The Indian Campaigns: Honoring African American Heroes

Native Americans held uneasy relationships with English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish and American settlers since the arrival of the first colonists in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Over the next three centuries, the U.S. and various native tribes faced off in multiple armed conflicts known as the Indian Campaigns, which reshaped America and the lives of millions of indigenous people. 

What were the Indian Campaigns?

The Indian Wars or Indian Campaigns were a collection of armed conflicts fought in North America against Native American and First Nation tribes between the 17th century and the early 20th century. The tribes fought against European governments and colonists, as well as the United States and its settlers. Most conflicts were due to land disputes, while others were tied to trade expansion, cultural clashes, crimes, and other issues. The conflicts led to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, authorizing the U.S. government to relocate indigenous people to specially designated and federally protected and subsidized reservations. This policy refined the West.

African American Medal of Honor Recipients

***Double Recipient

Sergeant Thomas Boyne Fought bravely at Cuchillo Negro River near Ojo.
Sergeant Benjamin Brown Wounded in conflict between paymaster’s escort and robbers.
Sergeant John Denny Under heavy fire, moved a wounded comrade to safety.
Private Pompey Factor*** Participated in charge against 25 hostiles during scouting patrol.
Corporal Clinton Greaves Joined a small detachment aiming to persuade renegade Apache Indians to surrender. The group was surrounded. In the midst of hand-to-hand fighting, Cpl. Greaves managed to shoot and bash a gap through the swarming Apaches, allowing his companions to break free.
Sergeant Henry Johnson Volunteered to exit fortified shelter under heavy fire at close range to instruct guards. Then fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded. 
Sergeant George Jordan Led a detachment of 25 men at Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., repulsing a force of more than 100 Indians. At Carrizo Canyon, N . Mex., he commanded the right of a detachment of 19 men, holding ground against superior numbers.
Corporal Isaiah Mays Displayed gallantry in fight between paymaster’s escort and robbers. Walked and crawled two miles to a ranch for help.
Sergeant William McBryar Distinguished for coolness, bravery and marksmanship in pursuit of hostile Apache Indians.
Private Adam Paine*** Proved to be an invaluable soldier during engagement with the 4th U.S. Cavalry.
Isaac Payne*** (Trumpeter) As a trumpeter with three other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol.
Sergeant Thomas Shaw From an exposed position, held his ground and forced the enemy back. His actions stopped the enemy’s superior numbers from surrounding the command. 
Sergeant Emanuel Stance Displayed gallantry while scouting Indians.
Sergeant Charles Thomas Carried a message through hostile Indian territory, and saved the life of a comrade en route.
Private Augustus Walley Displayed bravery during action with hostile Apaches.
Sergeant John Ward*** Fought bravely despite being severely wounded.
Sergeant Moses Williams Rallied a detachment. Stood by his commanding officer in an exposed position under heavy fire from a large party of Indians, saving the lives of at least three comrades. 
Corporal William Othello Wilson Bravely carried a message asking for assistance through enemy territory.
Sergeant Brent Woods Saved the lives of comrades and citizens of a detachment.

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