medals of dis-Honor
by JS Dill
[This piece was updated February 26, 1996 because of material found in the article Medals of Wounded Knee by Gerald Green. Mr. Green's article was published in Nebraska History, Summer 1994 and was obtained by me via the Inter-Library Loan Program.]
Wounded Knee Graphic by Bill Burger It is relatively common knowledge that members of the 7th calvalry were awarded Medals of dis-Honor for their valiant efforts in defense of what has come to be known as the Great American Way. This was discussed in an earlier post entitled "...18 [sic] Medals of dis-Honor." That post was prompted by a current Wasichu proposal to turn the massacre site into a theme "Park." I suggested that, if Wasichu was serious as to making amends for the massacre, the Medals of Honor should be rescinded, trashed, melted down...this as an first-step indicator of Wasichu sincerity.

As an ex-Marine infantryman (1961-1965) with considerable exposure to flying pieces of metal, I must admit that I take the Medal of Honor seriously. Yet, the awards discussed previously, and now herein, were not Medals of Honor, but Medals of dis-Honor.

"The Medal of Honor, established by Joint Resolution of Congress, July 12, 1862 (amended by Acts of Congress, July 9, 1918 and July 25, 1963), is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Forces, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of service is required, and each recommendation for award of this decoration is considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

"Prior to World War I, the 2,625 Army Medal of Honor awards up to that time were reviewed to determine which past awards met new stringent criteria. The Army removed 911 names from the list, most of them former members of a volunteer infantry group during the Civil War who had been induced to extend their enlistments when they were promised the Medal."

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

All specifics as to who received what, and why, came from the reference tome The Congressional Medal of Honor, The Names, The Deeds, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications, 1984, ISBN 0-918495-01-6, Medals of Wounded Knee by Jerry Green, Nebraska History, Summer 1994, and America's Medal of Honor Recipients, Brave and Gallant Men We Should Know and Remember, Highland Publishers, 1980, Golden Valley, Minnesota.

All First Nations/First Peoples annotations [excepting those peculiar to me] came from The Last Days of the Sioux, Robert M. Utley, Yale University Press, 1970, ISBN 0-300-00245-9

The first of all Army Medals of Honor was earned in February 13-14, 1861 by Assistant Surgeon General J.D. Irwin who 'Voluntarily took command of troops and attacked and defeated hostile indians he met on the way." Surgeon Irwin volunteered to go to the rescue of 2nd Lieutenant G.N. Bascom, 7th Infantry, who with 60 men was trapped by the Chiricauha Apaches under Cochise. Irwin and 14 men, not having horses began the 100 mile march riding mules. After fighting and capturing Indians, recovering stolen horses and cattle, he reached Bascom's column and helped break his siege. Note (1.21.95): Since this article was written Grosvenor Pollard has provided new information regarding the above mentioned J. D. Irwin. Sadly, this recipient of the U. S. Army's first Medal of Honor was party to the unjustified hanging of First Nations prisoners:

Mulligan, Raymond A. "Sixteen Days at Apache Pass," _The Kiva_, vol. 24, # 2, Dec. 1958, pp. 1-13.

Sacks, Benjamin H., editor and annotator. "New Evidence on the Bascom Affair," _Arizona and the West_, vol. 4, # 3, Autumn 1962, pp. 261-278. [based on the official reports of Bascom and 1st Lt. Isaiah N. Moore, who reinforced Bascom with troops from Ft. Breckenridge, Arizona Territory]:

Assistant Surgeon Bernard J. D. Irwin had been sent from Fort Buchanan to tend to a wounded soldier and a wounded Butterfield employee holed up with Bascom's command in the stage station in Apache Pass. He and his escort overtook three Coyotero (i.e., Western) Apache warriors driving a herd of 13 stolen cattle and 2 horses on the way and took them prisoner. Thirteen days after arriving at Apache Pass, Bascom and Moore found the bodies of four American hostages Cochise had been holding, hoping to exchange them for the five members of his extended family Bascom was holding: a brother, two nephews, a wife, and his youngest son, Naiche [his great-granddaughter on the Mescalero Rez identified him as the boy held by Bascom]. Irwin declared that he was going to hang his three captives in retaliation and advised Bascom to do the same with his hostages.

