John Schnitzer

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John Schnitzer
Born 1854
Kempten, Bavaria, Germany
Died October 26, 1904(1904-10-26) (aged 50)
Fort Bayard, New Mexico Territory, United States
Place of burial Fort Bayard National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service c. 1882–1886
Rank Sergeant
Unit 4th U.S. Cavalry
23rd U.S. Infantry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Apache Wars
Awards Medal of Honor

Sergeant John P. Schnitzer (1854 – October 26, 1904) was an American soldier and wagoner in the U.S. Army who served with both the 23rd U.S. Infantry and 6th U.S. Cavalry in the New Mexico Territory during the Apache Wars. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, along with First Lieutenant Wilber Wilder, for rescuing a fellow soldier under heavy fire while fighting the Apache at Horseshoe Canyon on April 23, 1882, which he received fourteen years later.


John P. Schnitzer was born in Kempten, Bavaria in 1854. He later emigrated to the United States and lived in New York City, New York until enlisting in the United States Army in the 1880s. Taking part in the military campaigns against the Plains Indians, he saw considerable action with the 4th U.S. Cavalry, in which he was also a wagoneer for Troop G, during the Apache Wars in the New Mexico Territory. On April 23, 1882, his patrol came under attack by a hostile band of Apache Indians at Horseshoe Canyon. When one of his comrades, Private Edward Leonard, was wounded in the fight he and First Lieutenant Wilber Wilder risked their lives under heavy enemy fire to rescue him. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions,[1][2][3][4][5][6] Schnitzer being awarded his fourteen years after the incident.[7][8][9][10]

On June 8, 1885, while serving with the 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, Schnitzer was again cited for heroism in a battle with the Chiricahua Apache in Guadeloupe Canyon on the New Mexico-Arizona territorial border. He and several other members of the 23rd Infantry's H Company were attacked while guarding a U.S. Army supply train. Three men were killed in the fighting and the Apache succeeded in seizing much ammunition and army rations. Schnitzer managed to escape carrying his mortally wounded sergeant out of the canyon while "under heavy fire within a short distance of the hostile Indians concealed in the rocks".[1] Schnitzer remained in the New Mexico Territory until his death at Fort Bayard on October 26, 1904, at the age 50. Some sources list his date of death as 1906, although the former date is on his tombstone.[8] He and fellow Apache War veteran Alonzo Bowman are the only two MOH recipients buried at Fort Bayard National Cemetery.[6][11]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Wagoner, Troop G, 4th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Horseshoe Canyon, N. Mex., 23 April 1882. Entered service at:--. Birth: Bavaria. Date of issue: 17 August 1896.


Assisted, under a heavy fire, to rescue a wounded comrade.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b United States Department of War. Official Army Register, January 1894. Washington, D.C.: Adjutant Generals Office, 1894. (pg. 329)
  2. ^ Beyer, Walter F. and Oscar Frederick Keydel, ed. Deeds of Valor: From Records in the Archives of the United States Government; how American Heroes Won the Medal of Honor; History of Our Recent Wars and Explorations, from Personal Reminiscences and Records of Officers and Enlisted Men who Were Rewarded by Congress for Most Conspicuous Acts of Bravery on the Battle-field, on the High Seas and in Arctic Explorations. Vol. 2. Detroit: Perrien-Keydel Company, 1906. (pg. 539)
  3. ^ Holt, Dean W. American Military Cemeteries: A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide to the Hallowed Grounds of the United States, including Cemeteries Overseas. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1992. (pg. 93) ISBN 0-89950-666-6
  4. ^ O'Neal, Bill. Fighting Men of the Indian Wars: A Biographical Encyclopedia of the Mountain Men, Soldiers, Cowboys, and Pioneers Who Took Up Arms During America's Westward Expansion. Stillwater, Oklahoma: Barbed Wire Press, 1991. (pg. 34) ISBN 0-935269-07-X
  5. ^ Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2006. (pg. 268) ISBN 1-59416-016-3
  6. ^ a b Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "Photo of Grave site of MOH Recipient John Schnitzer". Medal of Honor Recipient Gravesites In The State of New Mexico. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Medal of Honor recipients, 1863-1978, 96th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1979. (pg. 312)
  8. ^ a b Melzer, Richard. Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2007. (pg. 286) ISBN 0-86534-531-7
  9. ^ Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for John Schnitzer". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  10. ^ Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: John Schnitzer". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  11. ^ Heim, Michael. Exploring America's Highways: Minnesota Trip Trivia. Wabasha, Minnesota: Exploring America's Highway, 2004. (pg. 275) ISBN 0-9744358-1-3
  12. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]


  • Walker, Henry P., ed. "The Reluctant Corporal: The Autobiography of William Bladen Jett". Journal of Arizona History. Vol. XII. No. 1. (Spring 1971)


  • Greene, Jerome A., ed. Indian War Veterans: Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West, 1864-1898. New York: Savas Beatie, 2007. ISBN 1-932714-26-X
  • Wilson, D. Ray. Terror on the Plains: A Clash of Cultures. Dundee, Illinois: Crossroads Communications, 1999. ISBN 0-916445-47-X

External links[edit]