mentioned by Lt. Sickel; says Ziegner distinguished himself by exposing himself to the fire of the Indians and volunteering to go to the support of Capt. Varnum, and there again attracting attention by his coolness and gallantry. These recommendations of Lieut. Rice are approved by the troop commander.

Date of Issue: June 23, 1891

Citation: Conspicuous bravery

1916-1917 Medal Review Notes: Case No. 2494 (7384 PRD). Wounded Knee Creek and White Clay Creek, S. Dak., December 29-30, 1890. Conspicuous bravery.
April 18, 1891, Second Lieut. Rice specifically recommends for medal of honor.
Troop commander earnestly recommends; approved by Col Forsythe; forwarded by Gen. Merritt; approved June 12, 1891, by Schofield.
Mentioned General Order 100. War Department, December 17, 1891.
One medal issued June 23, 1891.
2494. Ziegner, Hermann.


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Endnotes:

[1] Adjutant General’s Office, “General Orders No. 25, Headquarters of the Army, March 11, 1890” (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891), 1.
[2] Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor, Principal Record Division (PRD), file 3466, Record Group (RG): 94, Stack area (SA): 8W3, Row (R): 7, Compartment (C): 30, Shelf (S): 2.
[3] Adjutant General’s Office, Official Army Register for March 1891 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891), 378-380.
[4] War Department, Regulations for the Army of the United States 1889 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1889), 18.
[5] Adjutant General’s Office, Regulations for the Army of the United States 1895 with Appendix separately indexed, showing changes to January 1, 1899 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899), 245.
[6] Samuel L. Russell, “Gallantry In Action,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2015, http://wp.me/P3NoJy-4N), last updated 9 Nov 2014, accessed date 18 Jul 2019.
[7] Adjutant General’s Office, “General Order No. 100, Headquarters of the Army, December 17, 1891,” General Orders and Circulars – 1891, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 2-9; Adjutant General’s Office, “General Order No. 33, Headquarters of the Army, May 16, 1892,” General Orders and Circulars – 1892, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893), 1.
[8] United States Congress, House Committee on the Judiciary, Wounded Knee Massacre: Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, Second Session, on S. 1147 and S. 2900 to Liquidate the Liability of the United States for the Massacre of Sioux Indian Men, Women, and Children at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, February 5 and 6, 1976, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1976), 1.
[9] Ibid., 40.
[10] Ibid., 42 and 43.
[11] John R. Brooke, Sioux Campaign 1890-91, vols. 1 and 2 (Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1919), 604.
[12] Jacob F. Kent and Frank D. Baldwin, “Report of Investigation into the Battle at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, Fought December 29th 1890,” in Reports and Correspondence Related to the Army Investigations of the Battle at Wounded Knee and to the Sioux Campaign of 1890–1891 (hereafter cited as RIBWKC), the National Archives Microfilm Publications (Washington: The National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1975), Roll 1, Target 3, Jan. 1891, 656 – 662.
[13] John C. Gresham, “The Story of Wounded Knee,” Harper’s Weekly, Vol. XXXV, No. 1781, 106.
[14] “The Fight at Wounded Knee,” Omaha Daily Bee, 6 Jan 1891.
[15] Kent and Baldwin, RIBWKC, 656 – 662.
[16] Samuel M. Whitside, 7th Cavy Camp, Pine Ridge Agency, Jan. 1, 1891, RIBWKC, 822–823.
[17] Kent and Baldwin, RIBWKC, 656 – 662.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Larry D. Roberts, “Battery E, 1st Artillery at Wounded Knee – December, 1890,” South Dakota State University, 6.
[20] Frank D. Baldwin, letter to Adjutant General, Division of the Missouri dated 5 Feb 1891, National Archives Microfilm Publications, RIBWKC, Roll 2 “Sioux Campaign, Jan. – Oct. 1891,” 1075-1076.
[21] Kent and Baldwin, RIBWKC, 679 – 681.
[22 Edwin V. Sumner Jr., Exhibit H to Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger’s “Report of Operations Relative to the Sioux Indians in 1890 and 1891,.” in Report of the Secretary of War; being part of the Message and Documents Communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the beginning of the First Session of the Fifty-Second Congress, vol. 1, by Redfield Proctor (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1892), 223-235.
[23] Kent and Baldwin, RIBWKC, 703 – 707.
[24] Ibid., 672 – 675.
[25] Ibid., 681 – 683.
[26] Ibid., 689 – 692.
[27] Edward M. Heyl, “Headquarters Department of the Missouri, Inspector General’s Office, Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 27, 1891,” from Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor, PRD, file 3466, RG: 94, SA: 8W3, R: 7, C: 30, S: 2, 28 – 29.
[28] Ibid., 5.
[29] Ibid., 23.
[30] Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor file for James Ward, PRD, file 3466, RG: 94, SA: 8W3, R: 7, C: 30, S: 2; C. H. Carlton to Adjutant General’s Office dated 22 April 1891, Source data: The National Archives, PRD, file 6776, RG: 94, SA: 8W3, R: 7, C: 30, S: 3.
[31] Adjutant General’s Office, Certificate of Merit file for John F. Tritle, PRD, file 3466, RG: 94, SA: 8W3, R: 7, C: 30, S: 2.
[32] Selah R. H. Tompkins, letter to Colonel Charles H. Tompkins, Carroll, as quoted by John M. Carroll in The 7th U.S. Cavalry’s Own Colonel Tommy Tompkins: A Military Heritage and Tradition (Mattituck, N. Y.: J. M. Carroll & Company, 1984), 74.
[33] “The Fight at Wounded Knee,” Omaha Daily Bee, 6 Jan 1891.
[34] Secretary of War, “General Staff Corps and Medals of Honor,” United States Congress, 66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19 – November 19, 1919, Senate Documents, vol. 14, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919), 455-456.
[35] Kent and Baldwin, RIBWKC, 692 – 695.
[36] Ibid., 707 – 709.
[37] Ibid., 726 – 728.
[38] Nelson A. Miles, letter to Schofield dated 5 Jan 1891, RIBWKC, 813 – 814.
[39] DeMontravel, Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, 360–361.
[40] University of Washington, “James W. Forsyth Family Papers,” (Seattle: University Libraries, 2011).
[41] Samuel L. Russell, “Selfless Service: The Cavalry Career of Brigadier General Samuel M. Whitside from 1858 to 1902,” Masters Thesis, (Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2002), 146.
[42] Kent and Baldwin, RIBWKC, 748 – 749.
[43] Ibid., 768.
[44] Ibid., 1130 – 1132.
[45] United States Congress House Committee on Indian Affairs, “Sioux Indians Wounded Knee Massacre: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Seventy-Fifth Congress, Third Session on H. R. 2535 To liquidate the liability of the United States for the massacre of Sioux Indian men, women, and children at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, March 7, and May 12, 1938,” (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1938), 1.
[46] Ibid., 7.
[47] Adjutant General’s Office, Medal of Honor, PRD, file 3466, RG: 94, SA: 8W3, R: 7, C: 30, S: 2.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Thomas Foley, At Standing Rock and Wounded Knee: The Journals and Papers of Father Francis M. Craft, 1888-1890 (Norman, OK: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 2009), 318.
[50] Nelson A. Miles, et al., from Secretary of War, “General Staff Corps and Medals of Honor,” 112.
[51] Ibid., 115.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Setting the Record Straight Regarding H. R. 3467 Remove the Stain Act,” Army at Wounded Knee (Carlisle, PA: Russell Martial Research, 2018-2019, https://wp.me/p3NoJy-1GR), posted 3 Aug 2019, accessed date __________.

