This Week in Little Bighorn History


Charles Braden (left) died on January 15, 1919, in Highland Falls, New York, and was buried at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery. He was an 1869 graduate of the Academy who married Jeanette Devin, the daughter of General Thomas Casimer Devin, who was said to be one of the best and most effective Union commanders in the Civil War. Braden was not present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn due to wounds suffered during an Indian attack on his camp on the Yellowstone River on August 11, 1873. He was granted a leave of absence on March 13, 1874, until he retired due to disability on June 28, 1878.

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

Fremont Kipp died in Washington, D.C., on January 16, 1938, and was buried there in the U.S. Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery.

Young Hawk died on January 16, 1915, in Elbowoods, North Dakota, and was buried in the Indian Scout Cemetery in McLean County, North Dakota.

Francis Hegner died in Kenockee Township, Michigan, on January 17, 1891. He was on detached service during the battle, so he was not present.

Francis Marion Gibson died on January 17, 1919, in New York City and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He was the brother-in-law of Donald McIntosh.

Joseph Carroll was born in New York, New York, on January 19, 1847. He was a member of the band, so he was not present at the battle.

John E. Hammon died on January 19, 1909, in Sturgis, South Dakota, and was buried there in the Bear Butte Cemetery. He was a Corporal in Company G and was in the hilltop and valley fights.

Henry Harrison Davis was born on January 20, 1846, in Bellvernon, Virginia. He was a Private in Company M and was in the hilltop and valley fights. He died around 1905.

John J. Rafter was born in Lansingburgh, New York, on January 20, 1851, and died on January 16, 1927, in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Leavenworth.

August B. Siefert died on January 20, 1921, in Highland Park, Illinois, and was buried in the Fort Sheridan Cemetery in Highwood, Illinois. He was with Company K during the hilltop fight.

Stephen Cowley was married in County Mayo, Ireland, to Bridget Agnes Moore on January 21, 1871. He was on detached service at Yellowstone Depot, so he was not present at the battle.

Joseph Kneubuhler died on January 21, 1917, in San Diego, California.  He was a member of the band, so he was not present at the battle.

Christian C. Boisen died in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on January 21, 1923, and was buried at the National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company K who was in the hilltop fight.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

Francis Johnson Kennedy (below, circa 1920) died on January 9, 1924, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His obituary claimed he was “prohibited from participating in General Custer’s famous and ill-fated expedition because of a snake-bite.” That contradicts all other accounts that have him in sick quarters prior to the battle, with the pack train in June, and fighting on Reno Hill during the battle. At some point, Kennedy apparently said he led Capt. Keogh’s horse Comanche. If his obituary is to be believed, he was perhaps the only “Reverse Sole Survivor;” i.e., someone who was at the battle but claimed not to have been.

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

John W. Burkman was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on January 10, 1839. “Old Nutriment” cared for the Custer horses.

John Dolan married Lena C. Eagan on January 10, 1876. His second marriage to Josephine Fisher was in 1900. He was on detached service during the battle.

Timothy Sullivan died on January 10, 1903. He was a Private with Company L who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

George Blunt was born on January 11, 1845, in Baltimore, Maryland. He died of gas asphyxiation at the Joyce Hotel in Baltimore on November 23, 1905.

Benjamin Franklin Burdick died on January 11, 1930, in Albany, New York, and was buried in the Beverwyck Cemetery in Rensselaer, New York.

Bernard Lyons died on January 12, 1901. He was a Private with Company F who was in the hilltop fight.

John Jordan died in Hartford, Connecticut, on January 12, 1906. He was a Private with Company C who participated in the hilltop fight.

Lawrence Murphy died on January 13, 1888, at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, D.C. He was a Sergeant with Company E, but he was on detached service during the battle.

William Martin died in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 13, 1900, and was buried there. He was a Private with Company B who participated in the hilltop fight.

James Madison DeWolf was born in Mehonpany, Pennsylvania, on January 14, 1843. He was the Acting Assistant Surgeon for the Seventh, and he was killed during the battle.

Thomas F. O’Neill was born on January 14, 1846, in Dublin, Ireland. He was a Private with Company G who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

Andrew Fredericks died on January 14, 1881, at Fort Totten, Dakota Territory. He was buried in the Custer National Cemetery on Crow Agency, Montana.

This Week in Little Bighorn History

Happy New Year!

George Kelley was born on January 1, 1847, in New York, New York. He was not present at the battle due to being detailed to General Terry’s column. He married Octavus Wooley in 1874 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She died on September 17, 1875. They had no children. George died of a cerebral hemorrhage on October 21, 1922, at the National Military Home in Leavenworth, Kansas, and was buried in the National Cemetery there.

