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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1878

Vol. III

(Born Ky.)

James F. Bell

(Ap'd Ky.)


Born near Shelbyville, KY.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, Sep. 1, 1874, to June 13, 1878, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Additional Second Lieut., 9th Cavalry, June 14, 1878.

Second Lieut., 9th Cavalry, June 28, 1878.

Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Lincoln, Dak., Oct. 1, 1878, to June 24,

(Transferred to 7th Cavalry, Aug. 9, 1878)

1882, — guarding construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad, to Oct. 18, 1882, — and Ft. Buford, Dak. (Rifle Competition, Aug. 4 to Sep. 7, 1884, and July 29 to Sep. 17, 1885), to May 29, 1886; as Professor of Military Science and Tactics, Southern Illinois University, July 1, 1886, to July 1, 1889; and on frontier duty at Ft. Riley, Kan., to –––––.

Vol. IV
[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

Military History. —

(First Lieut. of Cavalry, 7th Cavalry, Dec. 29, 1890)

 p304  Served: (Regimental Adjutant, Sept. 13, 1891 to Dec. 1, 1894) At Fort Riley, Kan., to Dec. 4, 1894; being also Secretary of the Cavalry and Light Artillery School, Jan. 1, 1893 to Dec. 4, 1894; at San Francisco, Cal., as Aide-de‑camp to General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Forsyth, from Dec. 7, 1894 (Acting Judge Advocate, Department of California, Aug. 29 to Nov. 14, 1895), to May 12, 1897; on leave to July 18, 1897; garrison duty at Fort Apache, Ariz., to March 20, 1898; Judge Advocate, Department of Columbia, with rank of Captain, April 1 to May 20, 1898;

(Major and Engineer Officer, U. S. Volunteers, May 17, 1898)

Chief of the military information office, Department of the Pacific (sailed for Manila, June 15, 1898), to March 20, 1899; participating in the attack on Manila, Aug. 1 to 13, 1898;

(Captain of Cavalry, 7th Cavalry, March 2, 1899)

(Honorably discharged from Volunteer Service, April 17, 1899)

(Major and Asst. Adjutant-General, U. S. Volunteers, April 17, 1899)

Acting Judge Advocate and Mustering Officer, 2d Division, 8th Corps, from March 20 to June 9, 1899; on duty organizing volunteer regiment,

(Volunteer Commission Vacated, July 12, 1899)

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 32d U. S. Volunteer Infantry, July 5, 1899 — Declined)

(Colonel, 36th U. S. Volunteer Infantry, July 5, 1899)

and commanding regiment in the Philippines, to Dec. 24, 1899.

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Dec. 5, 1899)

— Commanding 4th Brigade, 2d Division, Department of the Pacific, Jan. 7, 1900 to ––––

Medal of Honor

for most distinguished gallantry in action, Sept. 9, 1899, near Porac, Luzon, P. I., while in advance of his regiment, charging seven insurgents with his pistol, and compelling the surrender of the captain and two privates under a close and hot fire from the remaining insurgents concealed in a bamboo thicket; while serving as Colonel, 36th Infantry Volunteers.

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

(J. Franklin Bell)

Military History. — Commanding 4th Brigade, 2d Division, Department Pacific, Jan. 7, 1900 to July 15, 1900; Provost Marshal-General of Manila, July 15, 1900 to Feb. 25, 1901.

(Brigadier-General, U. S. A., Feb. 19, 1901)

