Charles L. Thomas (Medal of Honor, 1865)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Charles L. Thomas
Charles L. Thomas.jpg
Charles L. Thomas as depicted in Deeds of Valor, Volume II
Born (1843-02-12)February 12, 1843
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died February 24, 1923(1923-02-24) (aged 80)
Place of burial Dwight-Morris cemetery, Morris county, Kansas
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Sergeant
Unit 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment
Battles/wars Indian wars
Awards Medal of Honor

Charles L. Thomas (February 12, 1843–February 24, 1923) was a United States Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for heroism on September 17, 1865 during the Indian Campaigns in the Dakota Territory.


Thomas was born on February 12, 1843 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

During the Powder River Indian expedition in Dakota Territory in September, 1865, Captain Humpfervill returned to the camp of Brigadier General Patrick Edward Connor, Companies E, and K, of the 11th Ohio Cavalry, and the left wing of the Powder River Expedition after a scout with 300 men. He reported that the right and center columns of the Powder River Expedition under Colonel Nelson D. Cole, and Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Walker were surrounded by Indians on the Powder River. General Patrick Conner called for a volunteer "to go as a scout and find Cole or perish in the attempt." Corporal Charles L. Thomas and one Indian scout volunteered to go. Charles Thomas and the unnamed scout left Conner's camp at 8 a.m., on September 13, 1865. They spent 36 hours traveling about 201 miles alone in hostile territory to find Colonels Cole and Walker to deliver to them a message from General Conner. On the second day traveling, Corporal Thomas was sighted by hostile Indians in the area as he followed Cole's and Walker's trail, and "began to exchange shots - it was a running fight for the balance of the day." Later, he captured a warrior's horse, that had a U.S. Cavalry brand, and had previously belonged to an unfortunate soldier of the 12th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. Thomas kept the animal with him in case that his own horse was shot. During the day, he rescued Private John Hutson of the 2nd Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery Regiment, who had been abandoned by Cole's column because he was unable to walk. When Thomas found the Private, Hutson was hiding. Charles got him onto spare horse, and brought him to Colonel Nelson Cole's camp when he arrived at about 6 p.m. and delivered General Connor's message.

Charles Thomas died on February 24, 1923 and is buried in the Dwight-Morris cemetery, in Morris County, Kansas.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 11th Ohio Cavalry. Place and date: At Powder River Expedition Dakota Territory, September 17, 1865. Entered service at: United States. Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Date of issue: August 24, 1894.


Carried a message through a country infested with hostile Indians and saved the life of a comrade en route.

See also[edit]