John W. Comfort
|John W. Comfort|
John Comfort in dress uniform and displaying his Medal of Honor, c. 1875
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||November 29, 1893
|Place of burial||Mount Peace Cemetery|
|Allegiance|| United States of America
|Service/branch|| United States Army
|Years of service||1861–1892|
|Unit||4th U.S. Cavalry|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
John W. Comfort (1844 – November 29, 1893) was an American soldier in the U.S. Army who fought during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars from 1861 until his retirement in 1892. He was a member of the 4th U.S. Cavalry during the Texas–Indian Wars and, while battling the Kiowa and Comanche in the Staked Plains in November 1874, killed an Indian in armed combat. He was one of several soldiers cited for bravery in this battle and received the Medal of Honor the following year.
John W. Comfort was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1844. At the start of the American Civil War, the 17-year-old Comfort joined up with the 29th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on June 20, 1861. He immediately reenlisted while stationed in Hamilton County, Tennessee in December 1863, weeks after the Battle of Wauhatchie, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant at the end of the month. Comfort saw continuous action around Chattanooga, Tennessee and in Georgia, including the sieges of Atlanta and Savannah, as well as the Carolinas. After the war's end, Comfort was honorably discharged on July 17, 1865. He decided on a career in the military, however, and enlisted in the Regular United States Army four months after leaving the volunteer service.
Comfort was initially assigned to Battery K of the 1st U.S. Artillery in Brownsville, Texas and spent the next three years in the Southern United States during Reconstruction before being discharged at Greenville, Louisiana on November 28, 1868. After returning to Philadelphia for a time, he reenlisted again on April 18, 1870. He was sent to the Texas frontier where he served with the 4th U.S. Cavalry in San Antonio and Fort Richardson. He became an experienced Indian fighter during the Texas–Indian Wars reaching the rank of sergeant. On November 5, 1874, while his regiment was battling the Kiowa and Comanche near Lake Tahokay in the Staked Plains, Comfort was separated from his unit and killed an Indian in armed combat. He was commended by his commanding officer, Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie, who wrote "that Corporal Comfort ran down and killed an Indian on the Staked Plains with no other soldier within a long distance of him...This man is a very distinguished soldier for personal gallantry". He was recommended for, and received, the Medal of Honor on October 13, 1875. Though discharged from Fort Clark (near present-day Brackettville, Texas) on June 26, 1878, he remained in the army until his retirement in 1892, and afterwards served in Batteries E and A of the 1st U.S. Regular Artillery. Comfort died in Philadelphia on November 29, 1893, and interred at Mount Peace Cemetery. Comfort's life was later profiled by historian Merle Olmsted in the Winter 1968 issue of Military Collector & Historian.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company A, 4th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Staked Plains, Tex., November 5, 1874. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: October 13, 1875.
Ran down and killed an Indian.
- 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. 193)
- Olmsted, Merle C. "John W. Comfort: Portrait of a U.S. Regular, 1865-1892". Military Collector & Historian. (Winter 1968) 20(4): 126-127.
- 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. 325) ISBN 0-939526-19-0
- Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 396) ISBN 0-922564-00-0
- 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. 29) ISBN 0-935269-07-X
- Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2006. (pg. 168) ISBN 1-59416-016-3
- 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. 126) ISBN 0-7864-2936-4
- Cruse, J. Brett. Battles of the Red River War: Archeological Perspectives on the Indian campaign of 1874. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. (pg. 160) ISBN 1-60344-027-5
- Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for John Comfort". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. HomeofHeroes.com.
- Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: John W. Comfort". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. MilitaryTimes.com.
- "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
- Neal, Charles M. Valor Across the Lone Star: The Congressional Medal of Honor in Frontier Texas. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2003. ISBN 0-87611-184-3