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Indian Campaigns

Four Tennesseans received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Indian Campaigns, including First Sergeant Clay Beauford, Buffalo Soldier Sergeant George Jordan and Corporal John Kyle.

Clay Beauford

Rank: First Sergeant

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company B, 5th U.S. Calvary

Born: September 27, 1846, Washington County, Maryland, enlisted in Nashville, Tennessee

Place/Date: Arizona Territory, Winter of 1872-1873

Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Additional Information: Born with name Welford Chapman Bridwell, he changed it to Clay Beauford when he ran away from home and joined the Confederate Army at age 14. He served as drummer boy in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Beauford fought at Gettysburg and was in Picket’s Charge, being wounded three times. After the Civil War, he joined the U.S. Army, Company B, 5th Calvary in Nashville. He helped guide Lt. Col. George Crook’s men during his “winter campaign” against renegade Apaches. He worked as a civilian scout until 1875, when he became the San Carlos Apache Police Chief in Arizona. In that role he was tasked with keeping the peace among 4,000 Native Americans living on reservations. He took part in the capture of the Indian raider Geronimo at Ojo Caliente in 1877. He also became a cattle rancher, prospector, and respected official before eventually retiring to California.

George Hobday

Rank: Private

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company A, 7th U.S. Calvary

Born: 1839, Kent County, England, enlisted in Memphis, Tennessee

Place/Date: Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, December 29, 1890

Citation: Conspicuous and gallant conduct in battle.


George Jordan

Rank: Sergeant

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company K, 9th U.S. Calvary

Born: Williamson County, Tennessee

Place/Date: At Fort Tularosa, New Mexico, May 14, 1880; at Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico, August 12, 1881

Citation: While commanding a detachment of 25 men at Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., repulsed a force of more than 100 Indians. At Carrizo Canyon, N. Mex., while commanding the right of a detachment of 19 men, 12 August 1881, he stubbornly held his ground in an extremely exposed position and gallantly forced back a much superior number of the enemy, preventing them from surrounding the command.

John Kyle

Rank: Corporal

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company M, 5th U.S. Calvary

Born: 1846, Cincinnati, Ohio, enlisted in Nashville, Tennessee

Place/Date: Near Republican River, Kansas, July 8, 1869

Citation: This soldier and two others were attacked by eight Indians but beat them off and badly wounded two of them.

Additional Information: Kyle initially joined Custer’s 7th U.S. Calvary in 1867 but soon deserted and quickly rejoined the 5th U.S. Calvary. He was exonerated of desertion in 1869 when Kyle presented his Medal of Honor papers to Custer. Served in the Plains Indian Wars with the 5th Cavalry, pursuing Sioux and Cheyenne war parties refusing to return to their reservations. Kyle was awarded the Medal of Honor from actions at the Battle of Summit Springs, Kansas against the Cheyenne Indians. His goal was to clear the area of all its Indians and perform a surprise attack. The Cheyenne Chief and leader of the “Dog Soldiers,” Tall Bull, was killed. Kyle occasionally used the alias John Kelly.