We continue this month’s theme of civilians who received the MoH. Originally there were eight, however during the ‘Purge of 1917’ (when the government revised the rules for the award and disqualified 911 recipients) these eight had their honor rescinded. Under a revised ruling, on 12 June, 1989, seven had their honors returned (the eighth had hers returned in 1977).
This week we feature two civilian scouts from the so-called ‘Indian Wars’: William Dixon and Amos Chapman.
Make the most of your day!
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 25 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, and Private George Smith (KIA) for the same action.) Both citations read the same: Action Date: September 12, 1874 Service: U.S. civilian Rank: Civilian Scout Division: 6th U.S. Cavalry (Attached)
“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Civilian Scout William Dixon/Amos Chapman, a United States Civilian, for gallantry in action on 12 September 1874, while serving as an Indian Scout with the 6th U.S. Cavalry, at Washita River, Texas.”