Posts Tagged ‘George Custer’
“CATTLE WOULD WINTER IN THESE VALLEYS WITHOUT OTHER FOOD OR SHELTER.”
GENERAL CUSTER PROMOTED BLACK HILLS AGRICULTURE
BY JACK MCCULLOH, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA
The map of South Dakota has over 49 place names because of one trip the US Frontier Army took through the territory. Tilford, Ludlow, Custer Peak, and Trail City in Corson County are on the map to memorialize the Army’s trip through The Great Sioux – Cheyenne reservation led by George Armstrong Custer. When the territory eventually became a state in l889 one of the first names chosen for a County seat west of the Missouri River was Custer County located in the southwest corner of the new State.
The Mormon Church had accomplished a major population shift into a new territory in the West from Missouri and Illinois. For years thousands had struggled overland for California Gold; and the Montana Gold Rush moving west along the Platte River on established roads. Those with goals of reaching the West had no interest in the Black Hills guarded by hostile Indians on their trip through “the Great American Desert.” 1
CUSTERS ORDERS TO THE TROOPS TO THE BLACK HILLS
……… care will be taken not to molest or in any manner disturb any Indians who may be encountered on the march, unless the latter should first act in a hostile manner . . . This command is about to march through a country infested by Indians, more or less hostile, and even should the latter, as it is hoped, not engage in general warfare and the usual acts of hostilities, there is no doubt but that they will endeavor to make captures of stock and to massacre small parties found imprudently beyond the lines . . .” his military dispatch of July 15, 1874 from Prospect Valley, Dakota (” . . . Our march thus far has been made without molestation upon the part of the Indians . . . As I sent pacific messages to all the tribes infesting this region before the expedition moved, and expressed a desire to maintain friendly relations with them . . . [o]ur Indian guides think differently, however, and believe the Indians mean war. Should this be true they will be the party to fire the first shot . . .”); and his second military dispatch, from Harney’s Peak, August 2, 1874 (” . . . gold has been found at several places, and it is the belief of those who are giving their attention to this subject that it will be found in paying quantities. I have upon my table forty or fifty small particles of pure gold, in size averaging the size of a small pin-head, and most of it obtained to-day from one panful of earth . . . Until further examination is made regarding the richness of the deposits of gold no opinion should be formed . . .”). 2
The Black Hills of Dakota Territory are different than the nearby Black Hills around Laramie, Wyoming. The Northern Black Hills are a lot like an inverted bath tub on a flat prairie – 40 miles wide and 80 miles long with a geological rim running around the base of the Hills. These Black Hills are about the size of the present day state of Israel.
The Army explored around the Black Hills of Dakota several times before Custer’s trip. Before the Civil War the army had sent expeditions around the Black Hills including Harney in 1855, Warren/Hayden in 1857, and Raynolds in 1859. These military expeditions did some mapping but none had entered the Black Hills before Custer. In 1868 the US War Department sat down with the Great Plains War Chiefs and in the Treaty setting up the Great Sioux – Cheyenne Reservation the Indians agreed to stop fighting people for a price. 3
Proclamation of Gen. McCook against
Occupation of the Black Hills of Dakota
I, Edwin S. McCook, Acting Governor of the Territory of Dakota, by direction of the President of the United States, do … warn all unlawful combinations of men …, that any attempts to violate our treaty with these Indians, … by an effort to invade … said reservation, will not only be illegal … but will be disapproved , and Government will use … military power … to remove all .. who go there in violation of law.4
The first time the Army actually entered the Black Hills was in 1874. Everyone at that time knew you could find gold. The only question was how much and could you get it?
The War Chiefs agreed they would hunt in certain areas for a limited time, receive annual issues of sugar, coffee and cattle, and would stop harassing the railroads and settlers. The US Government agreed to remove the manned forts they had established protecting the Bozeman Trail. It’s the only treaty with Indians the government ever entered into that removed military posts from territory to be settled by the spreading population.
CHEAPER TO FEED THAN FIGHT
In the Secretary of War’s report of 1874 he wrote; “The feeding process by 1874 has been now continued for six years with the Sioux, has so far taken the fight out of them….They have been sitting down at the agencies along the Missouri River, to risk the loss of coffee, sugar, and beef in exchange for the hardships and perils of a campaign against soldiers. As a result the Custer expedition penetrated to the very heart of their wild country, and returned without any opposition; and the military camps at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies are in safety, though surrounded by a force of fighting men from ten to twenty times larger than their own number. To have tamed this great nation down to this degree of submission by the issue of rations is in itself a demonstration of what has been so often argued – that it is cheaper to feed than to fight wild Indians. 5
The purpose of a thousand men and their supply wagons entering the Hills and finding a route was to record what was there. President Grant was near the end of his second term as President, and he spoke bluntly to the Indian Chiefs when they visited him in Washington D.C. that he expected them to live in peace on reservations. He would not allow free roaming Indians to check in just to receive food, clothing, and money. Grant’s policy was — if you choose to roam/live free off your reservation; your tribe will not receive annuities – or land grants – or cash payments. Sioux Chiefs such as Spotted Tail and Red Cloud resisted being counted in the census claiming it was against their religion. Grant put a stop to their tribes receiving anything until they were counted.
Grant would not negotiate directly with the Chiefs; instead, they must negotiate with the Secretary of the Interior and the Church run (Quakers) head of the Indian Bureau.
Grant wanted Indians treated as citizens of the United States and insisted they deal with the Government through the responsible agencies. He amended the law to make Indians citizens instead of banning them as citizens. He expected them to learn English, and make their own way in a short time by working land. Indians were issued plows, seeds, and farm equipment.
The chiefs on the Northern Plains knew that Congress had designated reservations as sovereign areas and the army could not enter reservations except by permission of the tribal councils. Some insisted as heads of “Sovereign nations” they would deal only with the President – not with Indian Agents assigned by the Government – because as heads of nations they had equal rank of the President and they did not like Indian Agents telling them anything. The chiefs wanted to select their own agents to act for the Government in providing for them.
Grant lost his patience with argument and ordered the Secretary of the Interior (Columbus Delano) at the time which was essentially a privately run church related welfare operation financed largely by Government manpower and money, to feed and cloth only those Indians living full time on reservations .He also ordered the army headed by General Sherman to remove tribes from non reservation land after a two year deadline to their reservation. Trail herds of cattle from Texas had for several years been grazing during wintertime in Montana territory, replacing the depleted Buffalo herd on the Plains , and cattlemen wanted Indians put on reservations , not free and able to steal horses , raid local ranchers and run off their cattle herds.
