On This Day
1890 – Following the Wounded Knee Massacre, the United States Army and Lakota warriors face off in the Drexel Mission Fight.
The Drexel Mission Fight was an armed confrontation between Lakota warriors and the United States Army that took place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on December 30, 1890, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. The fight occurred on White Clay Creek approximately 15 miles (24 km) north of Pine Ridge where Lakota were purported to have burned the Catholic Mission.
Seventh Cavalry under the command of Col. James W. Forsyth with eight troops and a battery of artillery (Battery E, 1st Artillery), the same elements engaged at Wounded Knee the previous day, became engaged by Brulé Lakota from the Rosebud Indian Reservation after reconnoitering to determine if the Catholic mission had been torched. These Indians were purported to be the same Brulé Lakota under Chief Two Strike that had attacked the 9th Cavalry’s supply train earlier that morning. The Seventh Cavalry was hotly engaged in a valley by the combined Lakota forces while trying to break contact and withdraw. A battalion of the Ninth Cavalry, a Buffalo Soldier regiment under the command of Maj. Guy V. Henry and nicknamed the Henry’s Brunettes, responded to Forsyth’s request for assistance, and the combined cavalry forces drove the Lakota from commanding positions on the heights.
In an investigation of the Drexel Mission fight, Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, the commanding general of the Pine Ridge Campaign, severely criticized Forsyth for allowing his command to be pinned down in a valley. He submitted his findings as a supplement to his investigation of Forsyth’s conduct at Wounded Knee. Secretary of War Redfield Proctor set aside the Drexel Mission investigation after exonerating Forsyth of any wrongdoing at Wounded Knee.
Three soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at White Clay Creek including to Captain Charles A. Varnum, First Sergeant Theodore Ragnar, and Farrier Richard J. Nolan. Almost three decades later Second Lieutenant Sedgwick Rice was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal.
Born On This Day
1924 – Yvonne Brill, Canadian-American propulsion engineer (d. 2013)
Yvonne Madelaine Brill (née Claeys; December 30, 1924 – March 27, 2013) was a Canadian-American rocket and jet propulsion engineer. During her career she was involved in a broad range of national space programs in the United States, including NASA and the International Maritime Satellite Organization.
Neil James Innes (/ˈɪnɪs/; 9 December 1944 – 29 December 2019) was an English writer, comedian and musician. He collaborated with Monty Python and played in The Rutles and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
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