South Loup River

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring Sioux Nation Forts

The following is from the book, Indian Wars, by Bill Yenne.

The next major battle in Nebraska to warrant the Congressional Medal of Honor occurred on the South Loup Fork of the Platte River (also known as the South Loup River) on April 26, 1872. When a band of Minneconjou rustled some horses belonging to the Union Pacific Railroad, Captain Charles Meinhold took a detachment of 3rd Cavalry troopers out to recover them. Buffalo Bill Cody, then working as a scout with the regiment, joined the patrol. Cody took eleven men to scout the south bank of the river, while Meinhold and the balance of the command rode across to reconnoiter the opposite shore. It was Cody's contingent who found the Minneconjou. They attacked, killing three, one of whom was claimed by Cody. The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to Sergeant John Foley, Private William Strayer, and Sergeant Leroy Vokes, as well as to Cody. Buffalo Bill's medal was rescinded in 1916, along with many others that had been awarded to civilians in the nineteenth century because it was felt that only military personnel should have them. But in June 1989, the U.S. Army Board of Correction of Records restored the medal to Buffalo Bill.

The early 1870s would not see a repeat of 1869s intense campaigning on the central Plains. The region was no longer a major theater operations in the Indian Wars, but action on the Northern Plains had barely begun.

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