Posts Tagged ‘Custer’

Little Bighorn Timeline: The Morning of June 25, 1876

Based on John S. Gray’s tables in Custer’s Last Campaign: Mitch Boyer and the Little Bighorn Reconstructed unless noted otherwise. Several people commented on this  timeline when it was originally published on LittleBighorn.info; those comments are in italics.

June 25, 1876

AM

12:30: The main column left the Busby camp on a night march under Lieutenant Colonel George Custer

2:50: 1st Lieutenant Charles Varnum (left) and scouts arrived at a pocket below the Crow’s Nest. 

3:15: The main column arrived at Halt 1 on Davis Creek where it was still dark. Local time was Mountain Standard Time minus 13 minutes to allow for sun transit at 12:13 at Busby and Crow Agency, Montana Territory. On a clear, moonless night, the first streaks of day appear at 1:55 local time. A pocket watch like that which belonged to 2nd Lieutenant George Wallace could be read at 2:45 a.m. It was daylight at 3:00 [Reno Court of Inquiry: Proceedings of a Court of Inquiry in the Case of Major Marcus A. Reno (RCOI): Wallace, Captain Myles Moylan, Captain Frederick Benteen]. Visibility was clear to the horizon by 3:18 although you could not read print until 3:30. (All based on personal observation from divide.) Wallace’s Official Report stated the night march ended about 2:00 (Federal View, p. 65). 1st Lieutenant Edward Godfrey (The Godfrey Diary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, p. 10) halted the night march about 2 o’clock (RCOI, Scout George Herendeen) and marched until probably 2:00. “As soon as the first faint streaks of daylight appeared, we moved into a grove where we were ordered to unsaddle and rest for several hours” (Peter Thompson’s Narrative of the Little Bighorn, p. 95).

3:40: Two Crows saw the Sioux village at the Little Bighorn for the first time. From accounts by Red Star (later known as Strikes the Bear) and Little Sioux, this could have been as early as just after 3:00 a.m. Easily visible by 3:00 local time–personal observation.

3:50: Varnum was awakened for the climb to the peak. Not later than 3:15 since Varnum (Northwestern Fights and Fighters, p. 340) said he got to the Crow’s Nest about 2:30, slept 45 minutes and was awakened when it was just daylight, probably closer to 3:00 a.m. 

4:00: Varnum and the scouts study the village in the Little Bighorn Valley. 

5:00: Varnum and the scouts saw the breakfast smoke at the Halt 1 camp. 

5:20: Varnum sent two Ree scouts with a note to Custer who was still at Halt 1. It was possible for Varnum to have sent the messengers significantly earlier; e.g., 4.30 a.m. Varnum in Northwestern Fights and Fighters said 4:45 or 5:00. Translated to local time that is closer to 3:30, more likely since Interpreter Frederick Girard (left) and the Ree scouts say Custer got Varnum’s message at 4:00 or when the sun was just rising = 4:09 local time. Note that Gray’s use of “Halt 1” can be/is somewhat confusing since Wallace uses “Halt 1″ to refer to the halt at the divide and ” Halt 2″ to identify the halt over the divide when Benteen was sent to the left. I now think it possible Varnum was using headquarters time so he sent the messenger at 3:40 a.m. This fits with the messenger arriving as reported by the Rees as the sun was rising at 4:13 a.m. 

5:40: The Crows saw two Sioux west of the Divide. 

6:20: Varnum led a sortie against the two Sioux.

6:40: Varnum returns to the Crow’s Nest, unsuccessful. 

7:10: The scouts saw two Sioux crossing the divide. 

7:20: The two Ree couriers arrived at the Halt 1 camp from the Crow’s Nest. The assumption that the main courier travelled so slowly (less than 3 mph) is very doubtful and the journey time could easily be half the 2 hours claimed here. Cf. note above Girard and the Rees put it at 4:00-4:09 (Girard in Once Their Home, p. 263; Arikara Narrative of Custer’s Campaign and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, p. 149).

7:30: Custer read Varnum’s note, indicating that a village had been spotted in the Little Bighorn Valley. 

7:45: Sergeant William Curtiss left the Halt 1 camp on the back trail in search of a lost pack. 

