Corporal, Company M, 5th U.S. Cavalry. For actions near Republican River, KS.
July 08, 1869
Born in Cincinnati, OH, or possibly Chicago, IL, Kyle (sometimes spelled Kile) entered the Army as a Private in Custer's 7th Cavalry. Kyle deserted from the 7th and almost immediately joined the 5th Cavalry instead; he was exonerated of desertion charges and promoted to Corporal in May 1869.
Kyle served in the Plains Indian Wars with the 5th Cavalry, pursuing Sioux and Cheyenne war parties refusing to return to their reservations. At Republican River, KS, Cpl. John Kyle's stand against attacking Indians earned him the Medal of Honor.
On July 8, 1869, Kyle was traveling with Major Eugene Carr, seven companies of the 5th US Cavalry, and some Pawnee Scouts. The group left Fort McPherson for the Republican River, planning to clear the area of Indians. Carr's Pawnee scouts found the village and attacked without being detected. Cheyenne Chief Tall Bull, the leader of the fierce "Dog Soldiers," was killed. His citation reads: "This soldier and 2 others were attacked by 8 Indians, but beat them off and badly wounded 2 of them." The medal was issued on August 24 of that year.
Kyle, who sometimes used the alias John Kelly, died July 18, 1870, in Hays, KS, after being shot in a fight with the sheriff, "Wild Bill" Hickok, who had also been a member of the 7th Cavalry.