JOHN CONNOR (1845 ~ 1907). Medal of Honor Recipient John Connor was born in Galway, Ireland, in 1845. It is not known when he immigrated to the United States. He enlisted in Company H of the Sixth Cavalry on July 19, 1869, at Jefferson, Texas. Connor served in East Texas during Reconstruction before being transferred to Fort Richardson, Texas.
On May 1, 1870, he was promoted to Corporal. After a Kiowa attack on a mail coach in Jack County, the Sixth Cavalry under Curen B. McClellan attacked a group of about 150 Kiowa on the morning of July 12, 1870, near the Little Wichita River. The Sixth Cavalry was overwhelmed by the Kiowa and formed a defensive square. Corporal Connor was part of the rear guard, which faced intense fighting on the way to the formation. Connor noticed a few soldiers under attack by a group of Kiowa and drove them back with "rapid and accurate" rifle fire. He then escorted the soldiers towards the square when a bullet grazed his forehead and a Kiowa shot the horse out from under him, pinning him underneath. Two soldiers pulled him to safety. The Sixth Cavalry was forced to retreat by the maneuvering of the Kiowa attackers under Chief Kicking Bird, who McClellan praised for his skill as a military leader. Corporal Connor was cited for his bravery during the battle and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 23, 1870, after two months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
Connor was promoted to Sergeant on December 15, 1870, and was discharged from the Army on July 18, 1874. He reenlisted into Battery B of the Second U.S. Artillery at Fort McHenry, Maryland, on January 22, 1875.
Connor remained with the Second Artillery for 15 years, serving in Maryland, Washington D.C., Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Massachusetts. He was discharged on December 5, 1890, and entered the U.S. Soldier's Home in Washington D.C. on December 12 of that year.
Connor married Cora G. Hoover of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on December 7, 1896; they lived in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1905, Connor was admitted to the hospital at the U.S. Soldier's Home and died there on February 5, 1907. He was survived by his wife, whose last known address was in Pittsburgh in 1910. Connor is buried in the U.S. Soldier's Home National Cemetery.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Complex Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. "John Connor," Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/; Neal, Charles M., Jr. Valor Across the Lone Star: The Congressional Medal of Honor in Texas. Texas A&M University Press: 2002.