Brig. General Ernest Albert Garlington

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Ernest Albert Garlington

Birthdate: (81)
Birthplace: Newberry, Newberry, SC, USA
Death: October 16, 1934 (81)
San Diego, San Diego County, CA, USA
Place of Burial: Arlington, VA
Immediate Family:

Son of Albert Creswell Garlington, Brig. General (South Carolina Militia) and Sarah Lark "Sally" Moon
Husband of Anna Bowers Buford
Father of Brig. General Creswell Garlington; Buford Garlington and Sally Garlington

Managed by: Janice Lynn Lekich
Last Updated:

About Brig. General Ernest Albert Garlington

Indian Wars Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. The son of a South Carolina Militia general who served the Confederacy during the Civil War, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1876. he would go on to serve during the Indian Wars as a 1st Lieutenant in the 7th United States Cavalry, being posted to that unit to replace officers who were killed at June 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota on December 29, 1890, being severely wounded in the action. His citation simply states: "Distinguished gallantry". His Medal was issued September 26, 1893. He served as United States Army Inspector General in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in the Philippines during the local Insurrection. On October 1, 1906 he was promoted to Brigadier General, and was made Inspector General of the Army. He authored several books, most notable being "Historical Sketches of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment: A Catechism". His name is forever linked to the infamous 1906 "Brownsville Incident" where racists white Texans attempted to frame the towns all-Black Army garrison for attacking the white civilians at night. The actual "attack" in August 1906 was in reality perpetuated by several white members of the populace who were dressed as soldiers, and it resulted in several civilians being killed and wounded. General Garlington was one of two officers sent to investigate the incident. Being a native of South Carolina, he had no love for the African-American soldiers, and ignored any testimony that would contradict the white citizens version and "evidence". In large part due to his biased investigation, all 167 soldiers of the garrison were wrongly discharged without honor. It wouldn't be until 1972 before the soldiers discharges would be changed to "honorable". (bio by: Russ Dodge)

Family links:

 Albert Creswell Garlington (1822 - 1885)
 Sally Moon Garlington (1828 - 1910)

 Anna Buford Garlington (1864 - 1954)*

 Creswell Garlington (1887 - 1945)*
 Buford Garlington (1889 - 1889)*
 Sally Garlington Chamberlin (1890 - 1949)*

Ernest Albert Garlington (February 20, 1853 – October 16, 1934) was a United States Army general who received the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars.

Early life and education

Garlington was born in Newberry, South Carolina as the son of Albert Creswell Garlington, a general in the South Carolina militia during the American Civil War. He entered the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens in 1869; however, he left UGA before graduating to accept an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated from the academy in 1876 and was commissioned on June 15 of that year as a second lieutenant in the 7th Regiment of the United States Cavalry, but he did not physically join the unit until after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, which occurred several weeks after his appointment.

Military career

He was quickly promoted to First Lieutenant on June 25, 1876 and then to Regimental Adjutant June 6, 1877, and served in that post until 1881. He commanded one of the failed Adolphus Greely Relief Expeditions in 1883. On December 29, 1890, Garlington was injured while at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, and received the Medal of Honor on September 23, 1893, for distinguished gallantry.

Garlington's next promotions were to captain on December 3, 1891, and Major (United States), Inspector General, on January 2, 1895. In 1898, Garlington served as Inspector General in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba. In that same year (July 7, 1898), he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He again served as Inspector General from 1899 through 1901 in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. On March 1, 1901, Garlington was promoted to Colonel. He served in the Inspector General position again in the Philippines from 1905 to 1906.

The ultimate promotion for Garlington was to Brigadier General, Inspector General of the Army, on October 1, 1906, after which he served on the General Staff of the Army. In 1908, he conducted the Army investigation into the Brownsville Affair.

Death and legacy

Garlington died in 1934 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His first wife, Anna Buford Garlington (1864–1954) and his daughter, Sally Garlington Chamberlin (1890–1949), are buried with him. His son, Cresswell Garlington, (1887-1945) was also a Brigadier General in the United States Army and is buried in a separate plot at Arlington.

Books written by Garlington include: Historical Sketches of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment and A catechism on cavalry outposts, reconnaissance, patrols, and advance and rear guards.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 7th U.S. Cavalry.

Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., December 29, 1890.

Entered service at: Athens, Ga. Born: February 20, 1853, Newberry, S.C.

Date of issue: September 26, 1893.


Distinguished gallantry.

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Brig. General Ernest Albert Garlington's Timeline

February 20, 1853
Newberry, Newberry, SC, USA
Age 33
Rock Island, Rock Island, Illinois, United States
January 10, 1889
Age 35
Fort Riley, Riley, KS, USA
Age 36
October 16, 1934
Age 81
San Diego, San Diego County, CA, USA
Arlington, VA