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NEWS | June 24, 2017

29th Division Band performs at ceremony honoring Medal of Honor recipient

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

The Virginia National Guard’s 29th Division Band provided music June 24, 2017, in Madison, Virginia, for a ceremony dedicating a new historical highway marker honoring a U.S. Army corporal awarded the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism” during a U.S. cavalry fight with Apache Indians on Jan. 24, 1877, in the Florida Mountains of New Mexico.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources approved the marker dedicated to Cpl. Clinton Greaves, and the event was organized by American Legion Post #157. According to the DHR web site, Greaves was born in Madison County, very likely into slavery, and he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1872 and served as a corporal in Company C, 9th Cavalry.

The web site indicates that after he was freed from slavery, Greaves went to Prince Georges County, Maryland, where he worked as a laborer. When he joined the Army Nov. 12, 1872, he “made his mark” of an X on his enlistment papers because he was illiterate. The enlisting officer apparently misunderstood his name and wrote “Greaves,” and that name was then used on all of his Army records, though the1890 census, civil, death, burial and cemetery records were recorded “Graves.”

According to the U.S. Army Center for Military History, the Medal of Honor citation for Greaves indicates “While part of a small detachment to persuade a band of renegade Apache Indians to surrender, his group was surrounded. Cpl. Greaves in the center of the savage hand-to-hand fighting, managed to shoot and bash a gap through the swarming Apaches, permitting his companions to break free.”

President Rutherford B. Hayes awarded him the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism” on 26 June 26, 1879.

Greaves served in the Army for more than 20 years, reaching the rank of sergeant before his discharge in 1893. He then went on to work as a civilian for the Quartermaster Department. He died in 1906 and is buried in Ohio. A U.S. military base in the Republic of Korea was later named Camp Greaves in his honor.

According to the CMH, the President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration was created in 1861.

The Medal of Honor History Society of the United States reports that 426 Medals of Honor have been awarded for the acts of heroism during the Indian Campaigns, and Greaves was one of 14 Buffalo Soldiers to be honored during the Indian Wars.

The 29th Division Band consists of 34 enlisted Soldiers and one chief warrant officer. Its mission is to support the Virginia National Guard as well as other organizations with musical performances around the state.

In addition to the full band, the 29th Division Band contains 18 different musical performance teams. These include the concert band, marching band, ceremonial band, rock band, jazz ensemble, jazz combo, brass ensemble, brass quintet, saxophone ensemble, clarinet ensemble, flute ensemble, trombone ensemble, an F horn/euphonium ensemble, the fife and drum, the color guard and a sound reinforcement team.

According to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Don Carlson, commander of the band, the Soldiers of the 29th Division Band perform an average of 45 missions per year, half of which are community support events. Unlike the other half of their missions, these are performed for civilian audiences, many of whom have limited knowledge about the Virginia National Guard. At the end of every concert, attendees are encouraged to talk with Soldiers to learn more about their mission, the Virginia National Guard and the military in general.

Read more about the 29th Division Band’s recent performance at the dedication ceremony for the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown at

More info:

Seven new state historical highway markers approved

Army Center for Military History – Medal of Honor Recipients Indian Wars Period

Corporal Clinton Greaves Memorial Marker Ceremony 1pm, road closed 12:40pm

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