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James Anderson
Birth name James Anderson Smythe
Born (1849-05-28)May 28, 1849
Died May 31, 1918(1918-05-31) (aged 69)
Place of birth Canada
Place of death St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Place of burial Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service c. 1870–1880
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit 6th U.S. Cavalry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Texas–Indian Wars
Awards Medal of Honor
Other work Stationery engineer

James Anderson (May 28, 1849 – May 31, 1918), born James Anderson Smythe, was a Canadian-born soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 6th U.S. Cavalry during the Texas–Indian Wars. He was one of six men received the Medal of Honor for gallantry against a hostile band of Plains Indians at the Wichita River in Texas on October 5, 1870.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


James Anderson Smythe was born in Canada on May 28, 1849. He eventually emigrated to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Army, under the name James Anderson, around 1870. Smythe served with the 6th U.S. Cavalry and assigned frontier duty in Northwestern Texas. On October 5, 1870, he participated in a running battle with hostile Plains Indians at the Wichita River. He and five other men, including Sgt. Michael Welch, Cpl. Samuel Bowden, Cpl. Daniel Keating, Pvt. Benjamin Wilson and Indian guide James B. Doshier, received the Medal of Honor for "gallantry during the pursuit and fight with Indians"[1][2][3][4][5][7][8][9][10] a month after what would become known as the "Skirmish at Bluff Creek".[6]

Smythe remained in the army for another ten years, rising to the rank of Second Lieutenant. On November 14, 1880, he married Nellie E. Hanlon and together they moved to St. Louis, Missouri. He worked as stationery engineer for the rest of his life. Smythe's health began to decline in 1917 and he died of pneumonia on May 31, 1918, only three days after his 69th birthday. He was buried at St. Peter and Paul's Cemetery in St. Louis. Smythe was survived by his wife Nellie; the couple had no children.[6]

Medal of Honor citation[]

Rank and organization: Private, Company M, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wichita River, Tex., 5 October 1870. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Canada East. Date of issue: 19 November 1870.


Gallantry during the pursuit and fight with Indians.[11]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Beyer, Walter F. and Oscar Frederick Keydel, ed. Deeds of Valor: From Records in the Archives of the United States Government; how American Heroes Won the Medal of Honor; History of Our Recent Wars and Explorations, from Personal Reminiscences and Records of Officers and Enlisted Men who Were Rewarded by Congress for Most Conspicuous Acts of Bravery on the Battle-field, on the High Seas and in Arctic Explorations. Vol. 2. Detroit: Perrien-Keydel Company, 1906. (pg. 325)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Manning, Robert, ed. Above and Beyond: A History of the Medal of Honor from the Civil War to Vietnam. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985. (pg. 325) ISBN 0-939526-19-0
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hamilton, Allen Lee. Sentinel of the Southern Plains: Fort Richardson and the Northwest Texas Frontier, 1866-1878. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1988. (pg. 193) ISBN 0-87565-073-2
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 267) ISBN 0-922564-00-0
  5. 5.0 5.1 O'Neal, Bill. Fighting Men of the Indian Wars: A Biographical Encyclopedia of the Mountain Men, Soldiers, Cowboys, and Pioneers Who Took Up Arms During America's Westward Expansion. Stillwater, Oklahoma: Barbed Wire Press, 1991. (pg. 27) ISBN 0-935269-07-X
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Neal, Charles M. Valor Across the Lone Star: The Congressional Medal of Honor in Frontier Texas. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2003. (pg. 77, 320) ISBN 0-87611-184-3
  7. 7.0 7.1 Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2006. (pg. 159) ISBN 1-59416-016-3
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nunnally, Michael L. American Indian Wars: A Chronology of Confrontations Between Native Peoples and Settlers and the United States Military, 1500s-1901. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2007. (pg. 126) ISBN 0-7864-2936-4
  9. 9.0 9.1 Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for James Anderson". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: James Anderson". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  11. "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 

External links[]

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