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

  • Julius Gunther died on January 2, 1902. He was not present at the battle due to illness.
  • John Fox was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 3, 1844. He died at the U.S. Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C. and was buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • Franklin Rankin, who was also known as Edward Clyde, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head on January 3, 1895, at Columbus Barracks, Ohio.
  • Carl August Bruns was on detached service at the time of the battle. He died in Mandan, North Dakota, on January 4, 1910, and was buried in the Mandan Union Cemetery.
  • William M. Smith, a corporal in Company B, was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight where he was wounded. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 4, 1921.
  • John Pahl was born on January 5, 1850, in Bavaria, Germany, and died on January 28, 1924, in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He was buried in Bear Butte Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.
  • George Wilhelmus Mancius Yates married Lucretia Beaumont Irwin on January 5, 1865. They divorced on January 31, 1867. He later married Annie Gibson Roberts and had three children.
  • Max Hoehn stayed with the regimental papers at Powder River. He died of heart problems on January 6, 1911, in Sturgis, South Dakota, and was buried in St. Aloysius Cemetery there.
  • Frederick William Benteen married Catherine Louise Norman on January 7, 1862. He was Captain of Company H and commanded a battalion during the battle.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

  • Max Hoehn was born in Berlin, Germany, on December 26, 1854. He stayed with the regimental papers at Powder River so he was not in the battle.
  • Timothy Haley was born on December 26, 1846, in Cork, Ireland, and died on December 31, 1913, in Washington, D.C., and was buried there.
  • John Meyers died on December 26, 1877, at Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory and was buried in the Custer National Cemetery in Montana.
  • John J. Fay and John Fox both died in Washington, D.C., on December 26, 1932, and both were buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery there.
  • Wilson McConnell died on December 27, 1906, in King, Wisconsin, and was buried in the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery there.
  • Peter Thompson was born in Markinch, County Fife, Scotland, on December 28, 1843. He died in Hot Springs, South Dakota, on December 3, 1928.
  • David McWilliams died at Fort Meade, South Dakota, on December 28, 1881, and was buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • Three of the men were killed at Battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, on December 29, 1890, and are buried at the Fort Riley Post Cemetery in Kansas.:
    • Richard Winick Corwine who was on detached service during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
    • Gustave Korn who became the caretaker of Comanche, the only horse that survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. (See books below.)
    • George Daniel Wallace who commanded Company G during the Battle of the Little Bighorn and fought in the valley and hilltop fights.
  • Frank Hunter died on December 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. He was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
  • William Jackson died at Cutbank Creek on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on December 30, 1899. He was in the valley fight.
  • David W. Lewis died on December 30, 1914, at the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C., and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • William Henry Miller died in San Antonio, Texas, on December 30, 1914, and was buried in the National Cemetery there.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

William G. Hardy was born on December 20, 1849, on Staten Island, New York. He was a bugler for Company A and fought in both the valley and hilltop fights. He died on April 7, 1919, in San Francisco, California, and is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery, The Presidio. See below for books and miniatures of buglers.

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

  • Hiram Wallace Sager died in Spokane, Washington, on December 21, 1907. He was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.
  • Luther Rector Hare died on December 22, 1929, in Washington, D.C, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Johann Michael Vetter was born in Hessen, Germany, on December 23, 1853. He was killed during the battle.
  • Joseph Carroll died on December 23, 1904, in Danville, Illinois, and was buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • Martin Personeus died in Carlinsville, Illinois, on December 24, 1889. He was on detached service during the battle.
  • Giovanni Martini died on December 24, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York. He brought the famous “be quick” note to Benteen.
  • John James Carey died in Malone, Grays Harbor County, Washington, on December 24, 1929.
  • Thomas W. Coleman was born on December 25, 1849, in Troy, New York. He was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.
  • Edwin B. Wight was born in Casco, Maine, on December 25, 1851. He was on detached service during the battle.
  • Thomas Wilford Harrison died on December 25, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was buried in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

William Van Wyck Reily was born on December 12, 1853, in Washington D.C. He was a Second Lieutenant in Company F who was killed during the battle on June 25, 1876, and was buried on August 3, 1877, in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