In the Great Plains the Sioux and Cheyenne claimed hunting areas by treaty. They argued Grant could not take away rights approved by Congress in 1869, but never signed by two thirds of the bands affected called for by the treaty. The treaty let the railroads through the Great Sioux Reservation along the Platte River. Congress let the time limited parts of the 1868 Treaty run out (food and clothing) and expected Indians to be in “Indian Territory” (present Oklahoma) – or on reservation they set up in limited states on a case by case basis.
CUSTER BOOSTS AGRICULTURE FROM HARNEY PEAK
“Twenty six days were spent traveling inside the Black Hills, and about 300 miles of valley were traveled by the command. Placer Gold was found …; The search for gold was not exhaustive, … but at one point a shaft was sunk to a depth of eight feet, and gold was found amounting to five cents per pan at the top, … to twenty cents at … eight feet. ……Custer’s Gulch, where twenty of the explorers took gold claims, declaring their intention to work the claims as soon as a possession of the country can be obtained, seven miles south of Haney’s Peak.”6
When he climbed Harney Peak Custer wrote a promotional pitch. He said
“Cattle could winter in these valleys without other food or shelter than that to be obtained from running at large.” His published report caught the attention of Gen. William B. Hazen, commander of Fort Union, at the junction of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, who was convinced the Great Plains was the Great American Desert.
‘”The lands are not worth a penny an acre,” said Hazen, and in the winter “men and beasts perish from cold.”
Custer thought General Hazen was fond of notoriety and “consequently scribbles a great deal for the papers.” Custer wrote a nine column article in the Minneapolis Tribune (published April 17, 1875, shortly after the Black Hills Expedition) refuting Hazen ……Custer had extravagant praise for the Black Hills country.7
“Agriculture in no portion of the United States, not excepting the famous Blue Grass region of Kentucky, have I ever seen grazing superior to that found growing wild in this hitherto unknown region. I know of no portion of our country where nature has done so much to prepare homes for husbandmen, and leave so little for the latter to do as here. In the open and timbered spaces a partly prepared farm of almost any dimension, of an acre and upward, can be found here. Not only is the land cleared and timbered for both fuel and building, conveniently located with streams of pure water flowing through its length and breadth, but nature oft times seems to have gone further, and placed beautiful shrubbery and evergreens in the most desirable locations ….The soil is that of a rich garden, and composed of a dark mould of exceedingly fine grain….Nowhere in the States have I tasted cultivated raspberries of equal flavor to those found growing wild here…Wild strawberries, wild currants, gooseberries, and wild cherries are also found in great profusion and of exceedingly pure quality. Cattle would winter in these valleys without other food or shelter than that can be obtained from running at large.”8
Joe Reynolds read these reports in the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper while working successfully his gold claim in the mountains of Colorado. He was working a claim in high country near Leadville and decided to pack up his mule and head for the Black Hills. He settled in Custer, and returned to Colorado to bring back a wife. He developed a homestead in what today is known as Reynolds prairie. Today Ivan’s son is still operating a ranch on Reynold’s Prairie
CUSTER TAKES REPORTERS TO THE BLACK HILLS
What the first journalists in the Black Hills reported stimulated thousands moving to the Hills from all directions, filling up of the country to overflowing in 1875. Thousands of jobless, underemployed and immigrant men read in the papers the word “gold” and decided to head for the Black Hills.
New York City’s population at the time was near 2 million; Chicago was near 400,000, Kansas City was 350, 00, and Minneapolis was just short of 100,000.
Newspapers sent reporters with the Army to report on what was out their in unknown territory. The public was always interested in the activities of the hyperactive Civil War cavalry officer – George Armstrong Custer. Reporters invited along paid their own way, including horses, to be on the outing. 9
Promoting Agriculture and Grazing
“Portions of the Black Hills are well fitted for agriculture, especially those from two to three thousand feet above the level of the sea, and all are adapted to grazing. The general elevation of the hills varies from four to seven thousand feet above the level of the sea, their base alone having an altitude of from fifteen to twenty-five hundred. From this it will be seen that they are not very high, taking their altitude from base to summit.
“When the present expedition returns, mining companies will be organized to test the value of the minerals found, and they will go fully prepared to overcome all opposition from the combined force of Sioux, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes, who will soon throng the region in quest of game for their Winter food; and if they contain any treasures of importance these Argonauts will soon make the fact known.”10
The Acting Secretary of Interior Smith in his annual report of 1874 wrote;
“A military expedition to the Black Hills caused great excitement among all of the Sioux people. They regarded it as an infraction of their treaty, and were filled with the fear it might lead to their exclusion from a country they highly prized.
“The exaggerated accounts of rich mines and agricultural lands given in dispatches of Custer and news reporters with the expedition increased the eagerness of people to take possession of the country. The correction of these exaggerated claims, by statements that no indications of mineral wealth were found, and that the lands were undesirable for white settlements, along with the strict prohibition of the War Department of any intrusion into the Territory did not stop parties from fitting out and leaving from Yankton, Bismarck, Denver, and Helena Montana.”11
The dispatch of Custer announcing gold in the Black Hills set off a stampede of fortune-hunters into Lakota territory. Although the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty requires the government to protect Lakota lands from intruders, federal authorities were asked and felt they had to protect the miners traveling along the road Custer blazed for them, which they call “Freedom’s Trail” and the Lakota call “Thieves Road.
The Army with less than 25,000 men on active duty in the entire Army failed to keep Gold seekers out of the Hills with several companies. So did the 25,000 Sioux who were not fighting among themselves and other bands scattered all over the Great Sioux Reservation.
Both the Army and the Indian Tribes failed to keep the public out of the Hills when the public got Gold Fever.
THE LAKOTA WAR – 1876
A Senate commission meeting with Red Cloud and other Lakota chiefs in 1875 to negotiate legal access for the miners rushing to the Black Hills offered to buy the region for $6 million. But the Lakota refuse to alter the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and declare they will protect their lands from intruders if the government will not. So Congress repealed the 1868 treaty in 1877, stopped all benefits the Indians argued they were to receive, and Congress took back 40 million acres of land.
(1) The Northern Pacific Railroad was built during the years of 1872-1873 to Bismarck across the River from the site of Ft Lincoln Custer was assigned to build. During those years, the country west of the 100 Meridian (which runs through the middle of South Dakota) had an above average rainfall. This resulted in a perception the land was suitable for farming. Custer reported the abundant grass on his 1873 expedition to Montana. His reports along with the railroad’s advertisements designed to sell land and entice settlers west, painted the country as conducive to settlement. Hazen refutes these claims by reports from those who experienced the normal seasons that received little rainfall.
