George Henry Wanton
Master Sergeant, United States Army
Photo Courtesy of the Home Of Heroes
Born at Paterson, New Jersey in 1868, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Spanish-American War while serving as Private, Troop M, 10th United States Cavalry at Tryabacoa, Cuba, June 30, 1898. He was a member of the all-black 10th Cavalry.
He died on November 27, 1940 and was buried
in Section 4 of Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1889 Wanton enlisted at Paterson, in Troop M, 10th U.S. Cavalry. In 1892 Wanton received a promotion to Corporal but had been demoted back to his rank as Private when he earned the Medal of Honor.
Private Wanton earned the Medal of Honor on June 30, 1898, at Tayabacoa, Cuba. His citation reads as follows:
Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.
On June 30, 1898, units of the 10th Cavalry, aboard the U.S.S. Florida, attempted a landing at Tayabacoa on the east coast of Cuba to link up with up with Cuban insurgent forces under General Gomes. Unfortunately, the landing was effected only a few hundred yards from a block-house where a Spanish garrison was posted. Shortly after the landing, the U.S. forces were ambushed and the majority of troops abandoned the beachhead, leaving behind at least 16 wounded comrades, who were taken prisoner by the Spaniards.
Back aboard the U.S.S. Florida, a call for volunteers to rescue the 16 men was made. After several unsuccessful attempts at saving the men had been made by others, Private Wanton, Private Dennis Bell, Private Fitz Lee and Private William H. Thompkins stepped forward and volunteered for the assignment of recovering the prisoners.. Putting ashore in a launch, Wanton and his men surprised the Spanish forces holding the prisoners in a stockade and secured their release. Wanton and his men, together with the freed prisoners, were all able to return safely the ship.
For this deed, Dennis Bell, Private Fitz Lee, Private William H. Thompkins and Private George Henry Wanton were all awarded the Medal of Honor on June 23, 1899.
Wanton was promoted to Sergeant in 1898 and served the remainder of his army career with the 10th Cavalry. Sergeant Wanton retired from the service in 1925. He was invited to visit Washington and act as an Honorary Pall Bearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier of World War I in the Memorial Amphitheater at the Arlington National Cemetery in 1921.
George Henry Wanton died on November 27, 1940 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia.
WANTON, GEORGE H
WANTON, HELEN B W/O GEORGE H
Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006
Page Updated: 7 October 2000 Page Updated: 1 May 2001 Updated: 25 January 2003 Updated: 1 October 2004 Updated: 6 December 2004
Updated: 14 September 2005 Updated: 24 August 2006
Photos By M. R. Patterson, 3 December 2004