I'm thinking of the issue of medals and when they were starting to be awarded and who they would be awarded to.
Would enlisted men and lower ranking officers be more prone to receiving medals if they were being awarded?
One thing I personally noticed is that some of the earliest medals were handed out by the superiors themselves rather than the government. Kearny would give out a medal (or a medal would be given strictly to kearny's guys), Custer also had a special medal for his guys. Naturally, they probably won't award one to themselves.
Even today, I think a superior or a certain chain of officials has to recommend medals.
So... would a higher ranking person who also loves combat be shorted of their medals on account of any of this process? Is there already enough prestige behind West Pointers and other commissioned officer that they don't even seek medals?
The only medal for the Army in 1876 was the Medal of Honor. This had been created during the Civil War as a medal for enlisted men but was later authorized for officers. The most common feat deserving of a Medal of Honor at that time was capturing an enemy flag. Most of the Medals of Honor awarded to officers for service against Indians were presented years and decades after the actions in which they were earned. This was similiar to a large number of Medasl of Honor earned by officers of high rank during the Civil War. Nelson Miles, Arthur MacArthur, David Stanley received their medals in the 1890's.
Recommendations for the men of the 7th Cav at the LBH went first to Gen Terry who thought that too many men had been nominated for the award and asked for the number to be reduced. I believe he sent the reduced list up the chain of command to the War Department.
So in the 1870's officially or not the MOH was regarded as an award for EM.
Post by bandboxtroop on Jan 2, 2013 16:25:44 GMT -5
In the early 1900's a board rescinded over 900 Medal Of Honors. The Maine regiment who reenlisted lost theirs as well as Lincolns funeral train guards and Dr Mary Walker and the civilian scouts. As was mentioned many Medal Of Honors were political BS given years after the War. Men got them for picking up Confederate flags not taking them in Combat like Tom Custer did. If you were a vet and had political pull you could get a Medal. Today you pretty much have to die to get one as you can see only 2 or 3 have been given out to men who have survived from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Regarding medals, there's an interesting account by James E. Snepp who served with Co. A, Third Cavalry during the 1879 Cheyenne outbreak. His story appeared in the July 1939 edition of Winners of the West, dealing with a skirmish near Ft. Robinson, Nebraska in Jan 1879. His company came under fire and a Corporal Henry Orr was shot and killed by Cheyennes. A soldier named Johnnie Hauck volunteered to retrieve Orr's body, tunneling through the snow to do so.
Snepp states that several months later at the post his troop was ordered on parade in full dress while post commander, Maj. Andrew Evans pinned a "gold medal" on Hauck; "issued by the Secretary of War using a ceremony I do not recall".
Likely this was the presentation of the Certificate of Merit, signed by the President and the Sec. of War. As to the "gold medal" it was not the MOH; Snepp writes as though he was present but no medals were issued at this time other than the MOH. At any rate, it would be interesting to see what sort of medal this was if indeed there even was one.