8:00: Custer’s Crow’s Nest party (Fred Girard, Bloody Knife (left), Red Star, Little Brave, and Bobtail Bull) left Halt 1 for the Crow’s Nest. If the above comments are correct, Custer could have departed at least one and possibly two hours earlier. (I now think Custer rode around the camp before 5:00 a.m. to tell troop commanders that the column would not march at the standard 5:00 a.m. but to be ready by 8:00 a.m. This would have been the time Custer expected to return from the Crow’s Nest. Custer departed at or soon after 5:00 a.m. for the Crow’s Net and arrived there as reported by WMRH at 6:00 a.m. (The Custer Myth : A Source Book of Custeriana, p. 15). Varnum recalled that Custer arrived from the coffee camp with the column, not before it. Herendeen and Packer Benjamin Franklin Churchill made the departure from the early halt at 7:00 or 7:30 (RCOI) Donohue (Fatal Day, p. 20) thought the column left at 6:00. Remembered times are always earlier than Wallace’s official time. The Edgerly Narrative in Research Review (1986), p. 5, says Custer went up to the Crow’s Nest about 9 a.m., “when the column halted, the command having previously halted from 2 to 5, without unsaddling” Herendeen (Custer Myth, p. 262) “About nine o’clock on the morning of the 25th of June and the last day of our march Custer halted his troops and concealed them as well as he could. . . (then he went to the Crow’s Nest) . . . Custer was gone perhaps an hour or an hour and a half.”

8:05: Custer’s party was spotted by two Sioux as seen from the Crow’s Nest. Varnum saw two Sioux meeting Custer’s party. 

8:25: Curtiss party sights Cheyennes rifling through the lost pack. 

8:45: Command under Reno departed Halt 1 camp and moved toward the Crow’s Nest. I now think the column marched at 7:25 a.m. under Captain Tom Custer and met the irate George Custer on his return from the Crow’s Nest as he had ordered the column to stay put (see various Girard accounts). 

9:00: Custer’s party arrived at the Crow’s Nest. 

9:00+: Custer studied the valley and discussed the findings. 

10:07: Custer and the scouts watched the command arrive at the Halt 2 camp on Davis Creek for concealment. 

10:20: Custer’s party left the Crow’s Nest with Varnum’s party. Curtiss’ party arrived at the Halt 2 camp and reported seeing the Cheyennes with the lost pack. 

10:30: Custer and the scouts are met by Captain Thomas Custer with Sergeant Curtiss’ news. 

10:35: Custer-Varnum party arrived at the Halt 2 camp. Cheyennes were spying. There is some evidence (1st Lieutenant Charles De Rudio, 2nd Lieutenant Luther Hare in Custer in ’76: Walter Camp’s Notes on the Custer Fight) that Custer made a second visit to the Crow’s Nest; the time taken for this would not be more than 30 minutes if Halt 2 was near the Crow’s Nest. 

10:50: At officer’s call, Custer decided they will attack. Benteen (RCOI) and Edgerly (Custer Myth, pp. 216, 219) put officers’ call at 10:00, after Custer had been on the Crow’s Nest for about an hour (Research Review, 1986). See also Donohue in Fatal Day, pp. 20-21. Herendeen very early therefore very reliable put it between 10:00-10:30 (Custer Myth, p. 280).

11:45: Command under Custer departed Halt 2 camp and moved down Davis Creek. This departure time assumes the command halted within 0.75 mile of the Divide. It is likely that they were actually at least twice as far as this since participants reported the column as being concealed in a ravine. This would pull forward the departure time by 15 minutes or so. Hare, DeRudio, Varnum agreed that the column was halted 1/4 to 1/2 mile east of the divide.

To be continued. . . .

This Week in Little Bighorn History

George B. Herendeen (left) died on June 17, 1919, in Havre, Montana, and was buried in Harlem Cemetery in Harlem, Montana. He was a Scout who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

Henry James Nowlan was born on June 18, 1837, on the Corfu Ionian Islands. He was a First Lieutenant with the Quartermaster who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

Ferdinand Klawitter was born in Conitz, Berlin, Germany, on June 19, 1836. He was a Private with Company B who was not present due to detached service.

Charles William Larned (left) died on June 19, 1911, in Danville, New York, and was buried in the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery at West Point, New York. He was a Second Lieutenant with Company F who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

Charles Albert Varnum (right) was born in Troy, New York, on June 21, 1849. He was a Second Lieutenant in Company A who commanded the scouts. He participated in the valley and hilltop fights and was wounded.

Luther Rector Hare married Virginia Hancock on June 21, 1878. He was a Second Lieutenant with Company K who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

Frank K. Lombard died in San Diego, California, on June 21, 1917. His burial location remains unknown. He was a Private with the Band and was not present at the battle.

George Custer (right) met with General Alfred Terry and Colonel John Gibbon aboard the steamer Far West on June 21, 1876.

