b. 1838 Manchester, England. d. 23/05/1902 Washington DC.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 09-11/09/1874 Upper Washita River, Texas.
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.
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.
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 Comanche. 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.
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.
Gallantry in action.
BURIAL LOCATION: US SOLDIERS' AND AIRMEN NATIONAL CEMETERY, WASHINGTON DC.
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