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John James
Born 1838
Died May 23, 1902(1902-05-23) (aged 64)
Place of birth near Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Place of death Washington, D.C., United States
Place of burial United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service c. 1874–1875
Rank Corporal
Unit 5th U.S. Cavalry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Texas–Indian Wars
Red River War
Awards Medal of Honor

John James (1838 – May 23, 1902) was a British-born American soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 5th U.S. Cavalry during the Texas–Indian Wars. He was one of seven men received the Medal of Honor for gallantry by defending the "Lyman Train" against a war party of Kiowa and Commanche at the Upper Washita River in Texas on September 9–11, 1874


John James was born near Manchester, England in 1838. After emigrating to the United States, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Albany, New York. He became a member of the 5th U.S. Cavalry and participated in campaigns against the Plains Indians during the early-1870s.

Lyman train defenseEdit

On the morning of September 9, 1874, James was assigned to a small cavalry escort escorting a supply train to General Nelson Miles expedition force camped at Battle Creek. This train consisted of 36 wagons and was called Lyman train after Captain Lyman, the man heading the cavalry escort protecting the train.[1]

As the supply train emerged from a canyon on the Upper Washita River, they were set upon by a large Indian war party of Kiowa and Commanche. Despite the overwhelming numbers, the cavalry troopers fiercely resisted the hostiles. Although a battalion from the 8th U.S. Cavalry arrived on the second day, the defenders endured continuous gunfire and two major Indian assaults numbering over 400 warriors. With temperatures as high as 100 degrees, water became scarce and efforts to reach a nearby watering hole were made impossible while surrounded by the enemy. The Lyman Train defenders held out for almost a week before help arrived on September 14, 1874.[2] James was one of seven soldiers cited for "gallantry in action" during the three-day battle and received the Medal of Honor on April 23, 1875.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] He died in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 1902,[11] and is interred at the United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Rank and organization: Corporal, 5th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Upper Wichita, Tex., 9–11 September 1874. Entered service at: ------. Birth: England. Date of issue: 23 April 1875.


Gallantry in action.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. "Lyman Wagon Train". Fort Tour Systems, Inc.. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  2. 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. 186)
  3. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Medal of Honor recipients, 1863-1973, 93rd Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1973. (pg. 300)
  4. Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 397) ISBN 0-922564-00-0
  5. 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. 29) ISBN 0-935269-07-X
  6. Wilson, D. Ray. Terror on the Plains: A Clash of Cultures. Dundee, Illinois: Crossroads Communications, 1999. (pg. 244) ISBN 0-916445-47-X
  7. Neal, Charles M. Valor Across the Lone Star: The Congressional Medal of Honor in Frontier Texas. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2003. (pg. 141, 458) ISBN 0-87611-184-3
  8. 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. 136) ISBN 0-7864-2936-4
  9. Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for John James". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  10. Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor:". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  11. Cruse, J. Brett. Battles of the Red River War: Archeological Perspectives on the Indian campaign of 1874. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. (pg. 161) ISBN 1-60344-027-5
  12. "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 

Further readingEdit

  • Konstantin, Phil. This Day in North American Indian History: Important Dates in the History of North America's Native Peoples for Every Calendar Day. New York: Da Capo Press, 2002. ISBN 0-306-81170-7

External linksEdit

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