— Commanding 1st District, Department Luzon, Feb. 25, 1901 to Dec. 1, 1901; commanding 3d Brigade, Department Luzon, in campaign against General Miguel Malvar, Dec. 1, 1901 to Jan. 7, 1903; (Malvar captured and campaign ended April 15, 1902); White Earth River, N. D., Nov. 6, 1883;º Reconnoitering Manila under fire, July 23, 24 and 25, 1898; Capture of Manila, P. I., Aug. 13, 1898. The following in 1899: Santa Mesa, P. I., Feb. 4; La Loma Church, P. I., Feb. 5; reconnoitering, under fire, Caloocan, P. I., Feb. 6; Caloocan, P. I., Feb. 10; San Juan del Monte and San Pedro Macati, P. I., Feb. 20; reconnoitering, under fire, San Juan del Monte, P. I., March 6; San Juan del Monte, where wounded, March 7; crossing of Tuliajan River, P. I., March 25; fight east of Caloocan, P. I., March 25; Malinta, Polo and Meycauayan, P. I., March 26; reconnoitering Polo and Obando, P. I., under fire, (evening); Marilao, P. I., reconnoitering, under fire, south of Marilao, P. I., March 27; Guiguinto River, P. I.; skirmish, Bocave, P. I., March 29; Attack on Malolos, P. I., March 31; Santa Maria, P. I.; reconnoitering, under fire, San Jose and Norzagaray, P. I., April 12; reconnoitering, under fire, Bagbag, P. I., April 20; Quingua, P. I., April 23; reconnoitering, under fire, twice, Quingua River, P. I., April 23; Pulilan, P. I., April 24; Bagbag and Calumpit, P. I.; reconnoitering, under fire, Rio Grande Bridge, P. I., April 25; reconnoitering, under fire, Santa Lucia, P. I., April 27; Pulilan, P. I., May 2; skirmish, Santo Tomas, P. I., May 3; Santo Tomas, P. I., May 4; skirmish, San Fernando, P. I., May 6; reconnoitering, under fire, North San Fernando, P. I., May 9; Santa Rita, P. I., May 23; between San Fernando and Becalor,º P. I., May 24; skirmish, Santa Rita, P. I., May 25; reconnoitering, under fire, Calulut, P. I., June 2; reconnoitering, under fire, Dolores, P. I., Aug. 4; Bacalor, P. I., (daylight); San Antonio and San Isidro, P. I., (noon), Aug. 9; reconnoitering, under fire, Angeles, P. I., Aug. 10; reconnoitering, under fire, Betis-Guagua, Lubao, Florida Blanca and Porac, P. I., Aug. 12; skirmish at Dolores, P. I., Aug. 16; reconnoitering, under fire, Porac, P. I., Aug. 17; Porac, P. I., Sept. 9; Porac, P. I., Sept. 28; skirmishes, Myquiapo, Santol and Lubao, Oct. 9; Porac, P. I., Oct. 17; Porac, P. I., Nov. 2; Mabalacat, P. I.; skirmish, Pasbul, P. I., Nov. 7; skirmish, Mabalacat, P. I., Nov. 8; Bamban, P. I., Nov. 9; Bamban, P. I., Nov. 11; skirmish, Murcia, P. I., Nov. 12; Mangatarem, P. I., Nov. 28; Alos, P. I., Dec. 21. In 1900: skirmish, Dasol, P. I., Jan. 25; skirmish, Dasol, P. I., March 6; en route to United States, and on leave in Europe, Jan. 15, 1903 to July 1, 1903; commandant, General Service and Staff College, Infantry and Cavalry School, Staff College and Signal School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, July 1, 1903 to April 15, 1906; on duty at French Army Maneuvers, Aug. 15, 1905 to Nov. 4, 1905; Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, April 15, 1906 to April 26, 1910.

(Major-General, U. S. Army, Jan. 3, 1907)

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

(James Franklin Bell, Born Jan. 9, 1856.)

Military History. —

Medal of Honor.

Brigadier-General, U. S. A., Feb. 19, 1901.

Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, April 15, 1906, to

(Major-General, U. S. A., Jan. 3, 1907)

April 20, 1910; on waiting orders, April 27 to Dec. 4, 1910; en route to Philippines, Dec. 5 to 31, 1910; commanding Philippines Department, Jan. 1, 1911, to April 3, 1914; en route to Texas City, Texas, April 3 to May 11, 1914; commanding 2nd Division (Tactical) U. S. A., concentrated and encamped at Galveston and Texas City, Texas, May 11, 1914, to Dec. 1, 1915; at San Francisco, Cal., commanding Western Department, Dec. 5, 1915, to April 23, 1917; at Governor's Island, N. Y., commanding Eastern Department, May 1 to Aug. 31, 1917; at Camp Upton, N. Y., commanding 77th Division, National Army, Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 1917; en route to and from France and on duty with American Expeditionary Force, Dec. 1, 1917, to March 21, 1918; at Camp Upton, N. Y., commanding cantonment, March 22 to July 31, 1918; at Governor's Island, N. Y., commanding Eastern Department, Aug. 1, 1918, to Jan. 8, 1919.

Died, Jan. 8, 1919, at New York, N. Y.: Aged 63.

Awarded posthumously

Distinguished Service Medal

"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service during the war as Division, Cantonment, and Department Commander."

 p260  Service medals: Medal of Honor; French Legion of Honor.

Degree of LL. D., University of Kentucky.

Portrait and obituary in Annual Report, Association of Graduates, for 1919.

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

Awarded posthumously:

Distinguished Service Cross.

"For extraordinary heroism in action against Spanish forces at Manila, Philippine Islands, Aug. 10, 1898. Major Bell, with utter disregard for his personal safety, conducted a bold and daring reconnaissance of the creek in front of Fort San Antonio de Abad held by Spanish forces, and ascertained not only that it was fordable, but the exact width of the ford at the beach, and swimming in the bay to a point from which he could examine the Spanish line from the rear, secured information which facilitated the planning of the success­ful attack of Aug. 13, 1898, on Manila, Philippine Islands."

Cited posthumously "for gallantry in action against insurgent forces at Tuliahan River, Luzon, Philippine Islands, Mar. 25, 1899," and again "for gallantry in action against insurgent forces at Marilao River, Philippine Islands, Mar. 27, 1899," and again "for gallantry in action against insurgent forces at Santo Tomas, Luzon, Philippine Islands, May 4, 1899," and again "for gallantry in action against insurgents at San Fernando, Luzon, Philippine Islands, May 24, 1889."

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Thayer's Note:

a Gen. Bell's birthplace is from his AOG obituary.

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Page updated: 11 Feb 16