Sergeant William Grafton Austin, E Troop, 7th Cavalry – Conspicuous Gallantry

Army at Wounded Knee

He displayed great bravery in crossing the ravine under a hot fire and maintained his position there until his troop was withdrawn at the time the Hotchkiss gun was put in position.
–Lieutenant Sedgwick Rice

Sergeant William G. Austin had been in the cavalry and B Troop a month shy of four years when shots rang out on the Wounded Knee and the melee ensued at the council circle.  By army records the native Texan from Savannah, Georgia, was twenty-eight; in fact he was only twenty-two at the time of the battle. Despite his youth, Austin proved to be a leader of men rising rapidly to the rank of sergeant.  His leadership was evident on 29 December catching the attention of the three officers of E Troop.

In the middle of March 1890, Lieutenants Horatio G. Sickel and Sedgwick Rice recommended Sergeant Austin and several other soldiers be awarded the Medal of Honor…

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