  • John G. Tritten died in Dayton, Ohio, on December 12, 1918. He was on detached service during the battle.
  • Frederick Deetline died on December 13, 1910, in San Antonio, Texas, and is buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • Francis Marion Gibson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 14, 1847. He survived the battle, but his brother-in-law, Donald McIntosh, did not.
  • Henry Holden, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the hilltop fight, died on December 14, 1905, in East Brighton, England.
  • James P. Boyle was born in County Typrone, Ireland, on December 15, 1983.
  • Matthew Maroney died on December 15, 1880, in Washington, D.C.
  • Felix Villiet Vinatieri, the Chief Musician of the Seventh Cavalry, died in Yankton, South Dakota, on December 15, 1891. He was not present at the battle.
  • John Donahoe died on December 15, 1905, in San Francisco, California, and is buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • William Braendle died in Santa Rosa, California, on December 15, 1932, and is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery.
  • John McKenna drowned in the Ohio River before December 16, 1888, when his body was found near Constance, Kentucky.
  • Edward D. Pigford died in Lock Three, Pennsylvania, on December 16, 1932. He fought in the valley and hilltop fights and was wounded.
  • Myles Moylan was born on December 17, 1838, in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and died on December 11, 1909, in San Diego, California.
  • George Loyd, who participated in the valley and hilltop fights, died in Fort Riley, Kansas, on December 17, 1892, and is buried in the Post Cemetery.
  • George B. Penwell died on December 17, 1905, at Barnes Hospital in Washington, D.C., and was buried at the U.S. Soldiers and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery there.
  • John Schwerer died at the National Soldiers Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on December 17, 1913, and was buried at the Wood National Cemetery.
  • James O’Neill died on December 17, 1931, in Sawtelle, California. He was not present at the battle due to illness.
  • James C. Blair was born in Camden, New Jersey, on December 18, 1850. He was a Private in Company K who was on detached service during the battle.
  • Michael P. Madden died in California, Missouri, on December 18. 1883. He was wounded during the hilltop fight, and Dr. Porter amputated his leg in the field.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

George Armstrong Custer was born on December 5, 1839, in New Rumley, Ohio. The Custer Memorial Association will celebrate his birth in New Rumley on Saturday, December 10, 2016. See https://www.facebook.com/Custer-Memorial-Association-151535381571759/.

Other milestones this week include:

  • Isaac Fowler of Company C died on December 5, 1881, in Union City, Indiana.
  • Martin McCue died on December 6, 1923, at Barnes Hospital in Washington, D.C., and was buried in the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.
  • Henry August Lange of Company E was born in Hanover, Germany, on December 7, 1851.
  • Andrew Humes Nave died on December 7, 1924, in Knoxville, Tennessee, and was buried in Highland Memorial Cemetery.
  • John Samuel Ragsdale had several milestones in December. He was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on December 9, 1850; he married Lois Durham on December 28, 1877; and he died on December 4, 1942, in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Charles A. Windolph was born on December 9, 1851 in Bergen, Germany. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.
  • Thomas Gordon was born in Boston on December 9, 1853, and died in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1935. He is buried in the Swandale Cemetery in Mendon, Massachusetts.
  • Thomas Bell (Benton) Weir died a sad death on Governors Island, New York, on December 9, 1876, less than six months after he survived the battle.
  • Martin Kilfoyle died on December 9, 1894, in Washington, D.C. He was on detached service during the battle.
  • Henry Jackson died in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on December 9, 1908, and is buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • John Sivertsen was born on December 10, 1841, in Jensen, Norway. He married Anna Olson in Douglas County, Wisconsin, on December 25, 1889.
  • Henry N. B. Witt was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 10, 1852. He was on detached service during the battle.
  • William J. Gregg died on December 10, 1913, in Hampton, Virginia, and is buried in the National Cemetery there.
  • Frederick Henry Gehrmann died on December 10, 1922, in Washington, D.C., and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Gabriel Guessbacher died on the same day in the same city. His burial location is not known.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

George B. Herendeen was born on November 28, 1846, in Parkman Township, Geauga County, Ohio. He was a civilian scout who participated in the battle in the timber and on the hilltop. According to Gregory Michno (see “Misrepresented ‘Monster’ Major Marcus Reno“) Herendeen was largely responsible for assertions of Marcus Reno‘s cowardice:

Of all the witnesses called [at the Reno Court of Inquiry], only two were critical of Reno’s conduct in the valley. Civilian interpreter Frederic F. Girard, whom Reno had once fired, said he thought Reno could have held out in the timber as long as the ammunition lasted. (Left unsaid was that at the rate they had been firing, that would not likely have been more than another half-hour.) Civilian scout George Herendeen also disliked Reno. He said that when Bloody Knife was killed and another soldier hit, “Reno gave the order to dismount, and the soldiers had just struck the ground when he gave the order to mount, and then everything left the timber on a run.” Herendeen said the incident “demoralized him [Reno] a good deal,” but when pressed by court recorder Lieutenant Jesse M. Lee, Herendeen stated, “I am not saying that he is a coward at all.”

. . . An examination of the court record shows that 20 of the 23 eyewitnesses who testified to Reno’s conduct had neutral or favorable observations. Only three were unfavorable—and none of those damning. Yet scarcely mentioned is [Dr. Henry] Porter’s account of Reno’s statement, “We have got to get out of here—we have got to charge them!” Instead, Herendeen’s claim that Reno ordered a dismount and an immediate mount appears often in print. It seems incredible. One man claims Reno issued conflicting orders while extracting his command from a desperate situation, and it snowballs into an avalanche of cowardice and treachery.

For more of Greg Michno’s excellent research and writing, see the books listed at the end of this post.

Other milestones this week include:


This Week in Little Bighorn History

Stephen Cowley died on November 21, 1886. He was a Private in Company D who was on detached service at Yellowstone Depot during the battle.

Stephen Cowley was born in Sligo County, Ireland, his father was Michael Cowley, a butcher. He married Bridget Agnes Moore on January 21, 1871 in County Mayo, Ireland. He immigrated in the Spring of 1871 to the United States and immediately registered in the United States Army for the Civil and Indian Wars. He served with General Custer in Company B which was assigned the responsibility of guarding the pack train. His service continued and he was discharged from the Cavalry on September 10, 1882 at Fort Totten, North Dakota. . . .

Stephen and Bridget had 5 children, one son, Ambrose died at 5 months, those who survived are James Joseph, Stephen Joseph, Michael Joseph and Sadie Mary. Stephen died in November 1886 at Larimore, Grand Forks County, North Dakota. He is buried in the Bellevue Cemetery there. [Findagrave.com]

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

  • Alexander Bishop was born on November 22, 1853, in Brooklyn, New York.
  • George Gaffney died in Washington, D.C., on November 22, 1916.
  • Charles Braden was born on November 23, 1847, in Detroit.
  • William Slaper was born on November 23, 1854, in Cincinnati.
  • George Blunt died on November 23, 1905, at the Joyce Hotel in Baltimore.
  • Augustus DeVoto died on November 23, 1923, in Tacoma, Washington.
  • Charles A. Campbell died on November 25, 1920, in Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Joseph Tilford was born in Georgetown, Kentucky, on November 26, 1828.
  • William Morris died in New York City on November 26, 1933.
  • Hiram Sager was born on November 27, 1850, in Westport, New York.
  • The Battle on the Washita was on November 27, 1868. See the books below for more about this infamous battle.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

  • Edward Rood was born in Tioga County, New York, on November 14, 1847. He was a Private in Company E and was killed in the battle.
  • Marcus Albert Reno was born on November 15, 1834, in Carrollton, Illinois. Entire books have been written about Major Reno (see below) because he played a significant role in the battle.
  • On November 15, 1877, Frederic Francis Girard married Ella Scarborough Waddell. He had previously been married to a Piegan Indian. He was in the valley fight.
  • James J. Galvan, also known as Michael J. Miller, was born in Liverpool, England, on November 16, 1848. He was a Private in Company L and was killed in the battle.
  • Hugh McGonigle died on November 16, 1916, in Washington, D.C. He was a Private in Company G who fought in the valley and hilltop fights.
  • Emil Taube was born on November 18, 1847, in Damerau, Germany. He was a Private in Company K who was on detached service at Yellowstone Depot during the battle.
  • Frederick Henry Gehrmann was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 18, 1855. He was a Private in Company B who was on detached service at Yellowstone Depot during the battle.
  • James Hill died in Wooster, Ohio, on November 18, 1906. He was the First Sergeant of Company B who was a pack train escort and fought on the hilltop.
  • Thomas H. Rush, also known as Thomas Morton, was born on November 19, 1941, in Greenville, Ohio. He was at Fort Lincoln during the campaign due to illness.
  • William W. Lasley was born in St. Louis County, Missouri, on November 19, 1842. He was a Private in Company K who was in the hilltop fight.
  • Thomas Eaton Graham was born on November 20, 1831, in Alton, Ohio. He was a Private in Company G who fought in the valley and hilltop fights.
  • George Brainard died in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 20, 1886. He was a Private in Company B on detached service as an orderly for General Alfred Terry.
  • Stephen Cowley died on November 21, 1886. He was a Private in Company D who was on detached service at Yellowstone Depot during the battle.