(2) Samuel J. Barrows went with the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873 and with the Black Hills Expedition in 1874 as a reporter for New York newspapers. Barrows was elected to Congress in 1897. He promoted legislation to remove Indians from reservations, believing assimilation would lead to equality.
(3) Wikipedia encyclopedia – Internet
(4) The New York Times, published April 9, 1872
(5)Newspaper Chronicle of the Indian Wars, Volume 4, compiled by Marc H Abrams, Published 2010, Page 16
(6) The New York Times, published September 1, 1874
(7) My life on the Plains by Custer, representing the major part of Custer’s life, was first published some two years before the General’s Death. It is a vivid picture of the American West, the rigors of life for the settlers, and the horrors of Indian warfare. The first edition of the book included a chapter by General W R Hazen which Hazen later privately published separately as a pamphlet entitled These Barren Lands.
(8)His articles on the Plains Indians were first published in the Galaxy Magazine 1872-74, and then incorporated into his book, My Life on the Plains, or, Personal Experiences with Indians, published in 1874.
(9) Robert Strahorn spent his life writing and promoting. Instrumental in settling west of the Missouri river and developing its resources. He was one of the best at selling something that existed only in dreams. He touted farmland Often land so tough it would take 3 generations to succeed.
(10) The New York Times, published April 28, 1874
(11) The New York Times, February 1, 1874
By Jack Pennington
I have just finished reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, LAST STAND. I thought it was very interesting and well written from a literary standpoint, but from an analytical perspective it portrays the same accepted view of the battle. I do recommend it as required reading for the overall coverage and personnel highlights.
In my books and articles I have brought out the “cover-ups” that resulted from the Reno Court of Inquiry, and were necessary in protecting Major Reno, Captain Benteen, other officers and the Army. The main cover-ups could be listed under the headings of timing, sightings, and orders.
What is difficult for me to understand is how contemporary writers such as Philbrick can ride over the battlefield, read the books and articles he claims to have done, and still not question or make any essential connections. The following are examples related to one period of time:
(1) As Reno reached Ford A he sent a message to Custer which supposedly said the Indians were strong to his front. Reno starts down the valley, and Philbrick mentioned several times how Reno is unaware of the Indians because he can’t see their camp. According to the message Reno sent Custer, the Indians had to be aware of Reno’s troops, and we know if they were that there would be warriors harassing his troops all the way down the valley in order to protect and give time for their village to flee or prepare. This doesn’t raise a question to Philbrick or too many other writers whether the Indians coming down the valley could actually have been what Reno’s message was about. If writers put together Custer’s orders as reported by Reno’s orderly Davern and Custer’s orderly Martin, might they not assume that Reno’s message was more apt to have asked if he should wait for Benteen? Later, of course, he couldn’t say this, and so used a similar message to the one Girard said he sent in his attempt to trap Reno.
(2) Reno moves down the valley and he wasn’t able to see the village or any number of Indians coming to meet him. He realizes that the Indian camp is around the bend and he can see warriors and a great amount of dust being raised. Reno sets up a skirmish line. There are those that believe he should have attacked, but most believe he was wise not to. His reason was sound since he didn’t see any of his promised support coming. According to Reno he was looking for this support from behind and that it would be Custer. Shouldn’t the orders Custer gave as reported by Reno’s and Custer’s orderlies raise the question that Reno might have been looking for Benteen coming from behind, while hoping for some sign of Custer as he flanked the village?
(3) If Reno was waiting for Benteen and a sign that Custer had launched his flanking attack, why didn’t Reno say that was the reason he didn’t continue his attack and instead set up a skirmish line? Reno was right in waiting for the support or the rest of the attack to materialize, but he couldn’t say that for he knew it would mean that he knew there was a plan of attack. Reno and Benteen had to say they had no orders except for Reno to move against the village and he would be supported. Reno could have moved into the timber but he could not have justified fleeing the timber. This would definitely have been a court-martial offense. Any statement would also mean that Benteen would have been sent orders, undoubtedly carried by Sgt. Major Sharrow, and that Benteen should hurry to the Little Big Horn and enter the attack in support of Reno.
(4) Timing, as I have tried to bring out in my writings, was a major cover-up at the Reno Court. There had to be a timing cover-up because of the following: Major Reno’s report after the battle that he “charged” to the bluff and met Captain Benteen at 2:30 p.m. The accepted version as brought out by Philbrick is 4 p.m. I wish Philbrick and other writers would answer the question asked Reno by General Rosser. Rosser: “You do not state, but I have the impression from some of the accounts sent in from the field, that you began your skirmish with the Indians about half past twelve to one o’clock, and that you recrossed the river and occupied the bluff about two o’clock. Now, to the reporter of the New York Herald you state that you made a reconnaissance in the direction of the Custer’s trail about five o’clock. The Indians appear to have withdrawn from your front as soon as you recrossed the river. Why then could you not have gone in pursuit of Custer earlier?”
I have never been able to figure out how most writers know there were cover-ups at the Reno Court, but they will not accept Reno’s and Custer’s orderlies as to the orders Custer gave or Reno received, and by inference were sent to Benteen. No, they are enlisted men and Reno said his orders were only to attack the Indian village and he would be supported by Custer whom he thought would be following him. Benteen said he didn’t receive any orders except to go to some unknown valley, and I guess sit there after he got there. Davern had said Reno’s order was that Benteen would be on his left. Benteen should have reached the Little Big Horn valley south and west of Ford A and when moving to aid Reno would have been on his left. Martin said Custer in his order to Reno said he was going down to the other end and drive the Indians. The whole regiment would then be aiding Reno and in Custer’s circling movement Benteen would be in the center.
Shots were heard from the Custer field soon after Reno’s troops had reached the ridge. Could the 4 o’clock time have come about because Reno and Benteen could not justify a wait of two and one half hours while Custer’s men were getting slaughtered? Benteen had orders to come to Custer’s aid. The five o’clock time was too well known and accepted to change it to 4 o’clock, so the 2:30 time was changed to 4 o’clock. Going to check on Lt. Hodgson’s body would not have sufficed, nor would attempting to string out the time the packs arrived since there were too many reports that ammunition packs were not that far behind Benteen. However, changing the meeting to 4 o’clock, along with the need to take care of the wounded, waiting for the packs, and then moving at five o’clock, could be accepted. Changing the 2:30 time to 4 o’clock meant that earlier officer’s times had to be changed and enlisted men’s and Indians’ ignored.
Orders, timing, and sightings were cover-ups at the Reno Court of Inquiry that were necessary to prevent Reno and Benteen from court-martials, and protect the Army’s good name. I won’t get into the “accepted” picture of how the “attack minded” Custer, at a time when the Indian village was in a state of panic and the need to coordinate his attack with Reno’s was essential, is sitting around Medicine Tail Coulee, feinting at the Indians, waiting for Benteen, having conferences, and planning strategy.
