June 5, 2012

Henry A. McMasters

Henry A. McMasters, soldier, born Augusta, Maine, 1848, was enlisted with Company A, 4th Cavalry Regiment under Ranald MacKenzie when engaged in combat with the Comanche at Red River, Texas in the late summer of 1872.

As Colonel MacKenzie commanded an expedition over the Staked Plains of Texas in 1872 to find and rout hostile Indian forces, Companies A, D, F, I and L of the 4th US Cavalry made a one-day march to reach the North Fork of the Red River, where a large camp of Comanche was sighted. As the cavalry moved towards the 280 lodge encampment, the Indian ponies stampeded and alarmed the Indians to the soldiers' approach. Immediately they engaged the cavalry in fierce combat, during which Troop I was leading the advance to secure the right flank while the remaining companies attacked the left. In the bloody fight that followed, Corporal Henry McMasters of Troop A was cited for his bravery. In this action the camp was taken with the loss of only one soldier killed and three wounded. For the hostile band of the Mow-wi tribe of Comanche, it was a stinging defeat so devastating, they quickly surrendered at Fort Sill ending 17 years of hostilities.

McMasters died a short few months afterward on November 11, 1872 and buried at San Antonio National Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions the following week.

Gallantry in action.

GPS Coordinates
29° 25.314, -098° 28.022

Section D
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

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