b. 1846 Oswego, New York. d. 14/05/1901 Highland Falls, New York.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 25/06/1876 Little Big Horn, Montana.
Neil Bancroft was born in Oswego, New York in 1846. At age 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Chicago, Illinois on September 20, 1864. Sent to the frontier, he was assigned to Troop A of the 7th U.S. Cavalry then under the command of George Armstrong Custer. He saw action during the Black Hills War and, during the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876, he was among the many soldiers who carried water "under a most galling fire" from the Little Bighorn River to the wounded soldiers at the Reno-Benteen site for much of the engagement. All of the Little Bighorn water carriers were received the Medal of Honor for their "extraordinary bravery" on October 5, 1878.
Bancroft, however, had left the service two months earlier and his medal was simply returned to the War Department. Throughout his life, Bancroft was unaware that he had received the nation's highest honor. By the time the government tracked down Bancroft to officially issue his medal, it was discovered he had died. His medal was eventually put on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. where it remains to the present-day.
Brought water for the wounded under a most galling fire.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
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