|Born||April 4, 1859|
Ireland, County Meath
|Died||January 10, 1940|
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Unit||E Co. 7th U.S. Cavalry|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Thomas Sullivan (April 4, 1859 – January 10, 1940) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Battle of Wounded Knee,but now called the Wounded Knee Massacre.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress. Because the medal is presented "in the name of Congress", it is often referred to informally as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". However, the official name of the current award is "Medal of Honor". Within the United States Code the medal is referred to as the "Medal of Honor", and less frequently as "Congressional Medal of Honor". U.S. awards, including the Medal of Honor, do not have post-nominal titles, and while there is no official abbreviation, the most common abbreviations are "MOH" and "MH".
The Wounded Knee Massacre was a domestic massacre of several hundred Lakota Indians, mostly women and children, by soldiers of the United States Army. It occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota, following a botched attempt to disarm the Lakota camp.
Thomas Sullivan was born in County Meath, Ireland, most likely to either Patrick Sullivan and Bridget Conolly or Rich Sullivan and Mary McCann, based on available baptism records.At age 28 he immigrated to the US and enlisted in the US Army at 28 years and five months age. His listed occupation on his enlistment documentation was a "laborer".
County Meath is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the historic Kingdom of Meath. Meath County Council is the local authority for the county. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 195,044. The county town of Meath is Navan. Other towns in the county include Trim, Kells, Laytown, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, and Slane.
Sullivan was immediately assigned to Troop E 7th Cavalry and served four total enlistments with the unit. Afterward, for his fifth enlistment, he transferred to Troop H 2D Cavalry. There he served as quartermaster sergeant. Sullivan would go on to serve in both Cuba and the Philippines as part of the Spanish–American War before retiring from Ft. Bliss as a First Sergeant with 23 years total in the Army.
The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to emergence of U.S. predominance in the Caribbean region, and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.
Following his retirement Sullivan returned to New Jersey, married a woman named Ellen, another naturalized Irish immigrant, and worked intermittently as a watchman, guard, and policeman. He died in 1940 and was buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery along with his wife who had died six years earlier.
The Battle of Wounded Knee (also Massacre of Wounded Knee) took place in December 1890. The 7th Cavalry Detachment had been escorting approximately 350 Lakota to the Pine Ridge Reservation when on December 29, the decision was made to disarm the tribe members. A scuffle ensued which quickly evolved into all-out hostilities, with the 7th Cavalry enjoying a significant tactical advantage, having superior numbers of fighting men as well as superior arms, including four Hotchkiss 1.65 inch M-1875 Mountain Guns.
This same day, E Troop 7th Cavalry began taking direct fire from Lakota who had concealed themselves in a ravine. After suffering three casualties, two of whom were killed, the call was put out for volunteers to maneuver from the current pinned-down position and attempt to gain a better vantage point. Sullivan volunteered to move left of the main body to an exposed position in an attempt to eliminate the threat. He and his fellow soldiers, Private Kellner and Sergeant Tritle, drew the enemy fire to their own position, providing relief for the main body.
|1st Row||Medal of Honor||Indian Campaign Medal||Philippine Campaign Medal|
|2nd Row||Spanish War Service Medal||Army of Cuban Occupation Medal||Mexican Border Service Medal|
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Thomas Sullivan, United States Army, for conspicuous bravery in action against Indians concealed in a ravine on 29 December 1890, while serving with Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, in action at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.
The reverse side of the medal is engraved with the following: "The Congress to Private Thomas Sullivan, Troop E, 7th Cavalry, for bravery at Wounded Knee Creek, S.D., December 29, 1890."
There have been several attempts by various parties to rescind the Medals of Honor awarded in connection with the Battle of Wounded Knee.Proponents claim that the engagement was in-fact a massacre and not a battle, due to the high number of killed and wounded Lakota women and children and the very one-sided casualty counts. Estimates of the Lakota losses indicate 150–300 killed, of which up to 200 were women and children. Additionally, as many as 51 were wounded. In contrast, the 7th Cavalry suffered 25 killed and 39 wounded, many being the result of friendly fire.
Calvin Spotted Elk, direct descendent of Chief Spotted Elk killed at Wounded Knee, launched a petition to rescind medals from the soldiers who participated in the battle.
The Army has also been criticized more generally for the seemingly disproportionate number of Medals of Honor awarded in connection with the battle.For comparison, 20 Medals were awarded at Wounded Knee, 21 at the Battle of Cedar Creek, and 20 at the Battle of Antietam. Respectively, Cedar Creek and Antietum involved 52,712 and 113,000 troops, suffering 8,674 and 22,717 casualties. Wounded Knee, however, involved 610 combatants and resulted in as many as 705 casualties (including non-combatants).
The Richmond–Petersburg campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 15, 1864, to April 2, 1865, during the American Civil War. Although it is more popularly known as the siege of Petersburg, it was not a classic military siege, in which a city is usually surrounded and all supply lines are cut off, nor was it strictly limited to actions against Petersburg. The campaign consisted of nine months of trench warfare in which Union forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assaulted Petersburg unsuccessfully and then constructed trench lines that eventually extended over 30 miles (48 km) from the eastern outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, to around the eastern and southern outskirts of Petersburg. Petersburg was crucial to the supply of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's army and the Confederate capital of Richmond. Numerous raids were conducted and battles fought in attempts to cut off the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad. Many of these battles caused the lengthening of the trench lines.
