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NEAL, SOLON D.

NEAL, SOLON D. (1846–1920). Solon D. Neal, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in 1846 to Eli and May Neal at Hanover, New Hampshire. He attended Hanover public schools. He ran away from home in 1866, joined the United States Army, and served in Bonham, McKinney, Jefferson, and Greenville, Texas. In early 1870, with four years of cavalry experience, he was a private in Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. After being relieved of duties as post librarian at Fort Richardson, he served under the command of Capt. Curwen B. McLellan against Kiowa and Comanche Indians. On July 12, after pursuing a band of Kiowas since July 6, the company was attacked by 250 Indians. The encounter became known as the battle of the Little Wichita River. On the afternoon of the thirteenth, after intense fighting since the afternoon before, sergeants May and Kirk, together with Corporal Watson and Private Neal, volunteered to clear a high point of Indian snipers who were obstructing the retreat of the army. Two of the snipers were killed. The four men held the hill until the command was safely past. Thirty minutes later the Indians quit fighting and rode away. Neal and twelve others were awarded the Medal of Honor for "Gallantry in Action" in this engagement. Neal was subsequently in and out of the army. He served with the Eleventh United States Infantry at Fort Richardson, with Company C, Eighth United States Cavalry at Fort Clark, with the Nineteenth and Sixteenth United States Infantry, and as ordinance sergeant at the Indianapolis Arsenal. He retired in 1897, returned to Texas, and resided in San Antonio at 106 Wyoming Street, the site of the Hemisfair '68 tower. He died on November 1, 1920, in the Station Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, and was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. He left all his earthly wealth ($5,000) to the American Red Cross.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Jack Loftin, Trails Through Archer (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1979). Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973).

Art Leatherwood

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Art Leatherwood, "NEAL, SOLON D.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fnesy), accessed August 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 2, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.