Frederick William Benteen (left) died on June 22, 1898, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was originally buried in the Westview Cemetery in Atlanta but was reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery in November 1902. He was the Captain of Company H who commanded a battalion during the battle. He led a scouting party and was wounded during the hilltop fight.

Charles H. Welch died in LaSalle, Colorado, on June 22, 1915, and was buried in the Evans Cemetery in Evans, Colorado. He was a Private in Company D who participated in the hilltop fight. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.

Carl August Bruns was born on June 23, 1830, in Brunswick, Germany. He was a Private with Company E who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

John Brightfield was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, on June 23, 1853. He was a Private with Company C who was killed with Custer’s Column.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

Charles A. Windolph (left) died on March 11, 1950, in Lead, South Dakota, and was buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis. He was the last white survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He was a Private in Company H who was wounded in the hilltop fight, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor.

George A. Bott was born on March 12, 1853, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Isaac and Betty Bott. He was a Private in Company A who fought in the valley and hilltop fights.

Thomas Blake died in New York City on March 12, 1927. He was a Private in Company A who fought in the valley and hilltop fights. He died in the city of his birth and was buried in the Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn.

George Washington Wylie died on March 13, 1931, in Kansas City, Missouri, and was buried in the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas. He was a Corporal in Company D who participated in the hilltop fight.

Henry Petring married his wife Louisa on March 14, 1881. He was a Private in Company G who participated in the valley and hilltop fights where he was wounded in the eye and hip.

Patrick Corcoran was born in Canada on March 15, 1844. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight. He was wounded in the right shoulder on June 26, 1876.

Thomas Ward Custer was born on March 15, 1846, in New Rumley, Ohio. He was awarded two Medals of Honors for his actions during the Civil War, and he died at Little Bighorn.

Charles WelchCharles H. Welch (left) was born in New York City on March 16, 1845. He was a Private in Company D who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the hilltop fight.

John Weiss was born on March 16, 1849, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was  a Private in Company A who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

Daniel Newell was born on March 17, 1847, in County Rascommon, Ireland. He was a Private in Company M who was wounded during the valley and hilltop fights.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

Thomas Henry French (left) was born on March 4, 1843, in Baltimore, Maryland, and he died on March 27, 1882, at Planters House in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was originally buried in the National Cemetery there but was later moved to Holy Rood Cemetery in Washington, D.C. He was the Captain of M Company who commanded his men in the valley and hilltop fights during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

John Charles Creighton (right) was born in Massillon, Ohio, on March 4, 1850. He was a Private in Company K who was in the hilltop fight.

Thomas Joseph Callen died in Yonkers, New York, on March 5, 1908, and was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Orange, New Jersey. He was a Private in Company B who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions there.

Thomas Patrick Downing
 was born on March 6, 1856, in Limerick, Ireland. He was a Private in Company I who was killed with Custer’s Column. He was buried in the mass grave on Last Stand Hill.

John Foley of Ireland died at Barnes Hospital in Washington, D.C., on March 6, 1926, and was buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight.

James Calhoun (left) married Margaret Emma Custer on March 7, 1872. He was the First Lieutenant of Company C who commanded Company L during the battle. Maggie Custer lost her husband, three brothers (GeorgeTom, and Boston) and a nephew (Autie Reed) in that battle.

Edwin Philip Eckerson was born on March 8, 1850, in Fort Vancouver, Washington. He was the Second Lieutenant of Company L, but he was not present at the battle because he was enroute.

Charles William Larned (right) was born in New York, New York, on March 9, 1850. He was an 1870 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who was the Second Lieutenant in Company F. He was not present at the battle due to detached service.

James Boggs was born on March 10, 1846, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was a Private in Company H who was not present at the battle. He was discharged for medical reasons on May 15, 1876.

Morris H. Thompson was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on March 10, 1852. He was a Private in Company E who was not present during the battle due to detached service.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

John F. Donohue died in Butte, Montana, on December 3, 1924. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

William H. Baker was born on December 3, 1848 in Golconda, Illinois. He was a Private in Company E who was killed with Custer’s Column.

Thomas James Stowers, who claimed to be a Sole Survivor of the battle, was also born on December 3, 1848, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was a Private in Company B who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

Frank Berwald was born on December 3, 1852, in Posen, Poland. He was a Private in Company E who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

John E. Hammon (left) was born in Lynchburg, Ohio, on December 4, 1857. He was a Corporal in Company G who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

John McCabe died on December 4, 1891, in Washington, D.C. He was a Private in Company B who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

John B. Ascough died in Columbus, Ohio, on December 4, 1903, and was buried in Old Greencastle Cemetery in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. He was a Private in Company D who participated in the hilltop fight.

George A. Rudolph died on December 4, 1924, in Eddyville, New York. He was a Private in the Band, so he was not present at the battle. He was on detached service at Powder River, Montana.

Charles Henry Bishop died in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 4, 1929, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Fairview Heights, St. Clair County, Missouri. He was a Private in Company H who was wounded during the hilltop fight.

George Armstrong Custer (left) was born on December 5, 1839, in New Rumley, Ohio. The Custer Memorial Association will celebrate his birth in New Rumley, Ohio, on Saturday, December 9, 2017. See Facebook for information: https://www.facebook.com/Custer-Memorial-Association-151535381571759/.

Isaac Fowler (right) of Company C died on December 5, 1881, in Union City, Indiana, and was buried in the Union City Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company C who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

Martin McCue died on December 6, 1923, at Barnes Hospital in Washington, D.C., and was buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight.

Henry August Lange was born in Hanover, Germany, on December 7, 1851. He was a Private in Company E who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

Andrew Humes Nave died on December 7, 1924, in Knoxville, Tennessee, and was buried in Highland Memorial Cemetery there. He was a Second Lieutenant with Company I who was not present at the battle due to illness.

John Samuel Ragsdale died on December 4, 1942, in Dayton, Ohio, and was buried in the Dayton National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company A who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

Charles A. Windolph (left) was born on December 9, 1851 in Bergen, Germany. He was a Private in Company H who was wounded in the hilltop fight, and 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. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight.

Thomas Bell (Benton) Weir (right) died on Governors Island, New York, on December 9, 1876, less than six months after the battle. He was the Captain of Company D who participated in scouting and in the hilltop fight. He was originally buried on Governors Island but was moved to the Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Martin Kilfoyle died on December 9, 1894, in Washington, D.C. He was a Private in Company G who 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. He was a First Lieutenant in Company F who was not at the battle due to detached service.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

William Millard Caldwell died on October 30, 1913, in Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and was buried in the Old Town Cemetery there on November 1, 1913. He was a Private with Company B who was on detached service at the time of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Anton Seibelder was born in Lichtenvoorde, Germany, on October 31, 1828. He was a Private in Company A who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

Boston Custer (left) was born on October 31, 1848, in New Rumley, Ohio. He was a civilian guide who was killed with his brothers George and Tom during the battle.

James Madison DeWolf (right) married Fannie J. Downing on October 31, 1871. He was the Acting Assistant Surgeon who was killed during the valley fight.

William Thomas Craycroft died on October 31, 1906, in Dallas, Texas, and was buried in West Hill Cemetery in Sherman, Grayson County, Texas. He was a First Lieutenant in Company B who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

William Friedrich Braendle, who was also known as Wilhelm Friedrich Braendle, William Brandle, and William Cummings, was born on November 1, 1955, in Wurtemburg, Germany. He was a Private in Company C who was not present at the battle due to detached service at the Yellowstone Depot.

James E. Moore died on November 1, 1894, in Union, South Carolina. He was the Farrier for Company B who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight.

Charles Camillus DeRudio (left) died on November 1, 1910, in Los Angeles, California, and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery. He was the First Lieutenant in Company E who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

William Kane died in Washington, D.C., on November 2, 1879, and was buried in the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company C who was not present at the battle due to illness.

John E. Armstrong was born on November 4, 1836, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joshua and Matilda Faunce Armstrong. He was a Private in Company A who was killed in the valley fight.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

 

This week many will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day whether or not they have Irish ancestry. One of our celebrants this week was born in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Seventh Cavalry milestones this week include:

  • George A. Bott was born on March 12, 1853, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was a Private in Company A who fought in the valley and hilltop fights.
  • Thomas Blake died in New York City on March 12, 1927. He was a Private in Company A who fought in the valley and hilltop fights and died in the city of his birth on March 12, 1927.
  • George Washington Wylie died on March 13, 1931, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was a Corporal in Company D who participated in the hilltop fight.
  • Henry Petring married his wife Louisa on March 14, 1881. He was a Private in Company G who participated in the valley and hilltop fights where he was wounded in the eye and hip.
  • Patrick Corcoran was born in Canada on March 15, 1844. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight. He was wounded in the right shoulder on June 26, 1876.
  • Thomas Ward Custer was born on March 15, 1846, in New Rumley, Ohio. He was awarded two Medals of Honors for his actions during the Civil War, and he died at Little Bighorn.
  • Charles H. Welch was born in New York City on March 16, 1845. He was a Private in Company D who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the hilltop fight.
  • John Weiss was born on March 16, 1849, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was  a Private in Company A who was not present at the battle due to detached service.

Daniel Newell was born on March 17, 1847, in County Rascommon, Ireland. He was a Private in Company M who participated in the valley and hilltop fights where he was wounded.


This Week in Little Bighorn History

This week we honor two of the men who received the Medal of Honor as a result of their valiant efforts during the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Thomas Joseph Callen died in Yonkers, New York, on March 5, 1908, and was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Orange, New Jersey. He was a Private in Company B who was with the pack train and in the hilltop fight. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions there.

Other Seventh Cavalry milestones this week include:

Thomas Patrick Downing was born on March 6, 1856, in Limerick, Ireland. He was a Private in Company I who was killed with Custer’s Column. He was buried in the mass grave on Last Stand Hill.

John Foley died at Barnes Hospital in Washington, D.C., on March 6, 1926, and was buried in the Soldier’s Home National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight.

James Calhoun married Margaret Emma Custer on March 7, 1872. Maggie Custer lost her husband, three brothers (George, Tom, and Boston) and a nephew, Autie Reed, during the battle.

Charles William Larned was born in New York, New York, on March 9, 1850. He was an 1870 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who was on detached service at the time of the battle.

Morris H. Thompson was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on March 10, 1852. He was a Private in Company E who was not present during the battle due to detached service.

Charles A. Windolph, who was also known as Charles Wrangel, died on March 11, 1950, in Lead, South Dakota, and was buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis. He was the last white survivor of the battle. He was a Private in Company H who was wounded in the hilltop fight, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor.

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.


The Last Man

CoburnTitle

One of the articles in the Summer 1956 issue of Montana: The Magazine of Western History was a reprint of a 32-page booklet that was copyrighted in 1936 and presented with permission of the widow of its author, Wallace David Coburn. “The Battle of the Little Big Horn” was an account of a story told by Major Will A. Logan (below) who had been the superintendent of the Agency at the Belknap Indian Reservation in Milk River, Montana, and who had just been named the first superintendent of the new Glacier National Park, a position he held in 1911 until his death in 1912.
Logan
Logan told his story to a small group with the admonition that it be kept secret, but he further instructed that “on the death of Mrs. Custer this story must be given to the public.” Libbie Custer died in 1933, so the story was kept secret for over two decades.

As with most accounts of the battle, mistakes are apparent throughout the narrative. In addition, this narrative is similar to “Sole Survivor” accounts in that it is questionable if Logan was even there. Logan stated he was 17 years old at the time of the battle, but he was born in 1856, which would have made him 20. He said he was a scout for the Seventh Cavalry but that his father, Captain William Logan, had him transferred to Gibbons’ command prior to the battle. He claimed that General Terry sent him out into the night on June 25th with instructions to find Custer and deliver new written orders and information about their movements.

To make a long story short, Logan claimed to have been the first white man to witness the aftermath of the battle. He said he witnessed the celebrations of the Indians and heard intermittent firing from the area now known as Reno-Benteen. When asked of the condition of George Custer’s body, he replied, “Stripped naked, scalped, mutilated, and with more arrows sticking in him than in the body of any other man on the battlefield, with the possible exception of that of his brother, Colonel Tom Custer.” While the condition of George Custer’s body as described is likely, other details, such as saying they had they “met their doom with smoking rifles and dripping sabers in their hands,” are known to be false.

Logan ended his story with a tribute to the “last man.”

Like the flame of a coal blazed his eyes. His teeth glistened like a fighting grizzly, while from his lips a war-cry came that was weird and strange, making the marrow thicken. In his right hand gleamed a cavalry saber, his left gripped the butt of an empty six-shooter.

Hurling the revolver into the face of a big brave, the white man then commenced to cleave his way through the line. With lightning strokes the saber flashed, dealing sudden death to three more of the bolder braves.

Back rolled the red waves of desperate red fighters, leaving the white brave alone for an instant . . . he looked up at the red sun . . . laughed and said something . . . then laughed again as the red tide swept back over him stilling his courageous heart forever.

His slayers claimed that they never touched his body for he was so brave that they wanted the signs to remain . . . to show others how this warrior of warriors had fought and died.

Who was the last man according to Logan?

Captain Myles Keogh.