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John W. Comfort Papers


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Comfort, John W., 1844-1893.

John W. Comfort was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1844. He was a career soldier, reenlisting continually in the Army from 1861 to 1890, and still serving in 1892. He participated in many battles during the Civil War, particularly in Georgia, including the sieges of Atlanta and Savannah. On 13 October 1875 Comfort received a Medal of Honor for his bravery associated with a battle against the Kiowa and Comanche in Staked Plains, Texas, on 5 November 1874. The citation for the medal plainly states, "Ran down and killed an Indian." As the materials in this collection demonstrate, he was a keen observer of his experiences at the Battle of Wounded Knee. Comfort died on 29 November 1893 in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Consists of a letter by Comfort to his brother, Winchester ["Chess"], a hand-drawn map of the "Battle Ground of Wounded Knee Creek," a first-hand narrative of the Battle of Wounded Knee, the "Military History of John W. Comfort. U.S. Army," and a photograph of Comfort wearing his Medal of Honor.

The collection has been arranged in the following order: letter, map, narrative, military history, and photograph.

Gift of Joseph R. Harbeson '1974.

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004. Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Karla J. Vecchia
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Autograph letter signed by Comfort to his brother, Winchester ["Chess"], in Philadelphia, PA, written from Fort Sheridan, I.T., 3 p., 1892 April 5. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

[envelope postmarked 6 April 1892]

Mentions the enclosure of Comfort's first-hand narrative of "the last Sioux Campaign and rough sketch of the Battle Ground of Wounded Knee."

Physical Description

1 box

"Battle Ground of Wounded Knee Creek," hand-drawn map, includes legend, 1 p., dates not examined. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

"Fought on the 29th of December 1890 between the 7th Regt U.S. Cav', four (4) Hotchkiss Mountain Guns of Battery "E" 1st Art'y, and Big Foot's band of Sioux Indians-resulting in the destruction of Big Foot and his band."

Physical Description

1 box

Narrative of the Battle of Wounded Knee, 31 pp., dates not examined. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

Begins, "The killing of Sitting Bull and a few of his immediate followers by the Indian Police, from Standing Rock Agency who had been sent to arrest him left only Big-Foot's Band, re-enforced by renegades from Sitting Bull's and others in a hostile attitude."

Physical Description

1 box

"Military History of John W. Comfort. U.S. Army," 3 p., dates not examined. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

Chronological list of Comfort's military service, including his rank and the battles in that he participated.

Physical Description

1 box

Photograph of Comfort in military dress wearing his Medal of Honor, [Fort Sill, IL, ], circa 1875. 1 box.
Physical Description

1 box

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