Thomas W. Stivers

Last updated
Thomas W. Stivers
Born(1850-07-15)July 15, 1850
Madison County, Kentucky, United States
Died June 28, 1877(1877-06-28) (aged 26)
Kingston, Kentucky
BuriedRichmond City Cemetery
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  US
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army (official proportions).svg  United States Army
Years of service 1871—1876
Rank Private
Unit 7th U.S. Cavalry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Great Sioux War of 1876-77
Awards Medal of Honor

Private Thomas W. Stivers (July 15, 1850 — June 28, 1877), also known under the name Thomas "Tom" Stevens or Stevers, was an American soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 7th U.S. Cavalry during the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. One of twenty-four men to be awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876, Stivers was among the soldiers who volunteered to carry water from the Little Bighorn River to the wounded on Reno Hill and awarded the Medal of Honor in 1878. He and two other fellow Kentuckians, Privates William M. Harris and George D. Scott, received the MOH for their role in the battle though Stivers received his posthumously.

A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank.

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The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

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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.

Contents

Biography

Thomas W. Stivers was born in Madison County, Kentucky, on July 15, 1850, [1] [2] [3] the son of John W "Buck" Stivers (1822–1912) and his wife Mary Frances Ballard (1829–1884). Tom later moved to Mt. Vernon where he worked as a clerk. [4] [5] In August 1871, at the age of 21, he enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to Company D of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment for frontier duty. At the start of the Great Sioux War of 1876–77, Stivers accompanied the 7th U.S. Cavalry to the Dakota Territory and was present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He was one of nineteen men who volunteered to fetch water from the Little Big Horn and carry it to the wounded on Reno Hill throughout the battle. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] While four troopers exposed themselves to heavy enemy fire, in order to give covering fire, Stivers and fourteen others managed to leave the right wing of Captain Frederick Benteen's line and crossed eighty yards of "fire-swept ground" to reach a deep ravine which they used for cover to get to the river. They then used heavy camp kettles to make repeated trips back and forth from the Little Big Horn to Reno Hill. [16] [17] [18]

Madison County, Kentucky County in the United States

Madison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 82,916. Its county seat is Richmond. The county is named for Virginia statesman James Madison, who later became the fourth President of the United States.

Dakota Territory territory of the USA between 1861-1889

The Territory of Dakota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until November 2, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.

Battle of the Little Bighorn battle

The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of US forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory.

Stivers and the other Little Big Horn water carriers faced great danger, especially with Sioux braves hidden in bushes along the river, and at least one of the soldiers was wounded in an ambush. He and the rest of the water carriers were cited for gallantry, along with five others for direct combat actions, and awarded the Medal of Honor [2] [9] [10] [12] [13] two years after the battle [3] [7] [8] [11] [14] [15] [16] [17] though Stivers received his posthumously. Stivers was discharged on August 5, 1876, while encamped with his unit at the mouth of Rosebud Creek in the Montana Territory, and returned to Kentucky where he attempted to go into business for himself. He died less than a year later, murdered over a business dispute, in Kingston on June 28, 1877, at age 27. Stivers was buried in the city cemetery of nearby Richmond, Kentucky. [5] [6] [18]

Medal of Honor United States of Americas highest military honor

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".

Rosebud Creek is a stream in the U.S. state of South Dakota.

Montana Territory territory of the USA between 1864-1889

The Territory of Montana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted as the 41st state in the Union as the state of Montana.

Stivers was one of three Kentuckians, along with Privates William M. Harris and George D. Scott, who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle, and as such, they have received special honors by their home state. Their role at the Little Big Horn is mentioned on a marker at the Richmond Cemetery where Stivers and Harris (both Marion County natives) are buried, though the location of Scott's gravesite is unknown. Kentucky Highway 1295, a state highway which runs through Kirksville to Garrard County, was later designated as the Harris-Scott-Stivers Memorial Highway. [3] [5] On June 26, 1999, a special commemoration ceremony to honor Kentucky's Medal of Honor winners was held for Stivers, Harris and Scott, at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond; [19] they were also listed at the Kentucky Medal of Honor Memorial in Louisville. Ten years later, the Richmond Register began profiling Stivers and other local MOH winners. [6] On June 25, 2010, the Richmond Register published a second story honoring the men on the 134th anniversary of the battle. [5]

