Timeline

  • 1865

  • Nov 1869 Ulysses S. Grant elected President

  • New standards applied to earning the Medal

  • Rutherford B. Hayes Elected President

  • 1880

  • James A. Garfield elected President

  • Chester A. Arthur assumes Presidency after the assassination of President Garfield

  • Grover Cleveland elected President

  • 1890

  • The Medal of Honor Legion is established to protect the integrity of the Medal

  • A rosette, or knot, is designed to be worn in lieu of the Medal

  • The Medal’s suspension ribbon is redesigned

  • William McKinley elected President

  • New policies instituted for receiving the Medal of Honor

  • An etiquette guide is published that explains how to treat and wear the Medal





1865-1898: INDIAN WAR CAMPAIGNS

STATE OF THE UNION

  • Confederate states are readmitted to the Union
  • 270,000 Native Americans of various tribes roam free west of the Mississippi
  • Over the next 30 years, the Army relocates the population within the reservation system
  • The Homestead Act of 1862 encourages settlement on land in the American West
  • Construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad is completed in 1869 opening passage to the east and west coasts

423

Citations

28

Average Age

2

Double Recipients

3

Posthumous

The Force

With the surge of settlers moving west, the Army was charged with enforcing U.S. policy across nearly two million square miles of desolate terrain. As regiments and companies of Soldiers spread throughout western posts, they adapted to harsh environments and the demands of unconventional warfare.

 

The western force doubled from 1861-1867


16,422


1861

58,815


1867

26,000*


1876 -1898
*Avg. Soldiers



THE ACTIONS



DUTY

15 CARRYING DISPATCHES

52 SCOUTING

21 SECURING WATER

COMBAT

109 ENGAGEMENTS WITH INDIANS

4 ENGAGING ROBBERS OR DESPERADOES

153 GALLANTRY IN ACTION

PERSERVERANCE

23 RESCUE

49 OTHER - Most frequently for bravery in action



ADAPTING FOR THE FRONTIER


 FRONTIER SOLDIERS WERE PAID $13.00/MONTH


THE CAVALRY: 326 AWARDS 


INDIAN SCOUTS: 18 AWARDS 


BUFFALO SOLDIERS: 16 AWARDS 


Image Caption: Bloody Knife, one of Lt. Col. George A. Custer's scouts with the Seventh Cavalry was killed at the battle of the Little Bighorn. Eighteen Indian Scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions performed during the Indian Campaigns.

NEW GUIDELINES FOR THE MEDAL OF HONOR

When the Medal of Honor was created in 1863, it was intended for enlisted men and officers who "distinguished themselves by their gallantry in action and other soldierlike qualities." No other criteria of guidelines were defined. The result was a period of confusion in which large numbers of Soldiers petitioned to receive the Medal, at times under questionable circumstances or decades after their action had taken place. By 1876 it was clear that a new set of rules governing the receipt of the Medal was needed.

U.S. Army Medals of Honor Awarded for Civil War Actions


 OF THE 1198 MEDALS AWARDED TO CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS, ONLY 367 WERE AWARDED DURING THE CIVIL WAR



CHANGING CRITERIA


The late 1800s were an era of change in Medal History that saw the development of regulations and organizations aiming to preserve the sanctity of this prestigious award. Explore events during this time that caused the criteria for Medal of Honor receipt to be defined.


  • The Battle For Little Big Horn

    The surviving commanders from the Battle of Little BigHorn recommended large numbers of troops for the Medal of Honor.

  • A review board of officers was assembled by
    Colonel S.F. Sturgis to consider the requests.

  • 24 Medals Are Awarded

    A "new standard" was applied, but not written into law, that "the conduct which deserves such recognition should not be the simple discharge of duty, but such acts beyond this that if omitted or refused to be done, should not justify subject the person to censure as a shortcoming or failure."

  • Creation of the Legion of Honor

    The Legion was formed by recipients to protect the Medal’s integrity and lobby for stricter criteria. Its creation triggered an influx in recommendations from Soldiers who served during the Civil War.

  • The Legion pushes for legislature to control the Medal of Honor

  • President McKinley directs the Army to determine stricter guidelines to regulate the Medal of Honor’s receipt.

Secretary of War Russell A. Algier announced a uniform method of
determining Medal of Honor elegibility.
  • Medals could only be awarded for "gallantry and intrepidity" above and beyond that of one's fellow soldiers.
  • Submissions must be made by a person other than the veteran who had performed the heroic deed.
  • Required the testimony, under oath, of one or more eyewitnesses to the heroic deed.
  • Set a time limit of one year for any person to be submitted for the Medal of Honor for an act occuring after 26 June 1897.

THE CAVALRY

The primary role of Soldiers in Indian campaigns was patrol and pursuit. The men of the cavalry were ideal Soldiers for the job, having the capacity to cover large expanses of territory quickly on horseback and keep pace with mounted Indian warriors.



Image Caption: Troop C, 3rd U.S. Cavalry, posing on rocks behind Fort Davis. Photo, circa 1886-1887, courtesy of the National Park Service: Fort Davis National Historic Site.

McCARTHY, MICHAEL


Rank and organization:

First Sergeant, Troop H, 1st U.S. Cavalry

Place and date:

At White Bird Canyon, Idaho, June 1877

Birth:

St. Johns, Newfoundland

Citation:

Was detailed with 6 men to hold a commanding position, and held it with great gallantry until the troops fell back. He then fought his way through the Indians, rejoined a portion of his command, and continued the fight in retreat. He had 2 horses shot from under him, and was captured, but escaped and reported for duty after 3 days' hiding and wandering in the mountains.

INDIAN SCOUTS

Indian Scouts were enlisted Native American trackers, interpreters and guides familiar with the western territory and guerilla style warfare of the native Indians. An Indian Scout’s effectiveness against their own tribe’s traditional enemy was quickly realized and respected by American officers. The 16 Indian Scout medals represent the collective gallantry of more than 750 native warriors against the feuding tribes of the west.


Image Caption: Observation by Soldiers and Indian Scouts before the Battle of Big Dry Wash, July 1882

CO-RUX-TE-CHOD-ISH


Rank and organization:

Sergeant, Pawnee Scouts, U.S. Army

Place and date:

At Republican River, Kans., 8 July 1869

Birth:

Nebraska

Citation:

Ran out from the command in pursuit of a dismounted Indian; was shot down and badly wounded by a bullet from his own command.

BUFFALO SOLDIERS

While the origin of the name is debatable, the 10th Infantry adopted the buffalo as part of their regimental coat of arms and the term “Buffalo Soldiers” became synonymous with all-black units throughout the 1800s.

Image Caption:
Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry, some wearing buffalo robes, Ft. Keogh, Montana, 1890

JOHNSON, HENRY


Rank and organization:

Sergeant, Company D, 9th U.S. Cavalry

Place and date:

At Milk River, Colo., 2-5 October 1879

Birth:

Boynton, Va

Citation:

Voluntarily left fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close range made the rounds of the pits to instruct the guards, fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded.