Posts Tagged ‘Porter’

This Week in Little Bighorn History

John Curtis Hall was born on January 29, 1852, in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. He was a Private in Company D who participated in the hilltop fight. On January 7, 1888, he was disabled by a gunshot wound in his left thigh and knee. He was married with one son and resided in Warsaw, Indiana, for the last ten years of his life. He died in Warsaw on April 6, 1908, and is said to be buried in a cemetery there.

Other Seventh Cavalry anniversaries this week include:

  • Michael Martin died at Bear Paw Mountain, Montana, on January 30, 1877, due to a shot in his chest and was buried in the Custer National Cemetery on Crow Agency, Montana.
  • Frederic Francis Girard, an interpreter for the cavalry, died on January 30, 1913, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He was buried in the Saint Benedict’s Parish Cemetery in Avon, Minnesota.
  • John C. Creighton, a Private in Company K who participated in the hilltop fight, died in Tacoma, Washington, on January 30, 1935, and was buried in the Tacoma Mausoleum.
  • Garrett H. Van Allen was born on February 1, 1846, in Bethlehem, New York. He was a Private with Company C who was killed with Custer’s column and was buried on Last Stand Hill.
  • George Heid died at Fort Totten, Dakota Territory, on February 1, 1887. He was a Private in Company M who was in both the valley and hilltop fights. He was buried in Custer National Cemetery.
  • James Ezekiel Porter was born on February 2, 1847, in Strong, Maine. He was a First Lieutenant in Company I who was presumed killed and may have been buried on Last Stand Hill.
  • Dr. Henry Rinaldo Porter was born in New York Mills, New York, on February 3, 1848. He was the Acting Assistant Surgeon during the battle. He died in Agra, India, and was buried there.
  • Charles A. Campbell was born on February 3, 1850, in Boone County, Illinois. He was a Private in Company B who rode with the pack train and fought in the hilltop fight. He died in Bismarck.
  • Levi Madison Thornberry was born in Marietta, Ohio, on February 3, 1853. He was a Private in Company M who participated in the valley and hilltop fights. He died in Palmer, Ohio, in 1902.
  • Thomas J. Finnegan died on February 4, 1923, in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was a Private in Company F who was on detached service at the time of the battle. His burial location is not known.
  • William E. Robinson died in Seattle, Washington, on February 4, 1928. He was a Private in Company M who participated in the valley and hilltop fights. His burial location is not known.
  • Henry M. Brinkerhoff died on February 4, 1933, in Los Angeles, California, and was buried in the National Cemetery there. He was a Private in Company G who participated in the valley and hilltop fights.

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: