On this day in history, February 13, 1861, Army surgeon J.D. Irwin rescues 60 men, first Medal of Honor action

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U.S. Army adjunct surgeon Bernard John Dowling "J.D." Irwin rescued a kidnapped boy and 60 soldiers encircled by legendary Apache warrior Cochise connected this time successful history, Feb. 13, 1861.

Irwin's heroic unpaid effort nether dire circumstances successful the Arizona Territory has gone down successful American subject lore arsenic nan first Congressional Medal of Honor action. 

It took spot earlier nan grant moreover existed.

The Medal of Honor, nan nation's highest nickname of valor, was created nan pursuing twelvemonth during nan Civil War. 

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Irwin received nan Medal of Honor successful 1894.  

The surgeon volunteered to lead 14 men and a mule train connected a 100-mile trek done a blizzard during nan rescue effort. 

The melodramatic brushwood began days earlier erstwhile a set of Apaches kidnapped a young boy who had settled nan Arizona Territory pinch his family, according to galore sources.

The abduction led to a frantic pursuit by American troops from Fort Breckenridge, who were past surrounded by nan Apaches. 

"Assistant Surgeon Irwin voluntarily took bid of troops and attacked and defeated dispute Indians he met connected nan way," sounds Irwin's Medal of Honor citation, issued much than 30 years later.

"Surgeon Irwin volunteered to spell to nan rescue of Second Lieutenant George N. Bascom, 7th Infantry, who pinch 60 men was trapped by Chiricahua Apaches nether Cochise … Irwin and 14 men, not having horses, began nan 100-mile march riding mules. After fighting and capturing Indians, recovering stolen horses and cattle, he reached Bascom's file and thief break his siege." 

HomeofHeroes.com, a website devoted to Medal of Honor history, offers a much melodramatic relationship of nan landmark time in subject lore.

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"Accustomed to utilizing his aesculapian skills to prevention lives, Irwin was wished to now usage his subject skills to prevention his comrades," nan outlet notes. 

He was allowed only mules and a fistful of men because of constricted resources astatine Fort Breckenridge.

"Faced pinch a trek of 100 miles successful nan midst of a wintertime blizzard, nan logistics of nan ngo were arsenic improbable arsenic nan anticipation of encountering nan overmuch larger force force, defeating them, and rescuing nan captives."

What followed connected Feb. 13 successful Apache Pass, Arizona, was an enactment of tactical ingenuity successful nan look of overwhelming odds. 

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"With a cautiously laid retired scheme and maximum placement of his 14 men, Irwin succeeded successful convincing nan Indian warriors that he had arrived pinch a overmuch larger force, causing them to withdraw," HomeofHeroes.com reports.

"Bascom's 60 men were liberated and joined Irwin and his 14 soldiers. The unified unit past pursued Cochise into nan mountains, wherever they were capable to prosecute him and rescue nan captive boy."

Irwin was calved successful County Roscommon, Ireland, successful 1830 and moved to nan United States sometime successful nan 1840s. 

He joined nan New York militia arsenic a teenager, studied medicine and became a U.S. Army surgeon successful 1856. 

He served arsenic a battlefield surgeon of renown successful nan Civil War, astir notably successful nan Battle of Shiloh successful 1862. 

He was astatine 1 constituent during nan warfare captured and concisely held captive by Confederate forces. 

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Irwin yet achieved nan rank of brigadier general. 

He was highly accomplished successful battlefield medicine and successful surgery, beyond conscionable his heroic exploits successful earning nan nation's highest grant for valor.  

"During nan Indian Wars, Irwin served arsenic an adjunct surgeon, and was credited pinch performing nan first room successful nan authorities of Arizona and inventing nan first shelter infirmary during nan Civil War," writes Health.mil, nan website of nan Military Health System and Defense Health Agency. 

The tract adds, "Irwin was besides an exceptional commander." 

Irwin's boy George and grandson Stafford served successful World War I and World War II, respectively, and some became generals successful nan U.S. Army. He died successful 1917 astatine property 87. 

Brig. Gen. J.D. Irwin is buried astatine nan U.S. Military Academy Cemetery successful West Point.

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