140 years late, vet­eran lauded with U.S. Medal of Honor

The Washington Times Daily - - AMERICAN SCENE -

A Ne­vada Army vet­eran who died with­out know­ing he won the na­tion’s high­est medal of brav­ery re­ceived the

honor he’s been owed for nearly 140 years in a cer­e­mony on Mon­day.

Ne­vada Rep. Mark E. Amodei held an event at his Reno of­fice to present a new Medal of Honor to Jerry Reynolds, the 82-year-old grand­son and clos­est sur­viv­ing rel­a­tive of the late Pvt. Robert Smith.

Smith fought in a bat­tle against Amer­i­can In­dian tribes in the Dakota Ter­ri­tory on Sept. 9, 1876, when he was 29. Then-Pres­i­dent Ruther­ford B. Hayes ap­proved the Medal of Honor for Smith in 1877 for show­ing “spe­cial brav­ery in en­deav­or­ing to dis­lodge In­di­ans se­creted in a ravine,” ac­cord­ing to Army records.

But the award never made it to the vet­eran, who was born in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, as Harry Reynolds but used an alias for un­known rea­sons. His grand­son said the medal was de­liv­ered to Camp Sheri­dan in Ne­braska

Ter­ri­tory, where Smith pre­vi­ously had lived, but some­one else signed for the pack­age.

Smith re­turned to us­ing his birth name after his dis­charge from the Army, then later moved to Elko, Ne­vada. While he talked with his fam­ily about his ex­pe­ri­ences in the so-called In­dian Wars, he was bet­ter known for his skill driv­ing horses as a team­ster than he was for his war hero­ism, and he died in 1930 with­out know­ing he re­ceived the award.

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