About Sam Russell

I am a fifth-generation retired Army officer with twenty-nine years of commissioned service. I have been researching the frontier Army for over eighteen years and am interested in documenting the lives of the soldiers that participated in the battle of Wounded Knee using primarily official reports, diaries, letters, newspaper articles and other primary source documents. My interest in Wounded Knee stems from my kinship to one of the principal participants. I am the great-great-grandson of Samuel M. Whitside, who was a major and battalion commander at the battle. I welcome and encourage comments on posts and pages and am always interested in any new primary sources. If you have copies of letters, diaries, etc, from participants and are willing to share, please contact me. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and should in no way be construed as official Army or U.S. Government positons.
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1 Response to Setting the Record Straight Regarding H. R. 3467 Remove the Stain Act

  1. Andrew Joyce says:

    Wounded Knee was nothing but a slaughter of unarmed people. Pure and simple. Should we, as a country, award our highest honor for something like that?

    There was no battle, there was no war. By 1890, the Lakota were a beaten people. The 350 people murdered on that cold December day were “captured” coming in from the badlands where they were out performing a religious ceremony known as the Ghost Dance. They put up no resistance.

    I just want to say that shooting down into a ravine, killing unarmed men, women, and children is murder anyway you look at it. And to say that the medal meant something else at the time doesn’t mean anything to me. No kind of honor should have been given to anyone who participated that massacre. No medals were awarded for My Lai.

    Like

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