Bascom protested until Moore, who outranked him, stated he would take full responsibility. Cochise's wife and son were taken to Fort Buchanan and later released, but Bascom's hanging of his brother and nephews caused the Chiricahua leader to make war on Americans - vowing to kill 10 for every one of his people slain - for the next nine years and seven months. The last Army Medal of Honor awarded in an Indian campaign was granted to Private O. Burchard on October 5, 1898:

"For distinguished bravery in action against hostile Indians for action during the uprising of Chippewa Indians on Leech Lake, northern Minnesota." to Wounded Knee. American Horse set the stage:
"They turned their guns, Hotchkiss guns [breech-loading cannons that fired an explosive shell], etc., upon the women who were in the lodges standing there under a flag of truce, and of course as soon as they were fired upon they fled...There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce [which flew over the Lakota camp], and the women and children of course were strewn all along the circular village until they were dispatched. Right near the flag of truce a mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing, and that especially was a very sad sight. The women as they were fleeing with their babes were killed together, shot right through, and the women who were very heavy with child were also killed...After most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys who were not wounded came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there...Of course it would have been all right if only the men had been killed; we would feel almost grateful for it. But the fact of the killing of the women, and more especially the killing of the young boys and girls who are to go to make up the future strength of the Indian people, is the saddest part of the whole affair and we feel it very sorely."

James Mooney, "The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890," in Fourteenth Annual Report of the United States Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1896) Part Two, p. 877

W.H. Prather, "a colored private of I troop of the 9th calvalry [was inspired to write a ballad] The Indian Ghost Dance and War...It became a favorite among the troops in camp and the scattered frontiersmen of Dakota and Nebraska, being sung to a simple air with vigor and expression and a particularly rousing chorus, and is probably by this time a classic of the barracks":
The Red Skins left their Agency, the Soldiers left their Post,
All on the strength of an Indian tale about the Messiah's ghost
Got up by the savage chieftans to lead their tribes astray;
But Uncles Sam wouldn't have it so, for he ain't built that way.
They swore that this Messiah came to them in visions sleep,
And promised to restore their game and Buffalos a heap,
So they must start a big ghost dance, then all would join their band,
And may be so we lead the way into the great Bad Land.
They claimed the shirt Messiah gave, no bullet could go through,
But when the soldiers fired at them they saw this was not true.
The Medicine man supplied them with their great Messiah's grace,
And he, too, pulled his freight and swore the 7th hard to face.
About their tents the Soldiers stood, awaiting one and all,
That they might hear the trumpet clear when sounding General call
Or Boots and Saddles in a rush, that each and every man
Might mount in haste, ride soon and fast to stop this devilish band
But Generals great like Miles and Brooke don't do things up that way,
For they know an Indian like a book, and let him have his sway
Until they think him far enough and then to John they'll say,
"You have better stop your fooling or we'll bring our guns to play."
They claimed the shirt, etc.
The 9th marched out with splendid cheer the Bad Lands to explo'e-
With Col. Henry at their head they never fear the foe;
So on they rode from Xmas eve 'till dawn of Xmas day;
The Red Skins heard the 9th was near and fled in great dismay;
The 7th is of courage bold both officers and men,
But bad luck seems to follow them and twice has took them in;
They came in contact with Big Foot's warriors in their fierce might
This chief made sure he had a chance of vantage in the fight.
They claimed the shirt, etc.
A fight took place, 'twas hand to hand, unwarned by trumpet call,
While the Sioux were dropping man by man - the 7th killed them all,
And to that regiment be said "Ye noble braves, well, done,
Although you lost some gallant men a glorious fight you've won."
The 8th was there, the sixth rode miles to swell that great command
And waited orders night and day to round up Short Bulls band.
The Infantry marched up in mass the calvalry's support,
And while the latter rounded up, the former held the fort.
They claimed the shirt, etc.
E Battery of the 1st stood by and did their duty well,
For every time the Hotchkiss barked they say a hostile fell.
Some Indian soldiers chipped in too and helped to quell the fray,
And now the campaign's ended and the soldiers marched away.
So all have done their share, you see, whether it was thick or thin
And all helped break the ghost dance up and drive the hostiles in.
The settlers in that region now can breathe with better grace;
They only ask and pray to God to make John hold his base.
They claimed the shirt, etc.

[The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890, Mooney, ISBN 0-486-26759-8]>

The Medals of dis-Honor recipients...a short time after:
"...One woman, Blue Whirlwind, received fourteen wounds but lived. Another woman, maddened by wounds, crawled from the edge of the village. With a butcher knife between her teeth, she made her painful way over a distance of ten yards to where a soldier lay on his back, wounded. She raised the knife over him and, as he screamed, plunged it into his breast. Another soldier, in the square, saw the act and sent a bullet into her head. She dropped next to her victim.
(1) Austin, William G., Sergeant, Company E, 7th calvalry, issued June 27, 1891:
"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."

