John Brown Kerr

John Brown Kerr (March 12, 1847 – February 27, 1928) was a United States Army Brigadier General who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in fighting Indians along the White River, South Dakota.[1]

John Brown Kerr
John B. Kerr.jpg
Col. John B. Kerr in 1904
Born(1847-03-12)March 12, 1847
Lexington, Kentucky
DiedFebruary 27, 1928(1928-02-27) (aged 80)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1870–1909
RankBrigadier General
Unit6th Cavalry Regiment
Commands held12th Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsAmerican Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
AwardsMedal of Honor
Silver Star

Early life and the western frontierEdit

Kerr was born near Lexington, Kentucky, on March 12, 1847. Kerr was an 1870 graduate of West Point.

He spent most of his Army career on the western frontier, chiefly as a scout in the 6th Cavalry Regiment on the western frontier. On January 1, 1891, he commanded his troop of the 6th U.S. Cavalry in action against the Sioux on the north bank of the White River in South Dakota. In this action, he defeated a force of 300 Brule Sioux warriors and was awarded the Medal of Honor for this action in April of the same year.

Spanish–American WarEdit

In the Spanish–American War, he fought at the Battle of San Juan Hill as a captain in the 2nd Squadron of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. He was promoted to major in the same regiment in October 1898.[2] He received a citation for gallantry in action during the Santiago campaign. The citation was later converted to the Silver Star when the award was created in 1932.[3]

In May 1901 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to the 9th Cavalry Regiment. On July 15, 1902 he was detailed as an assistant adjutant general.

Later careerEdit

In 1903 he was promoted to colonel and commanded the 12th Cavalry Regiment in the Philippine–American War.[4] He was promoted to brigadier general in 1908, and commanded the Mounted Service School until his retirement from the Army on May 20, 1909.

He died at Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C., on February 27, 1928 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on March 1, 1928.[5][6]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

For distinguished bravery on 1 January 1891, while in command of his troop of the 6th U.S. Cavalry, in action against hostile Sioux Indians on the north bank of the White River, near the mouth of Little Grass Creek, South Dakota, where he defeated a force of 300 Brule Sioux warriors, and turned the Sioux tribe, which was endeavoring to enter the Bad Lands, back into the Pine Ridge Agency. General Orders: Date of Issue: April 25, 1891[7]




  • 2nd Lieutenant – June 15, 1870
  • 1st Lieutenant – August 1, 1874
  • Captain – January 3, 1885
  • Major – October 24, 1898
  • Lieutenant Colonel – May 31, 1901
  • Colonel – March 30, 1903
  • Brigadier General – April 13, 1908


  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients Indian Wars Period". Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
  2. ^ Register of the Military Order of Foreign Wars. 1900. pg. 179.
  3. ^ "John Kerr - Recipient -".
  4. ^ "Army General Staff" (PDF). The New York Times. 1903-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  5. ^ "John Brown Kerr". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  6. ^ "Died". The Washington Post. March 1, 1928. p. 3.
  7. ^ "John Kerr - Recipient -".
  8. ^ Official Army Register. 1910. pg. 478.

External linksEdit