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HARRINGTON, JOHN (1848–1905). John Harrington, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Detroit, Michigan, in 1848. On September 12, 1874, Private Harrington was with Company H, Sixth United States Cavalry, at Washita River, Texas, when he was sent with Sgt. Zachariah Woodall, privates Peter Roth and George Smith, and scouts William (Billy) Dixon and Amos Chapman to carry dispatches for Nelson A. Miles to Camp Supply. They were attacked by 100 warriors, in what became known as the Buffalo Wallow Fight. Smith was killed, Chapman's leg was shattered, and Harrington was wounded in the hip. The men took refuge in an old buffalo wallow, which they deepened with their hands and knives. In the afternoon a cold rain began to fall, and by nightfall the Indians left. On the morning of the thirteenth Dixon left the wallow and made contact with troops commanded by Maj. William Price, who in turn notified Miles of their condition. Miles sent an ambulance on the fourteenth, which took the men to Camp Supply. All five were awarded the Medal of Honor. Harrington returned to duty and remained in service until at least 1898. He is buried at the San Antonio National Cemetery.


Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973). Robert M. Utley, Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866–1891 (New York: Macmillan, 1973).

Art Leatherwood

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Art Leatherwood, "HARRINGTON, JOHN," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.