b. 08/08/1853 Mansfield, Ohio. d. 12/09/1927 Los Angeles, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 18/09/1879 Las Animas Canyon, Mexico.
Mathias Walter Day was the second of seven children of Mathias Day (the founder of Daytona Beach, Florida) and Mary Blymyer, both native Ohioans. He was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1873. A graduate of the class of 1877 alongside Henry Ossian Flipper, the first African-American to graduate from West Point, Day was popular with his classmates, but was “ranked close enough to the bottom to be assigned to a black regiment”.
Day was not assigned to the 9th Cavalry Regiment until August, 1878. The 9th Cavalry was one of four African-American regiments which became known as the “Buffalo Soldiers”. Day was ordered to El Paso, Texas, where he assumed command of A Troop.
In 1879, Day and his troop were transferred west to New Mexico where they joined the rest of the regiment. After the Apache chief Victorio launched two successful raids on 9th Cavalry outposts near the Warm Springs Reservation after he left the San Carlos Reservation on August 21, the rest of the regiment was mobilized to go after him, marking the beginning of the Victorio Campaign.
From 1891 to 1895, Day was professor of Military Science and Tactics at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio.
After the United States declared war on Spain on April 21, 1898, Captain Day was commissioned a lieutenant colonel of volunteers and assigned to command the 1st Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, which had been reactivated after being mustered out at the end of the American Civil War. The 1st Ohio was a part of the Second Cavalry Brigade which included among its regiments the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, better known as the Rough Riders.
The 1st Ohio reported to Port Tampa, Florida on July 12, for transportation to Cuba, but its sailing was delayed due to a shortage of transports and as a result, the regiment did not see action in the Spanish–American War. Day however, later saw action in the Philippines against the Moros. After postings to various units, he served as the colonel of his old unit, the 9th Cavalry, for a year before retiring from the army in 1912.
Advanced alone into the enemy’s lines and carried off a wounded soldier of his command under a hot fire and after he had been ordered to retreat.
BURIAL LOCATION: SAN FRANCISCO NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.
OS, ROW 11, SITE 2
LOCATION OF MEDAL: INDIAN PUEBLO CULTURAL CENTER, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO.