Edward Settle Godfrey (1843 - 1932)

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About Edward Settle Godfrey



Edward Settle Godfrey (October 9, 1843 – April 1, 1932) was a United States Army Brigadier General who received the Medal of Honor for leadership as a captain during the Indian Wars.

Early life and education

Godfrey was born October 9, 1843 in Ottawa, Ohio. He enlisted as a private in the US Army during the American Civil War in 1861. He served in Company D, 21st Ohio Infantry.

Because of his skills, he was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1867.


Godfrey joined the 7th United States Cavalry and as a lieutenant was a survivor of Battle of the Little Bighorn. He wrote an account of the battle and his experiences in it, originally published in Century Magazine in January 1892, which was highly influential in shaping perceptions of the battle and Custer's generalship. Despite being severely wounded at the Battle of Bear Paw Mountain against Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians, September 30, 1877, Godfrey continued to lead his men in battle. He received the Medal of Honor in 1894 for his leadership actions during this battle.

Godfrey was breveted major on February 27, 1890. He served in Cuba in 1898 during the Spanish–American War and in the Philippine-American War overseas (1899–1902). He retired from the Army on October 9, 1907 with the rank of Brigadier General.

At the ceremony of the burial of the Unknown Soldier from World War I in Arlington, Virginia, Godfrey led two platoons of Medal of Honor awardees as participants.

Godfrey died on April 1, 1932 at Cookstown, New Jersey. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 3. His second wife, Ida Emely Godfrey, was buried with him after her death.

Marriage and family

His first wife died before the turn of the century. Their surviving children in 1932 were Mary Godfrey and E.S. Godfrey, Jr., who became a physician. On October 6, 1892, Edward married Ida D. Emely Godfrey (1856–1941), his second wife.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Captain, 7th U.S. Cavalry.

Place and date: At Bear Paw Mountain, Mont., 30 September 1877.

Entered service at: Ottawa, Putnam County, Ohio.

Born: 9 October 1843, Ottawa, Ohio.

Date of issue: 27 November 1894.


Led his command into action when he was severely wounded.

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1st Lt. Edward Settle Godfrey, 7th U.S. Cavalry (Brig. General post Indian Wars)'s Timeline