Regimental Medal Of Honor Recipients

mohPublic Resolution 82 contained a provision for a Navy medal of valor, and was signed into law on 21 Dec 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln. A similar resolution on behalf of the Army calling for a medal of honor was signed into law on 12 Jul 1862.

Although created for the Civil War, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863.

Since it’s inception in 1861, some 3,400 men and one woman have received our nations top military award. 18 troopers from the 2d Cavalry Regiment have been included on the Medal of Honor recipient list 19 times.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress, it is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor depicted here is not the current issue medal that is so familiar, but the medal authorized for issue from 1862-1896, and would have been the medal awarded to most of the recipients from the Regiment.

Sgt. HAGAN, Martin; 13 Dec 1862, Fredricksburg, VA.
Having been left behind in charge of a detachment of seven 2nd Dragoons in Fredericksburg, VA., when that city was evacuated by our troops (13 Dec 1862), with “to remain until relieved”, did remain at his post until the army of northern Virginia was about to enter the town, when he succeeded in delaying the advance by skirmishing until, learning that the bridges behind him had been removed, and that his was the only union force in the city, he concluded to retire. This he did with great deliberation, disputing every foot with a brigade of the enemy’s cavalry, until the Rappahannock was reached, when, after seeing his men with their horses well over the river, he plunged in himself under a shower of balls, and swam across without the loss of a man, horse, or article of equipment.
Footnote: Records do not show Sgt. Hagan receiving the Medal of Honor. There is ongoing research to see what happened to the award.

Cpt. RODENBOUGH, Theophilus F.; 11 June 1864, Trevillian Station, VA.
Handled the Regiment with great skill and valor, was severely wounded.
Issued 21 Sept 1893

1Sgt. SCHMIDT, Conrad; 19 Sept 1864, Winchester, VA.
Went to the assistance of his Regimental Commander (Cpt. Theophilus Rodenbough), whose horse had been killed under him in a charge, mounted the officer behind him, under a heavy fire from the enemy, and returned him to his command.
Issued 16 Mar 1896

  • SCHMIDT, Conrad; enlisted: February 5, 1861, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, by Lieut. Merrill; born: Wurtemberg [Wurttemberg], Germany; age: 25 yrs; occupation: soldier; hazel eyes, sandy hair, fair complexion, 5’7½”; Company K, 2d Dragoons; discharged: December 5, 1863, Culpepper, Virginia, re-enlistment; rank: sergeant.
  • SCHMIDT, Conrad; 2nd enlistment: December 5, 1863, Culpeper, Virginia, by Lieut. Lennox; born: Wurtemberg [Wurttemberg], Germany; age: 30 yrs; occupation: soldier; hazel eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, 5’7½”; Companies K, E, and Field & Staff, 2d Cavalry; discharged: December 5, 1866, Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory, expiration of service; rank: quartermaster sergeant; [1Sgt Conrad Smith was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 16, 1896 for actions at Winchester, Virginia, September 19, 1864].

Pvt. HANFORD, Edward R.; 9 Oct 1864, Woodstock, VA.
Captured the flag of the 32d Battalion Virginia Cavalry (C.S.A.).
Issued 14 Oct 1864

Pvt. CANFIELD, Heth; 15 May 1870, Little Blue, NE.
Gallantry in action.
See Sergeant Leonard below for the story.
Issued 22 Jun 1870

Pvt. HIMMELSBACK, Michael; 15 May 1870 Little Blue, NE.
Gallantry in action.
See Sergeant Leonard below for the story.
Issued 22 Jun 1870

Pvt. HUBBARD, Thomas; 15 May 1870, Little Blue, NE.
Gallantry in action.
See Sergeant Leonard below for the story.
Issued 22 Jun 1870

Pvt. THOMPSON, George W.; 15 May 1870, Little Blue, NE.
Gallantry in action.
See Sergeant Leonard below for the story.
Issued 22 Jun 1870

