Artifacts Twenty

Sgt. George Jordan was born a slave in Williamson county, Tennessee. Following his emacipation, he joined the United States Cavalry where he rose to prominence as a “Buffalo Soldier” and eventually field commanded the 9th Cavalry’s K Troop. In battles against the Apaches, Jordan distinguished himself in combat as one of the best and, for his actions under fire, was awarded the Medal of Honor. This is the only known photograph of the Tennessean (sitting 3rd from the left) He passed away in 1904 after a U.S. Army surgeon refused to admit him to a Post Hospital in Nebraska.

Photo courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society

United States Eighth Air Force General Nathan Bedford Forrest III was the great-grandson of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was killed in 1943 during a B-17 raid over the submarine yards of Kiel, Germany. He was regarded as one of the best and youngest Air Force Generals of his day. He was declared dead and posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross. After World War II, his body was recovered from Germany and he was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery-ironically on grounds once owned by his great-grandfather’s commanding officer, General Robert E. Lee.

Photo courtesy Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

Clay Allison was born around 1840 and raised on the family farm near Clifton, Tennessee.He joined the Confederate Army of Tennessee at age 21 and served with the Tennessee Light Artillery Division. After the war, a Union soldier tried to confiscate the Allison farm. Clay Allison promptly shot the Union corporal and left for Texas where he went on to become recognized as one of the best gunfighters of the Old West. In addition, he was also regarded as a first rate cowhand and became a successful rancher in both Texas and New Mexico. Allison detested the label "gunfighter" and, when interviewed by a Missouri reporter, who asked him what he considered himself to be, Allison remarked "I am a shootist." On July 1, 1887 while on his way home, he was killed when, in a drunken stupor, he fell off a buckboard he was driving and rolled under the wagon. The horses bolted forward and crushed Allison under its wheels. He is buried in Pecos, Texas.

Pictures courtesy Texas Historical Society

Msgt. Ray Duke received the National Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War and also holds the South Korean equivalent of the medal. Following his capture by the North Koreans after a valiant stand that earned him the US Medal of Honor, Duke was tortured and medical service withheld until he decided to inform on the South Korean Units he had trained. Duke refused to cooperate and endanger the men to North Korean attacks. The Tennessean starved to death in the P.O.W. Camp and was awarded the South Korean Medal of Honor for his courage and bravery under the extreme conditions. The Tennessean is the only American serviceman to hold both medals.

Photo courtesy National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History

The Korean War National Monument in Washington, D.C. commemorating the soldiers of what is called "America's Forgotten War.

Photo courtesy National Park Service

Cherokee native PFC Charles George is the only member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee to receive the Medal of Honor. He was on a detail that captured North Korean soldiers in an daring midnight assault and was shot while covering the retreat of his men. Although severely wounded, PFC Charles George covered his own mouth to keep from crying out and giving away their position to the enemy. His men recovered him and carried him to a nearby aid station, where George later died of his injuries.

Cherokee Veterans Monument in Cherokee, North Carolina commemorating all Cherokee Veterans who have fought

for the United States. A bust of Charles George sits on the centerpiece monument.

Photo courtesy Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation

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