I guess when I read accounts of the battle I’m still too concerned, and it is hard for me not to express my opinion. Although I have been critical of other writers, I know without their interviews and writings I could not have formed my views of the battle.
CUSTER’S LAST BAND
By Shebby Lee
On June 22, 1876, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer confidently led his 7th Cavalry, several officers’ wives and assorted hangers-on out of Fort Abraham Lincoln near present-day Bismarck, North Dakota. With him was the regimental band, a sixteen-piece brass band mounted on matching white horses and led by Chief Musician Felix Vinatieri. They played “Boots and Saddles”, and then Custer’s favorite, the cheerful tune of “Garry Owen”, which would forever after be associated with the ill-fated 7th Cavalry and its demise.
Custer’s only concern was that the wily Sioux would escape before he could engage them in battle, but his spirits were high, and the entourage took on the air of a summer pleasure outing. Hunting and scouting parties detached themselves occasionally to canter across the prairie.
When the party reached the confluence of the Powder and Yellowstone, General Terry’s orders were explicit: the band was to turn back. Custer, taking one bugler and the handsome white horses with him, rode into an ambush. The band arrived back at the fort – on foot – in time for the frontier Fourth of July celebration.
Thus, the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2002 and 2004.
The SUPER BOWL??
The place kicker for the New England Patriots football team at that time was a young man named Adam Vinatieri, the great-great-grandson of Felix. Adam’s talented toe not only drilled the game-winning field goal as time expired in the Big Game, but he kicked five game-winning field goals during the 2001 season to get them there, including three in overtime. According to Patriots’ statistics, Vinatieri is the most reliable field goal kicker in franchise history, connecting on 80% of his kicks. He scored 24 points during the 2001 post-season and is now the top Patriots scorer in post-season annals with 54 points. Not bad for a kid who couldn’t get drafted after graduation from South Dakota State University, even though he is the Jackrabbits’ all-time leading scorer!
Now sports fans….
What if Custer had defied his superior and taken the band to the Little Bighorn that blazing hot summer day in 1876?
Jacob Adams, born June 25, 1852, Stark County, Ohio
Charles Clinton Barnett, born May 7, 1857, Camden, Ohio
James C. Bennett, born 1848, Shelby, Ohio
L. Edwin Bobo, born 1845, Franklin County, Ohio
George Brainard, born 1846, Brooklyn, Ohio
Hiram Erastus Brown, born December 1846, Mount Vernon, Ohio
Thomas J. Bucknell, born 1849, Cincinnati, Ohio
Charles Burkhardt, born 1846, Summerville, Ohio
James Calhoun, born August 24, 1845, Cincinnati, Ohio
Thomas Cox, born 1844, Cincinnati, Ohio
John C. Creighton, a/k/a Charles Chesterwood, born March 4, 1850, Massillion, Ohio*
Boston Custer, born October 31, 1848, New Rumley, Ohio
George Armstrong Custer, born December 5, 1839, New Rumley, Ohio
Thomas Ward Custer, born March 15, 1845, New Rumley, Ohio
David Edward Dawsey, born 1851, Belleville, Ohio
Alexander Downing, born 1845, New Madison, Ohio
William Dye, born 1850, Marietta, Ohio
Thomas J. Finnegan, born September 1, 1850, Hillsboro, Ohio
Isaac Fowler, born September 15, 1844, Darke County, Ohio
George H. Geiger, born 1843, Cincinnati, Ohio
Edward Settle Godfrey, born October 9, 1843, Kalida, Ohio
Thomas Eaton Graham, born November 20, 1831, Alton, Ohio
George W. Hammon, born 1852, Fulton County, Ohio
John E. Hammon, born December 4, 1857, Lynchburg, Ohio
Weston Harrington, born February 9, 1855, Alton, Ohio
Leonard A. Harris, born October 1851, Cincinnati, Ohio
George B. Herendeen, born November 28, 1846, Parkman Township, Geauga, Ohio
Adam Hetesimer, born 1847, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jacob Hetler, born August 2, 1852, Mansfield, Ohio
Stanton Hook, born 1845, Coshocton, Ohio
Rufus D. Hutchinson, born 1850, Butlersville, Ohio
Fremont Kipp, born October 17, 1856, Noble Hill, Noble County, Ohio
Andrew Knecht, a/k/a Knight, Knect, Knicht, born April 12, 1853, Cincinnati, Ohio
Frank Lauper, born 1852, Montgomery, Ohio
George Lell, born 1847, Hamilton County, Ohio
Jasper Marshall, born April 26, 1852, Spring Valley, Ohio
John McKee, born 1853, Meigs County, Ohio
John Morrison, born 1843, Zanesville, Ohio
Frank Neely, born 1850, Collinsville, Ohio
Jacob Noshang, born 1847, Hamilton County, Ohio
Miles F. O’Harra, born September 1851, Alton, Ohio
Henry W. Raichel, born Hamilton County, Ohio
Thomas H. Rush, born 1841, Greenville, Ohio
Christian Schlafer, born 1846, Cincinnati, Ohio
Crawford Selby, born June 5, 1845, Ashland County, Ohio
Michael Vincent Sheridan, born May 24, 1840, Ohio
William C. Slaper, born November 23, 1854, Cincinnati, Ohio
Levi Madison Thornberry, born February 3, 1853, Marietta, Ohio
Michael Thorp, born February 1843, Somerset, Ohio
Thomas S. Tweed, born 1853, North Liberty, Ohio
Cornelius Van Sant, born May 1850, Cincinnati, Ohio
Thomas Benton (or Bell) Weir, born September 28, 1838, Nashville, Ohio
John Weiss, born March 16, 1849, Cincinnati, Ohio
John S. Wells, born 1832, Rose, Ohio
Albert Whytefield, born 1846, Sandusky, Ohio
Pasavan Williamson, born 1847, Petersburg, Ohio
George A. Wilson, born 1839, Madison County, Ohio
Henry N. B. Witt, born December 10, 1852, Cincinnati, Ohio
* Creighton’s birthplace is also listed as Memphis, Tennessee.
A Novel by Lorin Lee Cary
Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2009
Available as an e-book ($7.95), paperback ($13.95) or hardcover ($22.95)
I do not normally enjoy historic fiction, but I did enjoy this book. Rather than try to portray Custer in some “pretend” scenario, full of over-contrived descriptions of him, this book takes a quick glimpse of Custer through the journal of an unidentified member of his inner circle and runs with a modern story of whodunit and charm.
The story begins in Hardin with an Indian who has the journal. He sends it to his college student niece, Sally Wolf, in hopes she can discover its apparent value. The protagonist, Walter Reeves, is the niece’s history professor who has inner conflicts concerning his marriage and his career. Walter gets the necessary remedy for the boredom in his life as he finds himself entwined in a journey involving burglary, kidnapping, and murder. Along the way are a militia group, determined to protect Custer’s reputation, and radical Indians, all trying to get their hands on the journal.
The author, Lorin Lee Cary, is a retired history professor who has taken his knowledge and humor on a fun ride. Die-hard Custer fans will find some minor faults, but the book is a good read. It may be a good peripheral introduction to the Custer story for their less-enthused family and friends this Christmas.
Custer in the Movies
By Michael L. Nunnally
Hollywood has attempted the Custer/Little Bighorn saga a number of times usually with disastrous results. Facts have never really mattered to tinsel town and early movies were full of fictitious characters and absurd situations. Several attempts in recent years have been quite good but one major problem lies in the fact that Hollywood has always felt compelled in making George Armstrong Custer either a hero or villain. A true historical bio has never been accomplished. His image in more recent years has been based on the political climate in America rather than any actual historical facts. The battle scenes in the first Custer movie, Custer’s Last Stand filmed in 1909, were later used in several other silent movies on the subject. Custer’s Last Stand featured in a number of early TV shows including the Twilight Zone, Have Gun Will Travel, Branded and many others. In 1967 Custer appeared in his own TV show Custer starring Wayne Maunder. Much of the information contained here comes from two excellent articles by Custer film historian Paul Gagliasso. I don’t claim this list is a definitive list but rather a good starting point into the subject at hand. Corrections or additions are welcome.
d (director) w (writer) c (cast)
The Badlands of Dakota Universal Pictures 1941 B&W When Wild Bill Hickok (Dix) steals saloon keeper Bob Holliday’s (Crawford) girl trouble begins. Featuring an array of Western legends including Hickock, Calamity Jane and George Custer (Addison Richards). Entertaning Western.
d Alfred E. Green w Gerald Geraghty
c Robert Stack, Ann Rutherford, Richard Dix, Francis Farmer, Broderick Crawford, Andy Devine, Addison Richards
Bob Hampton of Placer Bob Neilan Productions 1921 B&W Based on the novel and character created by Randall Parrish. The adventures of Bob Hampton (Kirkwood) with General Custer (Dwight Crittendon) on the Little Big Horn. A very young Howard Hawks served as asst. director. Filmed in Montana and Arizona.
d Marshall Neilan w Marion Fairfax
c James Kirkwood, Wesley Barry, Marjorie Drew, Dwight Crittendon, Pat O’Malley, Noah Berry
Bugles in the Afternoon Cagney Productions 1952 Technicolor A scouting part led by Schaffer (Milland) into Sioux country supplies General Custer (Sheb Wooley) with much needed information on the hostile Indians.
d Ray Rowland w Harry Brown, Daniel Mainwaring
c Ray Milland, Helena Carter, Hugh Marlowe, Barton McLane, George Reeves, Sheb Wooley
Campaigning With Custer Bison Motion Pictures 1913 B&W (Lost film) c William Clifford, Sherman Bainbridge, Val Paul, Clarence Burton
Chief Crazy Horse U-I 1955 Technicolor Crazy Horse (Mature) leads his tribe against Custer at the Little Bighorn. Low budget treatment with cheesy last stand. Standard Hollywood stuff. Captain William J. Fetterman makes an appearance. James Millican plays Gen. George Crook and had also played Custer in 1951’s Warpath.
d George Sherman w Franklin Coen, Gerald Drayson Adams
c Victor Mature, Suzan Ball, John Lund, Ray Danton, David Janssen, James Millican
Crazy Horse Turner Pictures 1996 color Made for TV movie about the famous Sioux warrior. A very good attempt.
Written by Robert Schenkkan who played Captain Thomas Weir in 1991’s Son of the Morning Star.
d John Irvin w Robert Schenkkan
c Michael Greyeyes, Ned Beatty, John Finn, Peter Horton, Wes Studi, August Schellenberg, Daniel O’Haco
Custer’s Last Fight Bison 101 1912 B&W The only surviving copy ends in the middle of the battle. Some of the battle sequences are known to have been used in other movies. Filmed in the hills near Malibu using the famed 101 Ranch and ranch hands as extras. Francis Ford (Custer) served as both star and director of the movie. Grace Cunard played Mrs. Custer. Re-released in 1925 as Custer’s Last Raid. Ford was the older brother of famed director John Ford and in later years appeared in a number of the younger Ford’s pictures in walk on parts. Francis Ford later appeared in another Custer picture, 1941’s They Died With Their Boots On, directed by Raoul Walsh. Ford appeared in an astonishing 479 motion pictures and is best remembered as the sick old man who gets out of bed to watch the town’s big fight in The Quiet Man directed by brother John.
d Francis Ford w Richard V. Spencer
c Francis Ford, Grace Cunard, William Eagle Shirt, V. Barney Sherry
Custer’s Last Raid This 1925 movie was the same movie as Custer’s Last Fight released in 1912 (above).
Custer’s Last Scout Bison Motion Pictures (as 101 Bison) 1915 B&W (Lost film) Alfred Lorenzo Chapman toured the country making personal appearances at carnivals and fairs signing autographs and telling his extraordinary story of witnessing Custer’s Last Stand. Hollywood recognized a good tale when they saw one and cast Chapman as the ‘scout’ in the movie based on his incredible story. Listed as Scott Chapman in credits. One of Hollywood’s early attempts at the Custer saga. Clifford had starred in Campaigning With Custer two years before and stock footage from that movie could have been used in Custer’s Last Scout. No copies are known to exist. Check your attic. Directed by Henry MacRae who directed some of the first Tarzan pictures.
d Henry MacRae w (?)
c William Clifford, Marie Walcamp, Scott Chapman
Custer’s Last Stand Selig Polyscope Company 1909 B&W (Lost Film) Believed to have been shot in Selig’s Chicago studio it is considered the first movie on the Custer/Little Big Horn story. Some later Custer movies may have contained stock footage of the battle scenes taken from the movie. Film no longer exists.
d Francis Boggs
c Hobart Bosworth, Bett Harte, Fran Walsh “The cast includes three Sioux who were present at the actual event in 1876 that the film is based on. The producer had hoped to gain historical information from them, but said later that “the most we could get out of them was that the fight was over so quickly that they could remember little about it.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
“American Film Institute Catalog of Film Beginnings 1893-1910 erroneously credits Tom Mix in the cast of this film; it’s a Selig West Coast production made before Mix came to California and before he entered films.” IMDb
Custer’s Last Stand Stage and Screen 1936 B&W Another of Hollywood’s earlier attempts on the famous last stand. A gold prospecting Indian attempts to warn Custer (Frank McGlynn, Jr.) of danger. Starring William Farnum who was the brother of Dusty Farnum, who played Gen. Custer in 1926’s The Flaming Frontier. Elizabeth Custer (Ruth Mix) makes an appearance.
d Elmer Clifton
c William Farnum, Rex Lease, Reed Howes, Jack Mulhall, Frank McGlynn, Jr., Ruth Mix
Custer of the West Cinema/Security 1967 Super Technirama A fat Custer fights Hollywood Indians. Shaw, sporting a bad wig, is totally miscast as George Armstrong Custer. Shaw’s then wife Mary Ure plays Elizabeth Custer. Dreadful stuff. Writer Bernard Gordon and the production department did very little research into the actual event. The worst of the Custer films and a terrible Western to boot. Filmed in Spain. Did I mention it was dreadful?
d Robert Siodmak w Bernard Gordon
c Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Jeffery Hunter, Mary Ure, Ty Hardin, Lawrence Tierney “Fairly ambitious bio of famed general suffers from script that doesn’t quite know how to characterize him.” Leonard Maltin
The Flaming Frontier Universal 1926 B&W One of the earliest attempts on Custer’s Last Stand and the Pony Express. Supposedly filmed with a staggering $400,000 budget in 1926, the 50th Anniversary of the Custer fight. Shot in California with Umatilla and Cayuse Indians as extras. Several veterans of the Battle of the Little Bighorn attended the New York premiere among which was 85 year old Brig. Gen. Edward Godfrey. Elizabeth Custer declined an invitation.
d Edward Sedgwick w Charles Kenyon, EdwardJ. Montagne
c Hoot Gibson, Ann Cornwall, Dustin Farnum (Custer)
The Glory Guys Levy-Gardner-Laven 1965 color An Indian hating army general with political aspirations leads his men against overwhelming hordes of Indians. Sound familiar? Filmed in Durango, Mexico, this was a thinly veiled version of the Little Bighorn story. The fort was later used for Chisum.
Written by a young Sam Peckinpah.
d Arnold Levin
c Tom Tyron, James Caan, Slim Pickens, Senta Berger, Harve Presnell
The Great Sioux Massacre Columbia/FF 1965 Eastmancolor Major Reno (Cotton) and Captain Benteen (McGavin) are court-martialed after Custer’s Last Stand. Standard Hollywood treatment of history. Actor Phil Carey (Custer) played Capt. Keogh in 1958’s Tonka. Average at best.
d Sidney Salkow w Fred C. Dobbs
c Joseph Cotton, Darren McGavin, Phil Carey, Nancy Kovack, Julie Sommars, Michael Pate
Little Big Man Stockbridge/Hiller/Cinema Center 1970 Technicolor Based on Thomas Berger’s novel in which the sole white survivor of Custer’s Last Stand tells his life story. Filmed near the actual battlefield on the Crow Reservation in Hardin, Montana. Custer and his soldiers in the movie appear as the bad guys. Unlike the character in Berger’s novel Penn’s Custer is a racist fool with no redeeming qualities and as ridiculous as any character in Blazing Saddles. The battle scenes are well done although Custer’s attack on the village is closer to Reno’s valley fight which isn’t shown. Chief Dan George was nominated for best supporting actor. “General, you go down there…if you got the nerve!”
d Arthur Penn w Calder Willingham novel Thomas Berger
c Dustin Hoffman, Martin Balsam, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Richard Mulligan, Jeff Corey
The Plainsman Paramount Pictures 1936 B&W Wild Bill Hickok (Cooper) attempts to stop an Indian uprising started by gun-runners. Buffalo Bill and George Custer (Miljan) throw in their support to Hickock but this DeMille movie lacks a good script.
d Cecil B. DeMille w Courtney Ryley, Frank J. Wilstack
c Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison, Charles Bickford, Helen Burgess, John Miljan
“About as authenticate as Blazing Saddles but who cares–it’s still good fun.” Leonard Maltin
Red Tomahawk A.C. Lyles/Paramount 1967 Technicolor Deadwood, South Dakota goes on the alert after Custer’s defeat on the Little Bighorn.
d R.G. Springsteen w Steve Fisher
c Howard Keel. Joan Caulfield, Broderick Crawford, Scott Brady, Wendell Corey, Richard Arlen, Tom Drake
The 7th Cavalry Producers-Actors Corporation 1956 Technicolor An army captain who missed the Little Big Horn battle tries to redeem himself by volunteering for burial detail. Capt. Benteen (Michael Pate) and Maj. Reno (Frank Wilcox) make an appearance. Filmed in Mexico.
d Joseph H. Lewis w Peter Packer, Glendon Swarthout
c Randolph Scott, Barbara Hale, Jay C. Flippin, Frank Faylen, Denver Pyle, Harry Carey, Jr.
The Scarlet West Frank J. Carroll Productions 1925 B&W (Lost Film) Cardelanche (Robert Frazier), an Eastern educated Indian, returns to his people and is rejected. He saves a cavalry detachment and is promoted to captain and falls in love with the post commander’s daughter (Clara Bow). When his people massacre Custer Cardelanche realizes he can no longer live among the whites and returns to his people leaving his love behind. Elizabeth Custer (Ruth Stonehouse) is the only real person portrayed in the film. No copies of The Scarlet West are known to exist. Ruth Stonehouse was one of the few women involved in the actual business end of the film industry at the time–she co-owned Essanay Films studio along with actor ‘Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson’ and businessman George K. Spoor and made over 100 films for the company.
d John G. Adolf w Anthony Paul Kelly
c Robert Frazier, Clara Bow, Robert Edeson, Walter McGrail, Ruth Stonehouse
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon RKO/Argosy 1949 Technicolor Retiring cavalry officer must deal with Indian uprising. Beautifully written and acted Ford film with all of the Ford ingredients including real Indians. Not really a Custer movie but at one point in the movie Wayne’s character Capt. Brittles talks about the deaths of Custer, Tom Custer, Myles Keogh at his wife’s grave.
d John Ford w Frank Nugent, Laurence Stallings
c John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, George O’Brien, Arthur Shields
Sitting Bull UA/W.R. Frank/Telvoz of Mexico 1954 Eastmancolor A cavalry officer befriends the legendary Sioux leader (J. Carroll Naish) after the massacre of Custer (Douglas Kennedy ) on the Little Bighorn. Average grade B Hollywood western. Sidney Salkow went on to direct another Custer movie 1965’s Great Sioux Massacre.
d Sidney Salkow w Jack de Witt, Sidney Salkow
c Dale Robertson, Mary Murphy, J. Carrol Naish, Iron Eyes Cody, Douglas Kennedy John Litel
Son of the Morning Star Republic Pictures 1991 color Made for television account based on Evan Connell’s bestseller book on the Battle of the Little Bighorn. As near to fact as Hollywood has ever come to the actual event and the only Custer picture to show the principal characters. Both the Custer and Reno fights are well done. Script written by Harrison Ford’s then wife Melissa Mathison. An excellent attempt at the real event. “Tonight we go home by a road we do not know.”
d Mike Robe w Melissa Mathison
c Gary Cole, Rosanna Arquette, Stanley Anderson, Rodney Grant, David Strathairn, Michael Medeiros, Edward Blatchford, Tom O’Brien, Terry O’Quinn, Nick Ramus, Tim Ransom, Dean Stockwell, Robert Schenkkan
They Died with Their Boots On Warner 1941 B&W Dashing Errol Flynn as dashing George Armstrong Custer and his death at the Little Bighorn. Custer sacrifices his command to stop Crazy Horse (Quinn) and a corrupt Indian agent (Kennedy). Of little historical value and rather silly but loads of fun and incredibly charming. Flynn considered this his favorite movie role. Filmed in the rolling hills of Warner Studio’s back lot of Lasky Mesa in Agoura, CA. All American Indian athlete Jim Thorpe appears as an extra. The flame that lit the candle for thousands.
d Raoul Walsh w Wally Kline, Aeneas Mackenzie
c Errol Flynn, Oliva de Havilland, Arthur Kennedy, Anthony Quinn, Sidney Greenstreet, Charles Grapewin, Gene Lockhart, Hattie McDaniel, Francis Ford.
“Studio head Jack Warner was a notorious spendthrift who didn’t like the expense of sending a film company out to a distant location. Still, no film had more influence on the public’s perception of Custer than this 1941 epic, until the cynical ‘Little Big Man’ came along in 1970.” Paul Gagliasso, Old West Journal, Winter 2000
Tonka Walt Disney 1958 Technicolor Disney’s story of Comanche, the noble steed of Capt. Keogh (Phil Carey) and sole survivor of Custer’s Last Stand and his many adventures. One of the first movies to portray Custer in a negative light which was quite surprising coming from Uncle Walt. Movie tagline: The Untold Story Behind the West’s Strangest Legend. d Lewis R. Foster w same
c Sal Mineo, Phil Carey, Jerome Courtland, Rafael Campos, H. M. Wynant
Warpath Paramount Pictures 1951 Technicolor John Vickers joins the Seventh Cavalry seeking revenge for his fiancée’s murder. Filmed on the Crow Reservation, Hardin, Montana. James Millican (Custer) later played Gen George Crook in 1955’s Chief Crazy Horse.
d Byron Haskin w Frank Gruber
c Dean Jagger, Edmond O’Brien, Forrest Tucker, Harry Carey, Jr., James Millican (Custer).
Custer in the Movies list compiled by Dan Gagliasso, LBHA Research Review, Volume V, No. 2, Summer 1971 Errol Flynn’s Custer & The Test Of Time by Louis Kraft, Research Review, The Journal of the Little Big Horn Associates-Vol. 13, No. 2. Summer, 1999 Following The Custer Movie Trail. By Dan Gagliasso. Old West Journal, Winter 2000 The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) Leonard Maltin’s 2007 Movie Guide. Penguin Books. Silver Screen: greatest silent film about Custer by Dan Gagliasso. Greasy Grass, Vol. 16, May 2000 Custer: the Man, the Myth, the Movies by John Langellier. Stackpole, 2000. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102962/usercomments Son of the Morning Star comments
Bates, Also Known As Murphy, Has Three Graves in Sturgis
By Jack McCulloh
Pictures by Scott Nelson
The geography now South Dakota, in 1874, was an empty, blank space on the maps. The highway into this unknown territory was the Missouri River. The post Civil War U.S. Army had troops in camps along the river. Fort Union was one of the major Army forts and was walled with “drive up” windows and a room for trading furs with the Indians. Security dictated Indians not be in direct contact with troops and families inside the fort. The fort in 1874 was commanded by General William Hazen, George Armstrong Custer’s nemesis clear back to West Point when Captain Hazen ordered Custer court-martialed. The fort was where the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers join and run south together.
Southwest of present South Dakota, the Army bought a trading post that became Fort Laramie. Its mission was to supply, rest, repair, and protect the thousands of wagons and people traveling on the Oregon and Mormon Trail. Population in the United States was exploding and everyone with influence in the Territory wanted the Army involved in protection from Indians.
President U.S. Grant’s administration in 1868, by agreement with Red Cloud, abandoned army camps protecting the Bozeman trail to gold fields in Helena, Montana. The treaty agreed buffalo could be harvested by the Indians for seven future generations. (1)
A series of treaties with Indian bands was needed to allow railroads, telegraph lines, roads, and trails to gold rushes to California and Montana, and to the coal mining needed to supply the Transcontinental Railroad and homesteaders moving West up to the 100th meridian. People were moving into blank spots on the map seeking the dream of owning land. What was later labeled “The Great American Desert“, after a generation of starvation, was just on the west side of the Missouri River.
General Phil Sheridan was the driving force behind organizing a massive expedition into this territory in western South Dakota, explore and prepare a map and report on the country around Bear Butte. Sheridan was anxious to have a military post to control the Indians who were not agreeing to go onto a reservation. (2) Crazy Horse was one of those leaders who would not quit the freedom he had always lived.
Sheridan sold President Grant on letting him use the 7th Calvary, stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln at present day Mandan, North Dakota, for the exploration. Across the river at Bismarck was the end of the rail and telegraph lines. Sheridan had the option to use the railroad and Fort Laramie troops but he did not want to stir up the Indians in the area from Fort Laramie to the Black Hills. There were reporters from Chicago and New York on the trip and many other population centers.
The 1874 exploration in the wilderness is memorialized in modern maps of South Dakota. There are over forty-nine map locations: Ludlow, SD (Chief Engineer on the trip); Tilford, SD (Commander of Fort Rice and head of infantry on the trip), Custer peak, and even “Turk head” rock (after one of the hunting hounds the General brought along) because of the exploration.
Scott Nelson, Pierre, SD (3), is making a serious effort to find and photograph the grave sites of members of the 7th Calvary buried in South Dakota. Many were on the 1874 exploration and others enlisted after the trip and were in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. Some served in building Fort Meade in 1877. The army base was located by Sheridan when public pressure arose from the massive numbers of people seeking fortune in the Black Hills due to the reports of gold from the 1874 expedition.
Locating the graves of the 7th Calvary veterans in South Dakota is a challenge. Joseph Bates is an example. Soldiers of the time may or may not have used their given name and often used different names when they enlisted or re-enlisted.
On the east end of Sherman Street is Bear Butte Cemetery, so named because it has a magnificent view of near by Bear Butte, which has a gravestone purchased by the G.A.R. marked Joseph Bates.(4) Also in the Bear Butte Cemetery is a smaller military marker (5) which reads Jno. Murphy inside the G.A.R. and on top of the gravestone is an attached silver plaque of about 3 inches by 4 inches engraved:
Jos C. Murphy
Ernest C. Gottschalk, 97, was the one who attached the metal plaque to the headstone. The inscription “ECG -97″ stands for Ernest C. Gottschalk and 97 is the year he placed the plaque on the tombstone (1997). Before it was engraved by Gottschalk, the silver plaques were the standard marker used to identify grave sites before a headstone was placed in the cemetery. From 1986 Gottschalk, who lived at Vale, S.D., made a project of finding grave sites in many counties in the northwestern part of the state that were no longer marked. He kept records of the graves he found and re-marked them. He filed his findings with county offices in Lawrence, Meade, Butte, Harding, and Ziebach counties, which have booklets of information listing his findings by cemetery (6).
Ernie Gottschalk was given a Certificate of Recognition from the South Dakota State Historical Society Board of Trustees in December 1993 “for documenting burial sites.” These certificates are given out from time to time for meritorious acts in the history field.
Gottschalk depended heavily on pioneer papers of the area, most of which are only available on microfilm in local libraries. Gottschalk died in 1997.
On the west end of Sherman Street in Sturgis is the Catholic St. Aloysius cemetery. It’s about three miles straight west from Bear Butte cemetery.
Joseph Bates has the only military marker in one section of the Catholic cemetery. He was a survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn valley and the hilltop fights.
Bates obituary said:
“Joe Bates is dead. And the verdict of the coroner’s jury is ….he took Paris green with suicidal intent. No blame is attached to anybody, as Bates repeatedly said he was all right, and wouldn’t have a doctor. The coroner’s jury decided he died by his own hand.
Deceased served in M Troop, 7th cavalry, and was first sergeant for some time. He has been around Fort Meade ever since the post was established, and was a laborer or teamster in the quartermaster’s department for years. He had only one ear, having lost the other at Fort Lincoln…He was driving an ambulance when the team ran away and he fell under the vehicle, one wheel cutting the left ear off clean, but doing him no other harm. Bates was buried yesterday afternoon, and Calvin Duke post members, G.A.R. followed his remains to the grave.” (7)
Bates was born in Rhode Island and re-enlisted in 1870 at age 31 in Carlisle, Penna. He deserted in 1872, was apprehended in 1873, and joined Company M by Special Order issued by the Headquarters Department of Dakota in 1874. He is not listed as Bates on the 1874 trip into the Black Hills area but John Murphy is listed as a private in 17th U.S. Infantry (commanded by Major Lewis G Sanger) and 7th US Calvary(Commanded by 1st Lt. Donald McIntosh) (8)
Bates was 55 years old when he died. His military record shows when he was 40 years old the post surgeon certified Bates “as incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because the nearly 27 years that I have known this man he has been on Sick Report or in the hospital. Half the time for inebriation bordering on delirium…..He is useless as a soldier and unfit for that profession”
Bates service records listed him as Joseph C. Murphy in L, 1st Massachusetts Calvary in 1863 rising to the rank of 1st Sergeant. After the Civil war he re-enlisted as Joseph Bates and was assigned to the 7th Calvary.
He may have suffered from shell shock/combat fatigue. In those days alcohol or addiction to morphine was the only way soldiers could deal with this problem. Many soldiers were sent to insane asylums or committed suicide. Bates’ long military service and memories of action at Little Bighorn with Company M may have been too much for him. (9 & 10) He was discharged in 1877 after the post surgeon at Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, issued his report.
Civil War records say that John Murphy was a Captain in Company L of the 1st Massachusetts Calvary; his death is listed as September 11, 1893, and his headstone was supplied by the Vermont Marble Company for the Bear Butte Cemetery in Sturgis, S.D. (10)
This research is presented with the hope someone has information that will answer questions that still remain.
1. People who have not read the Treaty of 1868 still claim it says “so long as grass grows and water flows.” No agreement with Indians – or Treaty – during Presidents Grants eight year administration has any such language or guarantee.
2. President Grants’ policies for Indians of the time; a. Sanctuaries (Reservations) b. annuities and c. re-location. d. Peace e. time lines.
4. Section 2, lot 43, Bear Butte Cemetery. The GAR was active in providing financial assistance to veterans with no family and no money.
5. Section 2, lot 45, Bear Butte Cemetery
6. Angela M. Ross, Meade County Register of Deeds, Sturgis, S.D. – E. Mail – firstname.lastname@example.org – keeps on file in her office the material Gottschalk filed with Meade County by cemetery of graves he found and marked with these plaques. Ross reports Gottschalk filed with many counties information specific to the county where he filed the report. He also did some marking of graves in Wyoming. The legality of marking 300 graves and changing markings on headstones with aliases used by veterans, based on obituaries published, for over 10 years is an open question.
7. Sturgis Weekly Record, September, 1893
8. In the book Private Theodore Ewert’s Diary of the Black Hills Expedition of 1874 – edited by John M Carroll and Dr. Lawrence H Frost – No Joseph Bates is listed in the roster of the Command and civilians. John Murphy is listed as a Private in Company G, 7th US Cavalry, and command of 1st Lt Donald McIntosh. John Murphy is listed as a private in Company G. 17th US Infantry under command of Major Lewis G Sanger. No Joseph G Murphy, John Murphy, or Joseph Bates is listed in the roster of civilian teamsters
9 & 10 Book – Men with Custer – Biographies of the 7th Calvary – 25 June, 1876 by Kenneth Hammer -E Mail communication with John A. Doerner, Chief Historian, Little Big Horn Battlefield, November 14, 2007. – John_Doerner@nps.gov
11. The NPS Soldiers and Sailors web site lists Joseph c. Murphy. It lists two John Murphy’s in the 1st Mass. Calvary.
Jack McCulloh, Larry Owen, and Joe Sanders all of Rapid City started tracking as a hobby and a way of hiking in the Hills every week including skiing Terry Peak. the Custer Trail in the Black Hills with a GPS in 1994. After the publication of this research McCulloh started guiding groups to sites visited by the 1874 Exploration and conducting community education classes on the 1874 expedition.
Scott Nelson describes himself as a Custer buff.