MEDAL OF HONOR
SARGEANT JOHN DENNY (MOH)
BUFFALO SOLDIER-COMPANY C- 9TH US CAVALRY
John Denny was born in 1846 at Big Flats, New York. While little is known about his early years, records state that he enlisted in the US Army from El Mira, New York and was stationed with Company C., of the 9th Cavalry Regiment headquartered at Fort Hays, Kansas.
By 1879, his Unit was operating out of Fort Stanton in New Mexico Territory and was involved an engagement with hostile Indians at Las Animas Canyon, New Mexico.
SOLDIERS OF 9TH CAVALRY AT FT. STANTON, NM
THE BATTLE OF LAS ANIMAS CANYON, NEW MEXICO
On the 18th of September, 1879, Buffalo soldiers of Companies B, C and E of the 9th Cavalry based at Fort Stanton, NM were ambushed and pinned down by Chief Victorio and approximately 60 warriors from the Warm Springs band of Chiricahua Apaches. As the soldiers pursued Victorio into the mouth of Massacre Canyon (named after the incident) where it joins Las Animas Creek canyon, the soldiers quickly became trapped and were forced afoot as their horses were killed out from under them by Apache warriors hidden high up on the steep rocky, canyon walls above them.
Official military reports vary but most reports list 6 Troopers killed, 3 Navajo Scouts killed, 1 civilian killed along with 32 horses. Three soldiers; Lt. Robert Temple Emmet, Lt. Mathias Day and Sgt. John Denny received the Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of bravery during the battle.
It was in this battle that that Sgt. Denny exposed himself to intense fire from the enemy to rescue an injured comrade. Because of this he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on the 27th of November, 1881.
THE CITATION READS:
“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant John Denny, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 18 September 1879, while serving with Company C, 9th US Cavalry, in action at Las Animas Canyon, New Mexico. Sergeant Denny removed a wounded comrade, under heavy fire, to a place of safety”.
It is not known how long Sgt. Denny stayed in the Army but he died on the 26th Of November, 1901 at the age of 54 and is buried in the United States Soldiers and Airman’s Home National Cemetery in Washington DC.