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GIVEN, JOHN J. (1840–1870). John J. Given, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1840. As a corporal in Company K, Sixth United States Cavalry, he was cited for "bravery in action" at the battle of the Little Wichita River, July 12, 1870. On duty with Company L and under the command of Capt. Curwen Boyd McLellan, fifty men were engaged in a battle with 200 Indians. During the battle the horse of 2d Lt. H. P. Perrine, commander of the rear guard, was shot from under him. Given, seeing Perrine's plight, turned his horse around and drove off attacking Kiowas. Private Blum, a close friend of Given, was shot in the head. Given requested and received permission to go to his aid; he gave his picture and those of his sisters and sweetheart to guide James Dosher to hold until he got back. As Given reached the side of his friend, Kicking Bird, the Kiowa chief, rode out of an arroyo and drove his war lance into Givens's back, killing him instantly. For this and other actions Given and twelve others were cited for bravery in action and awarded the Medal of Honor. Givens's body was never recovered from the battlefield. A headstone "In Memoriam" stands at the San Antonio National Cemetery.


Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973).

Art Leatherwood

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

Art Leatherwood, "GIVEN, JOHN J.," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 2, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.