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Sgt. Henry T. Bradford, Company F, 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment. Wounded in Action on 1 July 1898 at the Battle of San Juan Hill, Cuba during the Santiago Campaign when he was shot in the chest with the bullet exiting his back. Born on 18 November 1872 in Pendleton County, Kentucky, he enlisted in the Army on 4 May 1897 and was discharged on 22 January 1899 because of his wounds.
Sgt. Bradford was wounded in one of the most famous battles in American history. The Battle of San Juan Hill has been immortalized by the actions of future President Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders." The 6th U.S. Infantry was part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division when it landed in Cuba. The 1st Division began moving towards San Juan Hill at 4:45 AM on 1 July 1898 and by 10 AM the entire Division crossed the Aguadores River under heavy Spanish Mauser fire at "Bloody Ford." The Division lost almost 100 men at this point.
The 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment began an unsupported attack from the South-East of the Spanish positions on San Juan Hill. The Regiment took up a firing line about 400 yards from the Spanish positions and remained unsupported for over an hour before the 16th U.S. Infantry deployed on their left flank. Spanish fire was so heavy that the U.S. 3rd Brigade, which was attempting to move behind the 6th Infantry Regiment and deploy further to the left, lost 3 commander before they were finally able to get on line.
During this time, the 6th U.S. Infantry continued to fire steadily on the Spanish positions. Companies E and F, where Sgt. Bradford served, were sent forward as skirmishers, only to be driven back. With the U.S. attack plan in tatters, the Commanders decided to attack rather then withdraw. Lt. Jules Ord volunteered to lead the attack and Company A, of the 6th Infantry suddenly surged forward while the other Companies were attempting to reform. With the company commanders screaming for the men to move forward, the regulars of the 6th and 16th U.S. Infantry Regiments ran across the open field at the base of San Juan Hill. The men of the two regiments became intermingled and then mixed the men from the 13th Infantry Regiment attacking from farther to the left. The heat was so great that many men collapsed from heat stroke as they moved up the slope. At around 1:15 PM, the regulars tore at the Spanish barbed wire with their hands and fell into the Spanish trenches, fighting hand to hand. Most of the Spanish fell back in good order, but about 3 dozen stubbornly defended the Block House on the top of the hill. Men from the 6th, 13th and 16th Regiments, climbed onto the roof and broke through the roof tiles with their rifles before 15 of them jumped into the Block House and fought hand to hand with the remaining Spanish defenders. At the end of the battle, the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment had suffered 105 wounded and 17 killed of its original 464 officers and men.
Sgt. Bradford received his Purple Heart on 27 June 1939.