Sgt. LEONARD, Patrick; 15 May 1870, Little Blue, NE.
Gallantry in action. Sergeant Leonard, with four men, Privates Canfield, Himmelsback, Hubbard, and Thompson, of the same company, while searching for stolen stock on the Republican, met and were charged by a band of about 50 Indians, who succeeded in wounding Hubbard and two of the horses. Sergeant Leonard promptly dismounted his men, shot the wounded horses, formed with their bodies a circular breastwork, behind which he prepared to resist to the last. The enemy almost instantly attacked the position, but were repulsed with a loss of 3 killed and 2 wounded. The Indians withdrew to a ravine, while the soldiers strengthened the work with sod cut with their pocket knives, and distributed their ammunition, some of which was on a wounded horse 100 yards away. As the defense would only hold 3, Thompson and Hubbard volunteered to remain upon the outside. The attack was repeated again and again, with additional loss to the enemy, when discouraged the Indians abandoned the field. Sergeant Leonard and men went to a settler’s cabin, took from there 2 women and 2 children, escorted them to the lower settlements, gave the alarm, reaching his own camp, after great fatigue, about midnight.
Issued 22 Jun 1870

Pvt. PHILLIPS, Samuel D.; 7 May 1877, Little Muddy Creek, MT.
Gallantry in action.
Issued 8 Aug 1877

Cpl. GARLAND, Harry; 7 May 1877, Little Muddy Creek, MT. 20 Aug 1877, Camas Meadows, ID. Gallantry in action with hostile Sioux, at Little Muddy Creek, MT; having been wounded in the hip so as to be unable to stand, at Camas Meadows, ID., he still continued to direct the men under his charge until the enemy withdrew.
Issued 28 Feb 1878

Farrier JONES, William H.; 7 May 1877, Little Muddy Creek, MT. 20 Aug 1877, Camas Meadows, ID.
Gallantry in the attack against hostile Sioux Indians on 7 May 1877 at Muddy Creek, MT., and in the engagement with Nez Perces Indians at Camas Meadows, ID., on 20 Aug 1877 in which he sustained a painful knee wound.
Issued 28 Feb 1878

1Sgt. WILKENS, Henry; 7 May 1877, Little Muddy Creek, MT. 20 Aug 1877, Camas Meadows, ID.
Bravery in actions with Indians.
Issued 28 Feb 1878

Pvt. LEONARD, William; 7 May 1877, Little Muddy Creek, MT.
Bravery in action.
Issued 8 Aug 1877

Pvt. CLARK, Wilfred; 9 Aug 1877, Big Hole, MT. 20 Aug 1877, Camas Meadows, ID.
Conspicuous gallantry, especial skill as sharpshooter.
Issued 28 Feb 1878

Lt. McCLERNAND, Edward J.; 30 Sept 1877, Bear Paw Mountain, MT.
Gallantly attacked a band of hostiles and conducted the combat with excellent skill and boldness.
Issued 27 Nov 1894

Sgt. GLOVER, T.B.; 10 Apr 1879, Mizpah Creek, MT. 10 Feb 1880, Pumpkin Creek, MT.
While in charge of small scouting parties, fought, charged, surrounded, and captured war parties of Sioux Indians.
Issued 20 Nov 1897

Lt. BRETT, Lloyd M.; 1 Apr 1880, O’Fallons Creek, MT.
Fearless exposure and dashing bravery in cutting off the Indians pony herd, thereby greatly crippling the hostiles.
Issued 7 Feb 1895

Cpt. HUGGINS, Eli L.; 1 Apr 1880 O’Fallons Creek, MT.
Surprised the Indians in their strong position and fought them until dark with great boldness.
Issued 27 Nov 1894

As a final entry, though not a member of the Regiment when the act which earned him the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor was performed, Paul Ray Smith was one of our own. Having served with the 2nd Cavalry during the first Gulf War as a newly married young Sp/4, he was again deployed to the Gulf twelve years later, this time with the 3rd Infantry Division, and was wearing the Toujours Pret on his right shoulder during the action which earned him the award of the Medal of Honor.

SMITH, PAUL R.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant First Class, United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley fighting vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne”, and the United States Army.

SFC Smith is the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in this theater of action. View a video here: Paul Smith

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