Kentucky Medal of Honor Memorial

The Kentucky Medal of Honor Memorial is located at the corner of Fifth and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, on the grounds of the old Jefferson County Courthouse. The Memorial honors all recipients of the Medal of Honor from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Memorial was sculpted by Doyle Glass and dedicated on Veterans Day 2001. The Memorial features a life-size bronze statue of Medal of Honor recipient John C. Squires as he would appear on the night he earned the Medal of Honor. Squires, a native of Louisville, was killed in action in Italy during World War II. The statue of Squires stands on a 4-foot-high (1.2 m) granite base. A plaque on the base lists the names of each recipient of the Medal of Honor from Kentucky.

Louisville, Kentucky City in Kentucky

Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 29th most-populous city in the United States. It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being Lexington, the state's second-largest city. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County, located in the state's north and on the border with Indiana.

The Richmond Register is a daily newspaper based in Richmond, Kentucky, and covering Madison County. It publishes Tuesday through Saturday. The Register is owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Little Big Horn, Mont., 25–26 June 1876. Entered service at: Mt. Vernon, Ky. Birth: Madison County, Ky. Date of issue: 5 October 1878.

Citation
Voluntarily brought water to the wounded under fire. [20]

See also

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References

  1. Scott, Douglas D., P. Willey and Melissa A. Connor. They Died With Custer: Soldiers' Bones from the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002. (pg. 242) ISBN   0-8061-3507-7
  2. 1 2 Crawford, Byron. Kentucky Stories. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1994. (pg. 34) ISBN   1-56311-166-7
  3. 1 2 3 Wells, Dianne; Melba Porter Hay and Thomas H. Appleton, ed. Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 2002. (pg. 261) ISBN   0-916968-29-4
  4. Russell, Jerry L., ed. 1876 Facts About Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn. New York: Da Capo Press, 1999. (pg. 18, 24) ISBN   1-882810-34-1
  5. 1 2 3 4 Seyfrit, Phillip (June 25, 2010). "Four heroes at Little Big Horn: Madison County men fought, one died with Custer on this day in 1876". Richmond Register .
  6. 1 2 3 Engle, Fred A. (September 29, 2009). "The Seventh Cavalry". Richmond Register .
  7. 1 2 Hammer, Kenneth M., ed. Custer in '76: Walter Camp's Notes on the Custer Fight. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1976. (pg. 268) ISBN   0-8425-0399-4
  8. 1 2 Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Medal of Honor recipients, 1863-1978, 96th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1979. (pg. 316, 1067)
  9. 1 2 Manning, Robert, ed. Above and Beyond: A History of the Medal of Honor from the Civil War to Vietnam. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985. (pg. 237) ISBN   0-939526-19-0
  10. 1 2 Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 400) ISBN   0-922564-00-0
  11. 1 2 Hatch, Thom. The Custer Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Life of George Armstrong Custer and the Plains Indian Wars. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 2002. (pg. 242) ISBN   0-8117-0477-7
  12. 1 2 Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2006. (pg. 207) ISBN   1-59416-016-3
  13. 1 2 Nunnally, Michael L. American Indian Wars: A Chronology of Confrontations Between Native Peoples and Settlers and the United States Military, 1500s-1901. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2007. (pg. 141) ISBN   0-7864-2936-4
  14. 1 2 Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. HomeofHeroes.com. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  15. 1 2 Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: Thomas W. Stivers". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. MilitaryTimes.com. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  16. 1 2 Schoenberger, Dale T. The End of Custer: The Death of an American Military Legend. Surrey, British Columbia: Hancock House Publishers, 1995. (pg. 240, 243) ISBN   0-88839-288-5
  17. 1 2 Brust, James S., Brian C. Pohanka and Sandy Barnard. Where Custer Fell: Photographs of the Little Bighorn Battlefield Then and Now. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. (pg. 69, 196) ISBN   0-8061-3834-3
  18. 1 2 Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "Photo of Grave site of MOH Recipient Thomas W. Stivers". Medal of Honor Recipient Gravesites In The State of Kentucky. HomeofHeroes.com. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  19. Johnson, Harry C. Madison County, Kentucky. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2004. (pg. 128) ISBN   0-7385-1688-0
  20. "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.

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