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John Green


U.S. Army
Medal Of Honor, Indian Campaigns

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Late in 1872 a Modoc chief called "Captain Jack" and sixty warriors, refusing to relocate to their Oregon reservation, attacked a small Army detachment at Lost River, then killed several White settlers, before returning to the sanctuary of their native land, 32 miles of volcanic caverns and cliffs at Lava Beds, California. On January 17, 1973 Major John Green led a cavalry detachment to dislodge the Modoc force and return them to the reservation. Under cover of a heavy morning fog and confused in the maze of natural fortifications in the Lava Beds, Major Green's forces came under a blistering attack that killed or wounded many soldiers and caused the remainder to break ranks and lose combat discipline. As the fog lifted, Major Green was so upset at his own men for their lack of discipline and courage, began to walk back and forth along the line in full view of the Modoc forces. As bullets whizzed past him, he ignored them and shouted orders and words of encouragement to his soldiers, slapping his gloves into his palm for emphasis. (Later the Indians said Green's glove must have had "magical powers" to shield him so effectively from their fire. Cavalry Surgeon John Skinner also earned a Medal of Honor in this action.

Photo Credits: Idaho Military Historical Society
 

 

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