Cypress Hills National Cemetery is the only United States National Cemetery in New York City and has more than 21,100 interments of veterans and civilians. Although Cypress Hills was established to honor Civil War veterans, its grounds include the graves of soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War, Spanish-American War, Korean War and Vietnam War.
On Saturday, May 25th, the NYPD Honor Legion’s Memorial Ceremony honored of members of New York City’s Metropolitan Police Force. The Metropolitan Police Force was established in 1857 and paved the way for the modern police structure. Among those buried in the plot is Henry Haywood, a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. The ceremony celebrates the history of the NYPD and honors those who have fallen in the line of duty.
There are 24 Medal of Honor recipients, including three men who won the award twice, interred in Cypress Hills National Cemetery:
Marine Sergeant John Mapes Adams, Medal of Honor recipient for action during the Boxer Rebellion near Tianjin, China. Section 2, Grave 8262.
Coxswain John Cooper, aka John Laver Mather, two time Medal of Honor recipient. The first for action on board USS Brooklyn during the Battle of Mobile Bay, and the second a year later while serving on Rear Admiral Henry K. Thatcher's staff in Mobile, Alabama. Section 2, Grave 7410.
Army Sergeant Wilbur E. Colyer, Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Verdun during World War I. Section 2, Grave 8588.Volunteering with 2 other soldiers to locate machinegun nests, Sgt. Colyer advanced on the hostile positions to a point where he was half surrounded by the nests, which were in ambush. He killed the gunner of one gun with a captured German grenade and then turned this gun on the other nests silencing all of them before he returned to his platoon. He was later killed in action.
Marine Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph Daly, two time Medal of Honor recipient. Section 5, Grave 70. Hoping to participate in the Spanish–American War, he enlisted in the Marine Corps on January 10, 1899, and received his initial training at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. But, the war ended before he finished training.
In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion in China, he received his first Medal of Honor for single-handedly defending his position against repeated attacks and inflicted casualties of around 200 on the attacking Boxers.
His second Medal of Honor came fifteen years later, when he was fighting with US forces supporting the government in Haiti against rebels. On the night of October 24, 1915, he was part of a group of 35 Marines who were ambushed by a force of approximately 400 Cacos (Haitian insurgents). He led one of the three groups of men during the fight to reach a nearby fort, and was awarded the medal for his conspicuous actions.
In World War I during the Battle of Belleau Wood Daly is said to have yelled, "Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?" to the men in his company prior to charging the Germans. Daly claimed he said, "For Christ's sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?"
Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler described Daly as, "The fightin'est Marine I ever knew!" Daly reportedly was offered an officer's commission twice to which he responded that he would rather be, "...an outstanding sergeant than just another officer."
Marine Private James Dougherty, Medal of Honor recipient for action aboard USS Carondelet (second ship by that name) in Korea in 1871. Section 6, Grave 12374.
Army Private Christopher Freemeyer, Medal of Honor recipient for action in Montana Territory during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 5259.
Army Sergeant Major Frederick W. Gerber, Medal of Honor recipient for 32 years of service to the US Army during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 1601.
Army Sergeant Patrick Golden, Medal of Honor recipient for action in the Arizona Territory during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 4316.
Army First Sergeant Edward P. Grimes, Medal of Honor recipient for action in Colorado Territory during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 7210.
Army Sergeant Bernhard Jetter, Medal of Honor recipient for action during the Indian Wars. Section 5, Grave 1.
Chief Watertender Johannes J. Johannessen, Medal of Honor recipient for peace time service aboard USS Iowa. Section 2, Grave 7425.
Quartermaster Edward S. Martin, Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. Section 2, Grave 5966.
Lieutenant Mons Monssen, Medal of Honor recipient for peace time service aboard USS Missouri. Section OS, Grave 190.
Army Sergeant John Nihill, Medal of Honor recipient for action in Arizona Territory during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 6640. He was an Irish-born soldier in the U.S. Army who served with the 5th U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars. A participant in the Apache Wars, he received the Medal of Honor for bravery when he single-handedly fought off four Apache warriors in the Whetstone Mountains of Arizona on July 13, 1872.
On July 13, 1872, Nihill was part of an 8-man cavalry detachment under the command of Second Lieutenant William P. Hall sent out from Camp Crittenden to stop an Apache raiding party which had stolen cattle from a local Mexican rancher. They pursued the Apaches 15 miles into a canyon in the Whetstone Mountains. Though they had expected a dozen or so Indians, they instead encountered about 80 Apache braves.
His commander hoped to surprise the hostiles, gaining an advantage by firing the first volley, but their presence was detected by the Apache and they charged towards the soldiers. Other Indians pushed boulders from the top of cliffs as high as 800 feet wounding several cavalrymen and horses. After a brief fight, the outnumbered troopers were forced to retreat. Nihill was unaware of this, being engaged in a shooting match with another Apache hiding behind a nearby rock, and became separated from the main group. While fighting his way back to his unit, Nihill assisted Private Michael Glynn and First Sergeant Henry Newman by holding off the Apaches while the wounded troopers could be safely evacuated.
According to an 1895 article by the New York Times, he later found Glynn whose horse had been killed and was shot in both shoulders. Nihill put Glenn on his own horse and sent him to a forest a few miles away. He told Glynn that he would hold off the Apaches for as long as he could and, if he survived, would rejoin his comrade in the same woods.
After Glynn galloped off, Nihill followed behind on foot towards the woods. He was soon spotted by a small group of Apaches, however, and forced to take cover behind a large rock. Nihill killed each Apache that approached him and, after running out of ammunition, kept the others at bay by feigning to reload his gun. He was unaware of how many Apache he faced until they finally retreated. Nihill then proceeded to the woods where he found Glynn still waiting for him. The wounded soldier was lying on the ground next to the horse, too weak to sit in the saddle, and Nihill strapped him to the mount then rode the horse back to Camp Crittenden nearly 50 miles away.
Quartermaster Third Class Anton Olsen, Medal of Honor recipient for action aboard USS Marblehead during the Spanish-American War. Section 2, Grave 9158.
Army Private Henry Rodenburg, Medal of Honor recipient for action in Montana Territory during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 5825.
Army Sergeant Valentine Rossbach, Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House during the Civil War. Section 2, Grave 5427.
Army Private John Schiller, Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm during the Civil War. Section 5, Grave 3.
Chief Watertender Eugene P. Smith, Medal of Honor recipient for peace time service aboard USS Decatur. Section 2, Grave 7742.
Gunner's Mate First Class Wilhelm Smith, Medal of Honor recipient for peace time service aboard USS New York. Section 2, Grave 9492.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant Peter Stewart, Medal of Honor recipient for action during the Boxer Rebellion. Section 2, Grave 7303.
Army Private James W. Webb, Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Second Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. Section 2, Grave 7410.
Army First Sergeant Henry Wilkens, Medal of Honor recipient for action in Montana Territory during the Indian Wars. Section 2, Grave 5325.
Seaman Louis Williams, a.k.a. Ludwig Andreas Olsen, two time Medal of Honor recipient. Both medals were for peace time service aboard USS Lackawanna. Section 2, Grave 12616.