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African American Soldiers Awarded Medal of Honor

and Honored Patriots from This Era~Spanish-American War 1898

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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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SGT EDWARD LEE BAKER JR. CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and Organization: Sergeant Major, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and Date: At Santiago, Cuba, 1 July 1898.  Birth: Laramie County, Wyo. Date of Issue: 3 July 1902.

CITATION:

Left cover and, under fire, rescued a wounded comrade from drowning.

Birth:   Dec. 28, 1865

Death:  Aug. 26, 1913

Buried: Angelus Rosedale Cemetery
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Sec 3, Lot 130, Grave 2 SE

As the American infantry and cavalry moved into position for the assault on San Juan and Kettle Hills near Santiago, Cuba, Sergeant Major Baker took cover from the enemy fire on the far side of the crossing point known as "Bloody Ford". When Baker's commander, Colonel T.A. Baldwin was knocked from his horse and wounded by enemy fire, Bell ran to rescue him but was ordered back when Baldwin shouted, "I'm alright. Get back and rally the men." Returning to his position, Baker heard screams from the river and turned to see Private Marshall, one of his soldiers, had been wounded and fallen into the river where he was being dragged down by his heavy pack. Ignoring the heavy rain of enemy fire around him, including one shell that passed "so close I could feel the heat", Baker ran to rescue his soldier. Wounded twice in the arm, Baker ignored his pain and continued until he had rescued his soldier from drowning, and pulled him to safety. He then removed Private Marshall for treatment, while ignoring his own wounds to return to the battle.

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PVT. DENNIS BELL CITATION DOCUMENT

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Rank and Organization: Private, Troop H, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and Date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered Service At: Washington, D.C. Birth: Washington, D.C. Date of Issue: 23 June 1899.

CITATION:

Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

Spanish-American War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Served during the War with Spain in the United States Army as a Private in Troop H, 10th United States Cavalry. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery at Tayabacoa, Cuba, on June 30, 1898. His citation reads "Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated". His Medal was awarded on June 23, 1899. He was one of five soldiers from the 10th US, an all-African American regiment, to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Spanish-American War (the others being Sergeant Major Edward L. Baker Jr., Private Fitz Lee, Private William H. Thompkins, and Private George H. Wanton). (bio by: Russ Dodge)

Birth:   Dec. 28, 1866
Washington
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

Death:   Sep. 25, 1953

Buried: Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 31, Lot 349

On June 30, 1898 a recon element was landed at Tayacoba, Cuba. This small element came under heavy fire and tried to return to their transport ships, only to find that enemy fire had destroyed their small landing boats. Surrounded and outnumbered, they were at the mercy of the enemy. Four rescue efforts were mounted, all unsuccessful. When darkness fell, Private Bell and three other members of the 10th US Cavalry volunteered to land in a small boat to attempt a rescue. Despite almost immediate enemy fire, the four soldiers worked their way through the jungle to locate all members still surviving, directing them to the beach and then returning with them to the transport ship.

(Others involved in this action: Fitz Lee, William Thompkins, George Wanton)


 

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PVT. WILLIAM H. THOMPKINS

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Rank and Organization: Private, Troop G, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and Date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered Service At: Paterson, N.J. Birth: Paterson, N.J. Date of Issue: 23 June 1899.

CITATION:

Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

On June 30, 1898 a recon element was landed at Tayacoba, Cuba. This small element came under heavy fire and tried to return to their transport ships, only to find that enemy fire had destroyed their small landing boats. Surrounded and outnumbered, they were at the mercy of the enemy. Four rescue efforts were mounted, all unsuccessful. When darkness fell, Private Thompkins and three other members of the 10th US Cavalry volunteered to land in a small boat to attempt a rescue. Despite almost immediate enemy fire, the four soldiers worked their way through the jungle to locate all members still surviving, directing them to the beach and then returning with them to the transport ship.

(Others involved in this action: Dennis Bell, Fitz Lee, George Wanton)

Birth:   Oct. 3, 1872

Death:  Sep. 24, 1916

Buried: San Francisco National Cemetery
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California

 

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PVT. GEORGE HENRY WANTON

WATSON GEORGE CITATION.jpg
 

Rank and Organization: Private, Troop M, 10th U.S. Cavalry. Place and Date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898. Entered Service At: Paterson, N.J. Birth: Paterson, N.J. Date of Issue: 23 June 1899.

CITATION:

Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

Birth:   May 15, 1868

Death:  Nov. 27, 1940

On June 30, 1898 a recon element was landed at Tayacoba, Cuba. This small element came under heavy fire and tried to return to their transport ships, only to find that enemy fire had destroyed their small landing boats. Surrounded and outnumbered, they were at the mercy of the enemy. Four rescue efforts were mounted, all unsuccessful. When darkness fell, Private Wanton and three other members of the 10th US Cavalry volunteered to land in a small boat to attempt a rescue. Despite almost immediate enemy fire, the four soldiers worked their way through the jungle to locate all members still surviving, directing them to the beach and then returning with them to the transport ship.


(Others involved in this action: Dennis Bell, Fitz Lee, William Thompkins)

Buried: Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 4, Lot 2749

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PVT. FITZ LEE

FITZ LEE CITATION.jpg

Lee, Fitz

Rank and organization: Private, Troop M, 10th U.S. Cavalry.

Place and date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898.

Entered service at: Dinwiddie County, Va. Birth: Dinwiddie County, Va. Date of issue: 23 June 1899. Citation: Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts had been frustrated.