Entered service at New York, N.Y. Born, Galveston, Tex.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

(2) Clancy, John E., Musician, Company E, First U.S. calvalry, issued January 23, 1892:
His citation stated that he had rescued wounded soldiers, twice. Clancy was courtmartialed eight times during his career, twice between the fight at Wounded Knee and the receipt of his medal.

Entered service at ? Born, New York, N.Y.

Medals of Honor, Green

(3) Feaster, Mosheim, Private, Company E, 7th calvalry, issued June 23, 1891 for
"Extraordinary gallantry."

Entered service at Schellburg, Pa. Born, Schellburg, Pa.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

"...the officer who who recommended him was more than a quarter of a mile away at the time of Feasters's heroic action. However, three affidavits were given atteting to his acts. The three men who signed these statements were friends of Feaster and fellow members of Troop E. These witnesses also received Medals of Honor."

Medals of Honor, Green

(4) Garlington, Ernest A., 1st Lieutenant, 7th calvalry, issued September 26, 1893 for
"Distinguished gallantry."

Entered service at Athens, Ga. Born, 20 February 1853, Newberry, S.C.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

(5) Gresham, John C., 1st Lieutenant, 7th calvalry, issued March 26, 1895 because he
"Voluntarily led a party into a ravine to dislodge Sioux indians concealed therein. He was wounded during the action."

Entered service at Lancaster Courthouse, Va. Born, Virginia.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

"A unsigned, undated letter in Gresham's file states that no records could be found of Gresham's wounds, and curiously, the regimental returns for January 1891 show him "on duty." There is, however, mention elsewhere that during the fighting Gresham 'received an abrasion on the nose from a passing bullet.'

Later in his career Gresham was implicated in a case where funds belonging to a student in his charge were missing. There is no record of the outcome, but he was ordered to retire with in six months after these allegations were made. A medical report tells of his 'outbreaks of fury over trivial matters...[and]...mental depression objectively shown by a permanent expresion of dissatisfaction.'"

Medals of Honor, Green

(6) Hamilton, Mathew H., Private, Company G, 7th calvalry, issued May 5, 1891
for "Bravery in action."

Entered service at ? Born, Ireland.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

...[medal granted for] "conspicuous bravery in rounding up and bringing to the skirmish line a stampeded pack mule...Company G was not in a direct line of fire. Common sense would suggest animals frightened by gunfire would run away from the shooting. It almost seems Hamilton was awarded the Medal of Honor for riding away from the fighting."

Medals of Honor, Green

(7) Hartzog, Joshua B., Private, Company E, 1st Artillery, issued March 24, 1891 because he
"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."

Entered service at ? Born, Paulding County, Ohio

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

"All of the indians opened fire on us. One of my men went for ammunition and didn't come back. ...My captain called to me to come back, but I kept moving nearer the indians, and kept shooting. Lieutenant Hawthorne came toward me and was calling, when suddenly I heard him say: 'Oh, my God!' Looking around, I saw him lying of his side, and then I knew he had been hit. Hartzog ran to him and carried him back behind the hill. .."]

(8) Hawthorne, Harry L., 2nd Lieutenant, 2nd US Artillery, issued 10.11.1892,

"Distinguished conduct in battle with hostile indians."

Entered service in Kentucky. Born, 1860, Minnesota.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

[Hawthorne was responsible for two "Hotchkiss Breech-loading Steel Mountain Rifles, caliber 1.65 inches; length of bore, 24.72 calibers; weight of tube, 116.6 pounds; weight of carriage, 220 pounds; weight of exploding cartridge, 2 pounds 10 ounces; effective range, 4,200 yards."]

[Hawthorne's] "wound was so severe that he was forced to spend several years away from field duty. One of his assignments was as professor of military science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He eventually gave up that post because of teasing he received from the students. This harassment was directed toward the army in general and at Hawthorne in particular...[because] The students believed there had been a massacre at Wounded Knee and blamed Hawthorne and the Army."

Medals of Honor, Green

["...The bursting artillery rounds churned up the earth and caved in banks. ...a Hotchkiss shell punch[ed] a six-inch hole in the middle of a man's stomach. Up and down the ravine the People sang death songs..."An occasional shot came from the teepees. To stop this, the battery raked the Miniconjou camp from one end to the other. Flying shrapnel shredded the lodges and sought out every living thing.]

