Capt HENRY W. LAWTON
Co A, 30th Indiana Infantry
3 August 1864
Captain Henry Lawton’s Medal of Honor Citation consists of only one sentence:
“Led a charge of skirmishers against the enemy’s rifle pits and stubbornly and successfully resisted 2 determined attacks of the enemy to retake the works.”
There is much to the General Lawton’s story.
Henry Lawton enlisted in the Union Army at the ripe old age of 16, he took part in 22 major engagements of the Civil War.
As a result of Lawton’s unusual battlefield leadership skills and consistent bravery, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 30th Indiana Infantry at 17 then promoted to the Rank of Captain shortly after his 18th birthday; then at 21 years of age he was promoted directly to Ltc, with a Brevet rank of full Colonel.
Lawton earned his Medal of Honor during the short time he wore captain’s bars.
Like most Civil War officers, Lawton left service after the war but in 1866 Lawton was convinced by General Sheridan to return to the Army and accept a commission as second lieutenant, 41st U.S. Infantry, he was promoted to Captain.
As a captain, Lawton was selected to command the U.S. expedition into Mexico in pursuit of Geronimo. In May of 1885 – Geronimo Surrendered to Lawton.
After a short stint as Inspector General for the Department of Arizona, Lawton was again promoted to Ltc.
Although due to retire, the lure of action overcame Lawton and he was beyond eager to get back in the field for the Spanish American War.
He was promoted to the rank of Reserve/Volunteer Brigadier General in 1898.
Lawton took command of the 2nd Infantry Division. Lawton’s 2nd Division led U.S. forces to shore on June 22, 1898.
Lawton’s regiment attacked the numerically superior Spanish at El Caney driving them from their stronghold and securing the position and was with Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill
Lawton was promoted to the rank of regular Army Major General on July 8, 1899 for gallantry in the Cuban campaign.
In January, 1899, Lawton was ordered to the Philippines to assume command of field operations for the theater Commander General Otis. Lawton rapidly developed guerilla and night fighting tactics and trained his men to counter the rebel’s methods of fighting.
As a military leader, Lawton learned to lead from the front during the Civil War.
He never changed his style of leadership. His cutting edge military tactics brought about the capture of San Isidro, Santa Cruz, and San Rafael – his men loved him for it.
The last time Henry Lawton risked his life for his flag he lost it.
Lawton fought his last battle in December 1899 at San Mateo. He was personally leading the attack from the front. A sniper’s bullet took him.
And… That my friend is a long long career of American Badass.