Indian Wars Medal of Honor Recipient. After moving from Germany to the United States he joined the United States Army in Louisville, Kentucky on July 27, 1870. Serving as a Corporal in Company C, 8th United States Cavalry, he was stationed at Fort Selden in Don Ana County, New Mexico, which had been built to protect settlers in the area and those settlers that were passing through from the Indians. In July of 1873, the 8th Cavalry's Captain George W. Chilson and ten men departed Fort Belden in pursuit of a band of renegade Indians that had attacked settlers and stolen cattle from a nearby ranch. In the vicinity of Fort McRae, the soldiers cornered the Indians in a canyon, and in a fierce gun battle Corporal Bratling was mortally wounded. The soldiers killed three Indians, captured twelve and all their horses and a mule. Fort McRae was the closest fort and it was there that Corporal Bratling was pronounced dead and buried in the post cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the CMOH (a rare occurrence at the time) on August 12, 1875, with a simply citation of "Services against hostile Indians". His remains rested there for 13 years, then was relocated with other bodies relocated to Fort Leavenworth where his body was buried in an "unknown" grave. Until 2001 it was believed his body was still at the Fort McRae site, and a cenotaph had been erected for him in El Paso's Fort Bliss National Cemetery. However, in November of 2001 a document was found in the National Archives documenting the relocation of the cemetery. Fort McRae, and the old cemetery site, is now underwater in the Elephant Butte Lake. In April of 2003, the Medal of Honor society erected a monument on the east side of the lake near the old fort, to pay honor to Corporal Bratling.
Bio by: Tom Todd