American Indian Campaign Medal

The Indian Campaign Medal, often referred to as the Indian Wars Medal, was established 16 years after the last action for which it was awarded by War Department General Order 12 in 1907. It recognizes various campaigns against Indian tribes between 1865 and 1891. It was created at the same time as the Civil War Campaign Medal. Approximately just under 4,000 medals were issued retroactively. The U.S. Mint produced 1,927 medals with consecutive rim numbers beginning with No prefixes. The Mint subsequently produced and additional 1,750 medals with the MNo prefix rim numbers. An additional 250 medals were produced privately with no rim numbers.

The Code of Federal Regulations describes the medal as follows:

The bronze is 1-1/4 (31.75mm) inches in diameter. The obverse features a mounted Indian facing sinister, wearing a war bonnet, and carrying a spear in his right hand. Above the horseman are the words INDIAN WARS, and below, on either side of a buffalo skull, the circle is completed by arrowheads, conventionally arranged. The reverse features a trophy composed of an eagle, wings spread, perched on a cannon supported by crossed flags, rifles, an Indian shield, spear, a quiver of arrows, a Cuban machete, and a Sulu kris. Below the trophy are the words FOR SERVICE on two lines. The whole is surrounded by a circle composed of the words UNITED STATES ARMY in the upper half and thirteen stars in the lower half. The medals are rim numbered either MNo or No except for those produced privately.

Indian Campaign Medal Numbered MNo 1470

The medal is suspended by a ring from a silk moiré ribbon 1-3/8 inches (34.9mm) in length and 1-3/8 inches (34.9mm) in width composed of a red stripe 1/4-inch (6.35mm), black stripe 3/16-inch (4.76mm), red band 1/2-inch (12.7mm), black stripe 3/16-inch (4.76mm), and a red stripe 1/4-inch (6.35mm).

The Indian Campaign Medal was issued as a one-time only decoration and there were no devices or service stars authorized for those who had participated in multiple actions. The only attachment authorized to the medal was the 3/16-inch (4.76mm) silver citation star, awarded for meritorious or heroic conduct. The silver citation star was the predecessor of the Silver Star Medal and was awarded to eleven soldiers between 1865 and 1891. The medal is occasionally encountered with an unofficial cavalry device, (crossed sabers laid over a circular disk with the cavalry unit number above) on its suspension ribbon.

Silver Citation Star and Unofficial 10th Cavalry Device

Indian Campaign Medal with Original Ribbon No 759 and Medal with Unofficial 10th Cavalry Device

As originally issued, the medal had a solid red ribbon. In 1917, two black stripes were added to the ribbon. The reason for this change is that the ribbon of the Indian Campaign Medal was easily confused with the ribbon of the French Legion of Honor, which seems highly unlikely, but which also had a solid red ribbon.

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