William G. Austin

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William G. Austin
Born (1868-01-06)January 6, 1868
Galveston, Texas, United States
Died July 15, 1929(1929-07-15) (aged 61)
Los Altos, California, United States
Place of burial Cremated
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1887–1892, 1898
Rank Colonel
Unit E Troop, 7th U.S. Cavalry
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Awards Medal of Honor

William Grafton Austin (January 6, 1868 – July 15, 1929) was an American officer in the U.S. Army who served with the 7th U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars. Austin received the Medal of Honor for extraordinary gallantry at the Battle of Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]


William Graston Austin was born in Galveston, Texas on January 6, 1868.[2] He later moved to New York City where he enlisted in the U.S. Army.[12][13][14] He spent a five-year enlistment in E Troop, 7th U.S. Cavalry, being discharged as a Sergeant. He was cited for bravery at the Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890. On June 17, 1891, he officially received the Medal of Honor for actions “while the Indians were concealed in a ravine, assisted men on the skirmish line, directing their fire, etc., and using every effort to dislodge the enemy".[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

After his discharge from the military, Austin returned Savannah, Georgia where he was engaged in the Cotton business and later served for six years as Chief of Police. He joined the Savannah Volunteer Guards in 1894 and rose in rank from Private to Captain of Company A, which unit he commanded in the Spanish American War as part of the Second Georgia Regiment of Volunteers.[15]

In 1919 Austin is listed as a Colonel in the Officers' Reserve Corps in the Quartermaster section in the State of California.[16] He later retired to Palo Alto, California where he died on July 15, 1929.[2] His body was cremated at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, and the ashes delivered to the Roller and Hapgood mortuary, but its final whereabouts is not known.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Galveston, Tex. Date of issue: 27 June 1891.


While the Indians were concealed in a ravine, assisted men on the skirmish line, directing their fire, etc., and using every effort to dislodge the enemy.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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. 326)
  2. ^ a b c d "Col. William G. Austin.; Former Army Officer and Indian Fighter Dies in California". New York Times. July 18, 1929. 
  3. ^ a b Chandler, Melbourne C. Of Garry Owen in Glory: The History of the Seventh United States Cavalry Regiment. Annandale, Virginia: The Turnpike Press, 1960. (pg. 398)
  4. ^ a b Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Medal of Honor recipients, 1863–1978, 96th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1979. (pg. 1024)
  5. ^ a b Hannings, Bud. A Portrait of the Stars and Stripes. Glenside, Pennsylvania: Seniram Publishing, 1988. (pg. 280) ISBN 0-922564-00-0
  6. ^ a b 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. 35) ISBN 0-935269-07-X
  7. ^ a b Gonzalez, Mario and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999. (pg. 392) ISBN 0-252-06669-3
  8. ^ a b LaDuke, Winona. Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming. Cambridge, Massachusetts: South End Press, 2005. (pg. 265) ISBN 0-89608-712-3
  9. ^ a b Johansen, Bruce E. The Native Peoples of North America: A History. Vol. 2. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2006. (pg. 289) ISBN 0-8135-3899-8
  10. ^ a b Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2006. (pg. 292) ISBN 1-59416-016-3
  11. ^ a b 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. 155) ISBN 0-7864-2936-4
  12. ^ a b c Art Leatherwood: William G. Austin from the Handbook of Texas Online (May 30, 2010). Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  13. ^ a b c Sterner, C. Douglas (1999). "MOH Citation for William Austin". MOH Recipients: Indian Campaigns. HomeofHeroes.com. 
  14. ^ a b c Army Times Publishing Company. "Military Times Hall of Valor: William Grafton Austin". Awards and Citations: Medal of Honor. MilitaryTimes.com. 
  15. ^ William Hardent, A History of Savannah and South Georgia (Chicago and New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1913), pp 697-699.
  16. ^ Adjutant General's Office, Official List of Officers of the Officers' Reserve Corps of the Army of the United States, Vol. X, August 31, 1919, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1920), p.28.
  17. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". Indian War Campaigns. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Wilson, D. Ray. Terror on the Plains: A Clash of Cultures. Dundee, Illinois: Crossroads Communications, 1999. ISBN 0-916445-47-X

External links[edit]