Cpl. Leander Herron, Co. A, 3rd U.S. Infantry, is the only soldier to be stationed at Fort Dodge and Fort Larned to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Herron received the award in 1917 for his actions in the Battle of Coon Creek that took place Sept. 2-3, 1868, overlooking the Santa Fe Trail Dry Route crossing of Coon Creek, which is 11 miles northeast of Fort Dodge, according to Herron's bio.
Recently, Boot Hill Casino Mariah Fund and the National Santa Fe Trail Association made grants for a storyboard in honor of Herron.
The storyboard is located at 125 Road and Jewel Road, not far from where his battle took place.
The grants were made possible through a presentation of Leo Oliva to the entities.
Herron was a highlight of the Dodge City Daily Globe Historical Speaking, where historian Kathie Bell wrote, "Herron was born in Pennsylvania in 1846. At the beginning of the Civil War, the Union Army rejected him because he was only 14.
"At the age of 17 at 5-feet one-inch, and 100 pounds, he joined the Pennsylvania Infantry. He appears in a famous photograph with Generals Grant and Meade taken at Massaponnax Church, Virginia in 1864. At the end of the War, he mustered out, joined Company A of the 3rd Infantry and was stationed at Fort Larned.
"Herron split his duties between Fort's Dodge and Larned as a courier linking the two outposts. On the evening of Sept. 1, 1868, Herron left Fort Larned with mail bound for Fort Dodge. During his travels, he passed a group of four soldiers from Fort Dodge gathering wood. "The next morning during his return trip with Corporal Patrick Boyle of the 7th Cavalry, things got ugly. Twelve miles east of Fort Dodge at a crossing of Coon Creek south of today’s Spearville they heard gunfire. Indians were attacking the wood gathering party.
"Pistols drawn, Herron and Boyle rode straight through the attackers to reach the four-man detail. Herron took charge as the six men fought 50 Indians from behind a wagon. Herron sent Boyle back to Fort Dodge for reinforcements as the remaining men faced assaults throughout the night.
"Ammunition got low and all men except Herron were wounded, before Boyle returned with reinforcements. The Indians fled and all men were saved."
Herron's account was published after he wrote of it in 1913, according to his bio.
This account made its way throughout the nation, eventually landing in Congress, leading to his Medal of Honor.
Herron's own account when the Kiowa retreated was that "the wagon and mules were riddled with bullets and the wagon box was was nearly covered with arrows.
"General Philip Sheridan issued an order saying, 'thanks and high appreciation of the gallantry, energy and bravery displayed by those engaged.' "
Historians of the battle also state that Boyle is also deserving of the Medal of Honor for his part. However, he has not been considered.
Boyle died in 1913.
For more information on Herron, visit www.nps.gov/fols/learn/historyculture/corporal-leander-herron.htm.
Editor's Note: This story is part of the Good News Initiative where the Dodge City Daily Globe will be highlighting a positive news story daily, sponsored by First Dental of Dodge City.
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