Spanish-American War Medal of Honor Recipient. Private, Troop M, 10th U.S. Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers). Place and Date: At Tayabacoa, Cuba, June 30, 1898. Entered Service at: Dinwiddie County, Va. Date of Issue: June 23, 1899. Citation: "Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts had been frustrated." Aboard the U.S.S. Florida, a call for volunteers to rescue the 16 men was made after several unsuccessful attempts at saving the men had been made by others. Private George Wanton, Private Dennis Bell, Private Fitz Lee and Private William H. Thompkins stepped forward and volunteered for the assignment of recovering the prisoners. Putting ashore in a launch under heavy fire, the men surprised the Spanish forces holding the prisoners in a stockade and secured their release. The men and the prisoners made it safely back to the ship. (bio by: Debbie)

Birth: unknown

Death: Sep. 14, 1899

BURIED: Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery
Fort Leavenworth
Leavenworth County
Kansas, USA
Plot: Section G #3183

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FIREMAN FIRST CLASS ROBERT PENN

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Penn, Robert

Rank and organization: Fireman First Class, U.S. Navy.

Born: 10 October 1872, City Point, Va.

Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 501, 14 December 1898.

Citation: On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de Cuba, 20 July 1898. Performing his duty at the risk of serious scalding at the time of the blowing out of the manhole gasket on board the vessel, Penn haulted the fire while standing on a board thrown across a coal bucket 1 foot above the boiling water which was still blowing from the boiler.

At 7 A.M. on July 20, 1898 the USS Iowa was patrolling near Cuba in support of American forces engaged in the Spanish- American War, when it was rocked by the explosion of a manhole gasket in one of the boilers of fire-room Number 2. The explosion filled the compartment with live steam, and water boiling at 220 degrees covered the floor, seriously injuring one man. In his nearby compartment, Fireman First Class Robert Penn was aroused by the explosion, and rushed into the steam filled room and pulled the injured man to safety. That accomplished, he ignored the continuing danger to return and try to contain the effects of the explosion to prevent further damage to his ship. With several inches of boiling water covering the floor, Penn fashioned a rickety bridge by throwing a plank across some ash buckets held in place by Coppersmith Philip Keefer and another man. He then traversed this unstable bridge over the boiling waters to carry the remaining two fires from the boiler room. 
(Others Involved in this action: Philip Keefer)

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BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

Period: The Indian Campaigns And The Spanish-American War
Booker Taliaferro Washington was born a slave in Hale's Ford, Virginia in the year 1856. His education took him to the Hampton Institute in Virginia where he graduated in 1876. By 1881, he established the now famed TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE in Alabama. Booker Washington realized the mood of America and the Southern social system. He therefore took, according to his knowledge, "a conciliatory policy with respect to civil rights." Self-help, economics, and moral advancement would be his advocacy for African Americans, NOT social integration. At Tuskegee, he built a strong institution with white Southern American support. Tuskegee became the paragon of education for African Americans. Vocational education, frugality, self-reliance, and learning an employable trade for the world of work was the Tuskegee model. Much-needed monies were given to Washington for his funding of progressive educational skills for building an economic and employable base in the African American community. From 1895 until his death in 1915, most funding for African American education passed via the approval of Booker T. Washington.
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GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

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Period: Spanish-American War Through World War II
George Washington Carver was one of America's greatest scientists and botanists. George W. Carver gave his life to farming research. He amazed men in high places with his contributions to mankind dealing with conservation and the creative usage of farm products. George W. Carver was born into slavery but was eventually freed and worked his way through high school. He later graduated from IOWA STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE with a B.S. (1894) and an M.S. (1896). His noted prestige came about from his creation of over 350 products from the peanut, sweet potato, and pecan. Most of his life's research was done as a teacher at the famed TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE in Alabama. Carver is also credited with saving the AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY OF THE SOUTH. He recommended CROP ROTATION to farmers in order to enrich the soil with balanced minerals for future planting. An abundance of honors have been bestowed upon George Washington Carver for his contributions to humanity. TUSKEGEE, ALABAMA is now the home of the CARVER MUSEUM and the CARVER FOUNDATION FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

Birth: 

1864

 

Death: 

Jan. 5, 1943
Tuskegee
Macon County
Alabama

Buried: Tuskegee Institute
Tuskegee
Macon County
Alabama

 

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CARTER G. WOODSON, PH.D.

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Period: The Indian Campaigns Through World War II


This remarkable scholar achieved the unbelievable. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) was born of slave parents and therefore was unable to attend school until age 20. By 1903, he had received a Litt.B. from Berea College in Kentucky. Later, in 1907, he received a B.A. degree and then, in 1908, an M.A. degree from the University of Chicago. He studied in Europe and Asia and took a semester of study at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. In 1912, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Boston. Dr. Woodson became the driving force behind the ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF NEGRO LIFE AND HISTORY which he founded in 1915. He was the first editor and publisher of the JOURNAL OF NEGRO HISTORY. After several deanships at major universities, Dr. Woodson directed all of his energies to publishing books and articles on subjects which were not recognized by major outside publishers. Dr. Carter G. Woodson is called the "FATHER OF NEGRO HISTORY." Today, we celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH because of his efforts.

Birth: 

Dec. 19, 1875

 

Death: 

Apr. 3, 1950

Buried: Lincoln Memorial Cemetery
Suitland
Prince George's County
Maryland

 

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