by James E. Fargo, FSA Scot

James C. Reid was born on February 6, 1845, in Ireland and lived in San Francisco before moving to Oregon where he joined the U.S. Army.

Private Reid served in Company A, 8th Cavalry in Camp Winfield Scott in northern Nevada. On April 29, 1868, a skirmish with Paiutes occurred near a cave entrance on the eastern base of Hinkey Summit in Humboldt County, Nevada. Reid fended off the attackers from the cave and cared for his wounded leader, First Lieutenant Karge, his wounded sergeant and another private who died in the cave. Karge’s report stated that "I cannot forebear to make special mention of the heroic behavior of Private James C. Reid, who, being the only sound man in the party, stood nobly to his work in defending the lives of his disabled comrades."

Private James C. Reed’s Medal of Honor award citation read: "Defended his position with three others against a party of 17 hostile Indians under heavy fire at close quarters, the entire party except himself being severely wounded."

Unfortunately, in addition to misspelling his last name (Reid to Reed) on the citation, the location of the action was listed as Arizona Territory where the company was then stationed rather than where the action happened in Nevada. In 1869 Company A, 8th Cavalry was transferred to a post in the Arizona Territory and thus, the place of his heroic action was listed as Arizona Territory.

Reid’s date of death is unknown, but at age 52 (1882) he was hospitalized for alcoholism and rheumatism and applied for admission to the Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society
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