Later a General, and awarded the Medal of Honor for action in the Modoc War.
A very desirable military commission for a Medal of Honor recipient, John Green, a career cavalry officer in the regular army. The commission is signed by President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of War, J.M. Schofield, also by General E.D. Townsend, stating the document had been recorded. The signature of the president is stamped as most are, Johnson having injured his hand and hampered in writing, thus making real signatures scarce and much in demand.
This commission was issued to Green on July 25, 1868, promoting him to captain in the 1st U.S. Cavalry. It is in fine condition and most suitable for framing.
John Green was of German birth, and came to America in 1831; enlisting in the army at the age of 21 in 1846 and served as a 1st sergeant in the Mounted Rifles in the Mexican War. Later he would join the 2nd Dragoons and in 1861 at the start of the Civil War, the regiment was re-designated 2nd Cavalry. Serving as a captain during the war, he would receive brevet promotions, as Major for action during the Battle of Gettysburg, and Lt. Col. for services during the war.
With Green’s promotion to major, he was transferred to the 1st Cavalry then serving in Arizona, and fought there against the Apache. When the Modoc War started, Major Green was commanding Fort Klamath, Oregon, and shortly after in 1873 was engaged against the Modoc at the First Battle of the Stronghold, were he was wounded slightly, while in an attempt to spur on his men, who had been taking heavy losses against the Modoc. For his action at the Stonghold, John Green was awarded the MOH.
At the Lava Beds, Calif., January 17, 1873. Entered Service At: Ohio. Birth: Germany. Date of Issue: November 18, 1897.
In order to reassure his command, this officer, in the most fearless manner and exposed to very great danger, walked in front of the line; the command, thus encouraged, advanced over the lava upon the Indians who were concealed among the rocks.”
This next extract is taken from “Find a Grave” site:
“Late in 1872 a Modoc chief called “Captain Jack” and sixty warriors, refusing to relocate to their Oregon reservation, attacked a small Army detachment at Lost River, then killed several White settlers, before returning to the sanctuary of their native land, 32 miles of volcanic caverns and cliffs at Lava Beds, California. On January 17, 1973 Major John Green led a cavalry detachment to dislodge the Modoc force and return them to the reservation. Under cover of a heavy morning fog and confused in the maze of natural fortifications in the Lava Beds, Major Green’s forces came under a blistering attack that killed or wounded many soldiers and caused the remainder to break ranks and lose combat discipline. As the fog lifted, Major Green was so upset at his own men for their lack of discipline and courage, began to walk back and forth along the line in full view of the Modoc forces. As bullets whizzed past him, he ignored them and shouted orders and words of encouragement to his soldiers, slapping his gloves into his palm for emphasis. (Later the Indians said Green’s glove must have had “magical powers” to shield him so effectively from their fire. Cavalry Surgeon John Skinner also earned a Medal of Honor in this action.”
A great historical document from the Indian Wars era. The commission comes with a large reproduced image of John Green in full dress uniform.