The Battle of New Market was fought on May 15, 1864, in Virginia during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War. A makeshift Confederate army of 4,100 men, which included cadets from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), defeated Union Major General Franz Sigel and his Army of the Shenandoah. The cadets were integral to the Confederate victory at New Market and this event marks the only time in U.S. history wherein the student body of a functioning and an operating college fought as an organized unit in pitched combat in battle. This event and battle was the 14th time VMI Cadets were called into action during the Civil War. As a result of this defeat, Sigel was relieved of his command and replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter, who later burned VMI in retaliation for New Market.
The 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment formed in 1866. Its official nickname is "Garryowen", after the Irish air "Garryowen" that was adopted as its march tune.
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment, also known as the 2nd Dragoons, is an active Stryker infantry and cavalry regiment of the United States Army. The Second Cavalry Regiment is a unit of the United States Army Europe, with its garrison at the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany. It can trace its lineage back to the early part of the 19th century.
The Battle of Hoke's Run, also known as the Battle of Falling Waters or Hainesville, took place on July 2, 1861, in Berkeley County, Virginia as part of the Manassas Campaign of the American Civil War. Notable as an early engagement of Confederate Colonel Thomas J. Jackson and his Brigade of Virginia Volunteers, nineteen days before their famous nickname would originate, this brief skirmish was hailed by both sides as a stern lesson to the other. Acting precisely upon the orders of a superior officer about how to operate in the face of superior numbers, Jackson's forces resisted General Robert Patterson's Union forces briefly and then slowly retreated over several miles.
Thomas Ward Custer was a United States Army officer and two-time recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery during the American Civil War. A younger brother of George Armstrong Custer, he served as his aide at the Battle of Little Bighorn against the Lakota and Cheyenne in the Montana Territory. Together with the younger Boston Custer, the three brothers were killed in that overwhelming defeat of United States forces.
The Battle of Chaffin's Farm and New Market Heights, also known as Laurel Hill and combats at Forts Harrison, Johnson, and Gilmer, was fought in Virginia on September 29–30, 1864, as part of the Siege of Petersburg in the American Civil War.
The Ghost Dance War was an armed conflict in the United States between the Lakota Sioux and the United States government from 1890 until 1891. It involved the Wounded Knee Massacre wherein the 7th Cavalry massacred around 300 unarmed Lakota Sioux, primarily women, children, and elders, at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890. The Ghost Dance War ended when Sioux leader Kicking Bear surrendered on January 15, 1891.
The 15th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, known as the Anderson Cavalry and the 160th Volunteers, was a three-year cavalry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was recruited and formed in the summer of 1862 by officers and men of the Anderson Troop, an independent company of the Pennsylvania Volunteers that had been mustered the previous November.
The 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment was a Union Army cavalry regiment that participated in the American Civil War. It was one of the most respected Union volunteer cavalry units in the war.
The Battle of Honey Hill was the third battle of Sherman's March to the Sea, fought November 30, 1864, during the American Civil War. It did not involve Major General William T. Sherman's main force, marching from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, but was a failed Union Army expedition under Brig. Gen. John P. Hatch that attempted to cut off the Charleston and Savannah Railroad in support of Sherman's projected arrival in Savannah.
The Battle of Fairfield was a cavalry engagement during the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War. It was fought July 3, 1863, near Fairfield, Pennsylvania, concurrently with the Battle of Gettysburg, although it was not a formal part of that battle. While a minor fight by the small number of troops deployed, strategically, the Confederate victory secured the important Hagerstown Road, which Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia would use on July 5 to return to Maryland and then on to safety in Virginia.
The 1st West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although it started slowly, it became one of the most active, and most effective, of the West Virginia Civil War regiments—and had 14 Medal of Honor recipients, the most of any single regiment during the war. The regiment was originally called the 1st Virginia Cavalry, not to be confused with the Confederate 1st Virginia Cavalry. Some reports added "Union," "Loyal" or "West" when identifying this regiment. After the unionist state of West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863, the regiment officially became the 1st West Virginia Cavalry. The National Park Service identifies it as the 1st Regiment, West Virginia Cavalry.
The 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, initially known as Colonel May’s Independent Regiment, was a unit in the Union army during the American Civil War. The regiment fought with the Army of the Cumberland in numerous battles, including Stones River, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge.
The 1st Regiment Delaware Volunteer Infantry was a United States volunteer infantry regiment raised for Union Army service in the American Civil War. Part of the II Corps it served in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.
The 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry was a Union cavalry regiment during the American Civil War. They were known for their early use of 9-foot lances, and were called "Rush's Lancers."
William Grafton Austin was an American enlisted man and officer in the U.S. Army who served with the 7th Cavalry Regiment during the Indian Wars. Austin received the Medal of Honor for extraordinary gallantry at the Battle of Wounded Knee, but now called the Wounded Knee Massacre, on December 29, 1890.
James Ward (1854–1901) was a United States Army soldier in the American Indian Wars and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Wounded Knee Massacre.
The 15th Texas Cavalry Regiment was a unit of cavalry volunteers mustered into the Confederate States Army in March 1862 and fought during the American Civil War. In July 1862 the unit was dismounted and served the remainder of the war as infantry. The regiment was captured at Arkansas Post in January 1863. After being exchanged three months later, the much-reduced 15th Texas was consolidated with two other regiments and assigned to Patrick Cleburne's division in the Army of Tennessee. The consolidated regiment fought at Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Ringgold Gap in 1863. After a re-consolidation, the regiment fought in the Atlanta Campaign, and at Franklin and Nashville in 1864. After a final consolidation the troops fought at Averasborough and Bentonville in 1865. The regiment's 43 surviving soldiers surrendered to Federal forces on 26 April 1865.