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Augustus Walley was born into slavery on the 10th of March, 1856 in Reisterstown, Maryland. For the next 20 years, he worked as a laborer in and around the Reisterstown area.

On the 26th of November, 1878, he enlisted in the US Army at Baltimore, Maryland and was assigned as a private to Company I of the 9th US Cavalry. His unit was immediately sent west for duty during the Indian Wars to Ft. Bayard, New Mexico.

After hostile Apache Indians attacked a ranch near Camp Canada Alamosa, New Mexico, 2nd Lt. George R. Burnett took the first available detachment to pursue and attack the Raiders. With a fifty-man force, some of whom were mounted Mexicans from the plundered ranch, he located and attacked the Apaches that outnumbered his small command two-one


The moment the battle started, Lt. Valois of Company I was obliged to abandoned the field leaving several of the soldiers behind. One of the men left was Private Burton, whose horse became unmanageable with the firing started and carried Pvt. Burton directly into the midst of the Indians. To avoid being taken prisoner or killed, Pvt. Burton dismounted and dropped to the ground as if dead.

At that point in the Battle, the retreat was sounded and several more men were left behind. Heeding their shouts for help, 2nd Lt. Burnett called for volunteers to rescue the four trapped men. Pvt. Augustus Walley and 1st Sgt. Moses Williams came to his aid, and the three of them held off the hostiles, and in so doing were able to rescue the 4 trapped men and all were able to retreat to safety.

For their heroic action at the Battle of Cuchillo Negro Mountain, all three men, Lt. Burnett, Pvt. Walley and Sgt. Williams, were all awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Pvt. Augustus Walley received his citation on the 1st of October, 1890.

The citation read in part—

“for conspicuous bravery on August 16th, 1881, in action against hostile Apaches at Cuchillo Negro Mountains, New Mexico”.

1st Sgt. Augustus Walley remained in the Army fighting in the Spanish American War in Cuba and in the Philippine Insurrection. He retired briefly to live in Butte, Montana, only to be recalled back into service in WWI. Then on the 8th of March 1919, he retired again, and spent the rest of his life with family members in and around Baltimore, Maryland, where he died on the 9th of April 1938.

1st Sergeant Augustus Walley is buried in St. Luke’s Cemetery, Reisterstown, Maryland.

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