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Civilian Scouts Awarded the Medal of Honor

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GALLANTRY IN ACTION

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The Medal of Honor, established by joint resolution of Congress, 12 July 1862 (amended by Act of 9 July 1918 and Act of 25 July 1963) is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his 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 comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of service is exacted and each recommendation for award of this decoration is considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

 

 

The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor

to

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WILLIAM F. CODY~("BUFFALO BILL")

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Rank: Civilian Scout.   Born: Scott County, Iowa.    Organization: 3rd Cavalry U.S. Army.   Action date: 26 April 1872.   Place: Platte River, Nebraska.

CITATION:

Gallantry in action.

In the spring of 1872 a small party of Indians made a dash on McPherson station, about five miles from the fort, killing two or three men and running off quite a large number of horses. Civilian Scout William Cody guided a cavalry detachment in seeking out the responsible party, and upon finding their camp near the Loupe Fork of the Platte River, scouted the emplacement with six soldiers. After finding a small enemy patrol, concerned that they might escape, Cody led the six soldiers in an immediate attack though he was outnumbered two-to-one. The soldiers killed six of the thirteen Indians, the sound of the battle drawing a relief force of cavalry that then put the remainder to flight. For this action which resulted in the destruction of a dangerous party of hostile raiders, William Cody and three soldiers who fought with him in the battle were awarded Medals of Honor for "Gallantry in action." The three cavalrymen cited were: Sergeant John Foley, Private William Strayer, and First Sergeant Leroy Vokes.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Western Frontiersman, Entertainer, Indian Wars Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.. Born in Scott County, Iowa, his family moved to Kansas when he was eight. When his father died in 1857, young Bill rode a mule as a messenger for a freight company. The next year, he dropped out of school, and began making trips west with wagon trains, looking after the livestock and driving a team of horses for the trains. In 1860 to 1861 he rode on the mail route for the short-lived Pony Express Company, carrying mail from San Francisco, California to St. Joseph, Missouri, and back. During the Civil War, William Cody joined a Jayhawk group, fighting the Confederacy via guerilla style raids in the South, and later served as a Union scout. After the war, he started a hotel in Kansas, but soon sold it to start a freight company, which went out of business when the Indians captured his wagons and horses. After doing some railroad construction work, he became a buffalo hunter, supplying buffalo meat to the railroad gangs building the Transcontinental Railroad. It is said that he killed 4,000 buffalo in just 18 months. His skill with a rifle earned him his lifelong nickname "Buffalo Bill." In 1868 to 1872, he served as a civilian scout for the United States Army, during the Indian Campaigns. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1872 for gallantry in action in a battle with Indians on the Platte River, but it was revoked in 1917 because he was not a member of the military at the time the award was made. His family refused to give it back (Medals of Honor are technically the property of the United States Government), and in 1989 his Medal was restored to him. In late 1883, he formed up a "Wild West" Circus to tour the United States and Europe. The show included mock Indian battles and demonstrations of shooting skill, and became one of the widest known and successful entertainment endeavors in the late 19th and early 20 Centuries. After 1894, Cody moved to a ranch in northwestern Wyoming, but died while visiting Denver. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

Birth:   Feb. 26, 1846

Death:   Jan. 10, 1917
Denver
Colorado, USA

Burial: Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum
Golden
Jefferson County
Colorado

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WILLIAM "BILLY" DIXON

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Rank: Scout. Born: 25 October 1850, Ohio County, West Virginia. War: Indian Campaigns. Organization: 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place: Wichita River, Texas. Action date: 12 September 1874. Issue date: 4 November 1874.

CITATION: Gallantry in action.

