Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pvt Robert Smith, American Indian Wars, finally receives MOH

A Nevada Army veteran who died without knowing he earned the nation's highest medal of bravery received the honor he's been owed for nearly 140 years in a ceremony on Monday. Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei held an event at his Reno office to present a new Medal of Honor to Jerry Reynolds, the 82-year-old grandson of the late Pvt. Robert Smith.

Smith fought in a battle against American Indian tribes in the Dakota Territory on Sept. 9, 1876, when he was 29 years old. Then-President Rutherford B. Hayes approved the Medal of Honor for Smith in 1877 for showing "special bravery in endeavoring to dislodge Indians secreted in a ravine," according to Army records.

But the award never made it to the veteran, who was born Harry Reynolds, served as a drummer boy in the Civil War, but used an alias for unknown reasons when he enlisted in Company M, 3d U.S. Cavalry. His grandson said the medal was delivered to Camp Sheridan in Nebraska Territory, where Smith had previously lived, but someone else signed for the package.

Smith returned to using his birth name after his discharge from the Army, then later moved to Elko, Nevada. He died in 1930 without knowing he earned the award.

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