(9) Hillock, Marvin C., Private, Company B, 7th calvalry , issued April 16, 1891 for

"Distinguished bravery."

Entered service at Lead City, S. Dak. Born, Michigan.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

(10) Hobday, George, Cook, 7th calvalry, Company K, issued for
"Conspicuous and gallant conduct in battle and [because he] was noticed by several officers.

Information from draft copies of his recommendation indicated his primary act of bravey was 'voluntarily leaving his work as a cook.'"

Entered service at ? Born, Pulaski County, IL.

Medals of Honor, Green

(11) Jetter, Bernhard, Sergeant, 7th calvalry, Company A, issued April 4, 1891 for
"Distinguished bravery."

Entered service at ? Born, Germany. Date of issue: 24 April 1891.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

(12) Loyd, George, Sergeant, Company I, 7th calvalry , issued April 16, 1891 for
[Loyd] "was a veteran of the Little Big Horn campaign [and] on his sixth enlistment. Two years, almost to the day [of receipt of his medal], he committed suicide. The only mention in the regimental record is that he died by 'shooting himself through the head.'"

Entered service at ? Born, Ireland.

Medals of Honor, Green

"Bravery, especially after having been severely wounded through the lung."

America's Medal of Honor Recipients, Highland Publishers (13) McMillan, Albert W., Sergeant, Company E., 7th calvalry, issued June 23, 1891 because

"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."

Entered service at Baltimore, Md. Born, Baltimore, Md.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

"He was promoted to sergeant major prior to April 6, 1891. For reasons not found in his records, he was demoted to private before his discharge on September 21, 1892."

Medals of Honor, Green

(14) Neder, Adam, Corporal, Company A, 7th calvalry, issued for
"gallantry in action...One of the citations says Neder was wounded; then that entry is struck through."

Entered service at ? Born, Bavaria.

Medals of Honor, Green

(15) Sullivan, Thomas, Private, Company E., 7th calvalry, issued June 23, 1891 for
"exposing [himself] to the enemy"

Entered service at Newark, N.J. Born, Ireland.

Medals of Honor, Green

(16) Toy, Frederich E., First Sergeant, Company G, 7th calvalry, issued May 26, 1891 for

Entered service at ? Birth, Buffalo, N.Y.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

(17) Trautman, Jacob, First Sergeant, Company I, 7th calvalry, issued March 27,1891 because he
"Killed a hostile indian at close quarters, and, although entitled to retirement from service, remained to the close of the campaign."

Entered service at ? Born, Germany.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

(18) Ward, James, Sergeant, Company B, 7th calvalry, December 29, 1890, award issued April 16, 1891, because he
"continued to fight after being severely wounded."

Entered service at Boston, Mass. Born, Quincy, Mass.

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

"Ward was reported as having been severely wounded, though no other records, medical or otherwise, could be found to support this.

Medals of Honor, Green

(19) Weinert, Paul H., Corporal, Battery E, First U.S. Artillery , award issued for advancing with Hotchkiss gun into ravine in pursuit of women and children... Weinert later commented:
"With his gun less than 300 yards away Weinert's firing inflicted terrible damage, undoubtedly killing and wounding many women and children...Later in the decade Weinert adorned with his Medal of Honor, toured with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show as a member of it's color guard.

"I expected a court martial, but what was my surprise when gruff old Allyn Capron, my captain, came up to me and grasped me by the shoulders and said to the officers and men: 'That's the kind of men I have in my battery.'"

Entered service at Baltimore, Md. Born, Germany.

Medals of Honor, Green

Taking the place of his commanding officer, who had fallen severely wounded, hr galantly served his piece, after fire advancing it [the Hotchkiss gun] to a better position.

America's Medal of Honor Recipients, Highland Publishers

(20) Ziegner, Hermann, Private, Company E, 7th calvalry, Wounded Knee, 1890, issued 6.23.91 for
"conspicuous bravery."

Entered service at ? Born, Germany

The Congressional Medal of Honor, Sharp and Dunnigan Publications

Gallantry, Bravery, Distinguished...

"In 1916 the U.S. Congress required the War Department to review all 2,625 Medals of Honor awarded to that date...In January 1917 the panel concluded its work...[while some medals were recommended for rescindment] None of the medals given for service at Wounded Knee was recinded."

Medals of Honor, Green

the People sang death songs...

(Please visit the Medals of dis-Honor Rescindment site and sign your name to the Petition requesting rescindment of medals granted for the massacre. There is an input form for your convenience.)

Medals of dis-Honor

Wounded Knee...a collection

First Nations

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