Buried: Adobe Walls Battlefield Site
Stinnett
Hutchinson County
Texas

On September 12, 1874, the third day of a siege in which a force of more than 100 Indians surrounded and attacked the Lyman Supply Train at the Upper Washita River in Texas, General Nelson Miles sent a detachment of three soldiers and two civilian scouts under Sergeant Zachariah Woodall to deliver a dispatch to Camp Supply. En route the six men were attacked along the Washita River by 125 Indians. William Dixon was one of the expeditions two scouts. Throughout the day the four soldiers and two civilian scouts, after taking shelter in a ravine, continued a valiant resistance while defending their wounded. A band of twenty-five Indians succeeded in scattering the detachment's horses and the men fell back to a small knoll where throughout the day they were attacked from all directions. Without water, the men resisted and were down to 200 rounds of ammunition when night fell. The following day the survivors were recovered by a relief force. 

Along with William Dixon's award, Medals of Honor were awarded to Sergeant Zechariah Woodall, Private Peter Roth, Private John Harrington, Private George Smith (KIA), and fellow Civilian Scout Amos Chapman.

Billy Dixon was one of eight civilians awarded the Medal of Honor. His award was revoked in the review of 1916-17 because of his civilian status, along with those of four other civilian scouts. In June 1989 all five of these awards were restored.

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JAMES B. DOZIER

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Rank: Post Guide during Indian Wars. Place: Holliday Creek, Texas. Little Wichita River. Date: 5 October 1870. Entered service: Fort Richardson, Texas. Born: Warren County, Tennessee, 2 May 1820.  Issue date: 19 November 1870.

CITATION:

Gallantry in action and on the march.

Marauding bands of outlaw Indians threatened stability in Northwestern Texas throughout much of 1870 following an attack on a stage coach in July, and a subsequent battle in which sixty cavalrymen engaged 250 warriors at Wichita River on July 12. In that action the soldiers sustained numerous casualties, and thirteen men earned Medals of Honor. On October 26 Captain Rafferty led twenty-two cavalrymen on an expedition from Fort Richardson to find and defeat this marauding hostile force. Guided by civilian scout James Dozier, on October 4 the soldiers discovered a new trail and followed it to the Little Wichita River where they reached the enemy camp on the morning of October 5. Without hesitation, the cavalrymen attacked the enemy force, surprising a war party. In addition to the Indians killed, wounded, or scattered from the encampment, eighteen horses were captured along with many supplies. Civilian Scout Dozier, who was in large measure responsible for the success of this expedition, was awarded the Medal of Honor, along with five enlisted cavalrymen involved in the action.

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AMOS CHAPMAN

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Rank: Scout (Civilian). Born: 15 May 1839, Kalamazoo, Mich. Organization: 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place: Washita River, Texas. Date: 12 September 1874. Issue date: 4 November 1874.

CITATION:

Gallantry in action.

Buried: Brumfield Cemetery
Seiling
Dewey County
Oklahoma

On September 12, 1874, the third day of a siege in which a force of more than 100 Indians surrounded and attacked the Lyman Supply Train at the Upper Washita River in Texas, General Nelson Miles sent a detachment of three soldiers and two civilian scouts under Sergeant Zachariah Woodall to deliver a dispatch to Camp Supply. En route the six men were attacked along the Washita River by 125 Indians. Amos Chapman was one of the expeditions two scouts. Throughout the day the four soldiers and two civilian scouts, after taking shelter in a ravine, continued a valiant resistance while defending their wounded. A band of twenty-five Indians succeeded in scattering the detachment's horses and the men fell back to a small knoll where throughout the day they were attacked from all directions. Without water, the men resisted and were down to 200 rounds of ammunition when night fell. The following day the survivors were recovered by a relief force. Along with Amos Chapman's award, Medals of Honor were awarded to Sergeant Zechariah Woodall, Private Peter Roth, Private John Harrington, Private George Smith (KIA), and fellow Civilian Scout William Dixon.

Amos Chapman was one of eight civilians awarded the Medal of Honor. His award was revoked in the review of 1916-17 because of his civilian status, along with those of four other civilian scouts. In June 1989 all five of these awards were restored.

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