United States Army Officer, Indian Campaigns Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th United States Cavalry, during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He was the last surviving officer from this battle. He resided in Dracut, Massachusetts, until 1866, when the family moved to Florida. Entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in September 1868, from Florida. After graduating 17th of 57 in the Class of 1872, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 7th Cavalry, on June 14, 1872, and assigned to Company A. He participated in the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition and the 1874 Black Hills Expedition. During the 1876 Battle of the Little Big Horn, he commanded the Indian Scout Detachment, and was wounded three times (both legs and the right ear) during the hilltop fight with Major Marcus Reno's Battalion. He was appointed 1st Lieutenant on June 25, 1876, and made Regimental Quartermaster. He was court-martialed in April 1886, for events in the 1879 Nez Perce Campaign, and was appointed Captain on July 22, 1890. He participated in the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890; and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1897 for his actions at White Clay Creek in December 1890. He served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War; but returned ill with typhoid fever. He served as Adjutant General of the Department of Colorado from 1899 to 1907, and retired for disability as a Colonel on October 31, 1907. He was awarded Silver Star in 1919. His CMOH citation reads “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”.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Mary Alice Moore Varnum