I have studied the Battle since I was young but have had my interest re-kindled as of late. I wanted to ask about soldiers bodies being found miles from the battlefield. I recently read the article in research review about the man who made it to the rosebud (Nathan Short). I also saw where Walt Cross is coming out with a book about Lt. Harrington. Apparently it states that his body was found miles from the field. I also remember reading about a theory of a small group of soldiers fleeing the field before being caught by warriors near the wolf mountains and being killed. Can anyone enlighten me on what bodies have been found away from the field? I know Mr. Cross posts on here often and I am not asking him to give his book's story away (I do plan to purchase it) but any input would be appreciated.
Dan; There are vague accounts of many remains found away from the LBH battlefield. I think there is a good deal of material that can be researched along those lines. There are still many men yet to be accounted for. In the case of Harrington there was intentional deceit on the part of the Army surgeon who found his remains a year after the battle. It is my belief he intentionally concealed where he found the remains to make them more interesting to the Surgeon General. To say he found them miles away from the LBH would cast some doubt as to whether the soldier was actually in the fight. This deception paid off as the surgeon was eventually appointed to the very museum to whom he sent the remains.
If memory serves many stories of scattered remains are in a book titled something like "Memories of a White Crow". Written by a man who rode the LBH area for years. I have not been able to get a copy of this book.
As usual, you come up with some hard answers. It's always interesting & informative to see your knowledge/opinions. You're right on the "Memories of a White Crow". The book was written/about Thomas LeForgey(Thomas H. LeForge). When is your book coming out--we can't wait!!! Gary Owen!
Mike; Thanks for the information. Have you read this book? The excerpt I read was very interesting. Thank you for your kind words, not sure I deserve them, but I appreciate it.
As for my book, I keep asking Nebraska that myself, I had really hoped, probably without any real possibility, that they would move on it before June and in time for the anniversary. That is likely not in the cards now.
I understand the manuscript has been read by the editorial staff who obviously liked it, and forwarded to two staff historians for their input. Normally (so they tell me) this takes about 30 days, they have now had my manuscript for 60. Not sure if that's a good sign or a bad sign, but as long as I don't get a rejection slip I guess it remains a possibility. The last step after the historians is a review by the university's publishing committee that makes sure nothing goes out that damages the institution's reputation or standing. I was not too kind to the Smithsonian in my conclusion, their lack of cooperation was maddening and that may give the university cause to pause. I remain impatient but hopeful.
Post by John Mackintosh on May 29, 2005 19:34:50 GMT -5
I think the Nathan Short story has been discredited. See Douglas Ellison's booklet entitled MYSTERY OF THE ROSEBUD in which he argues that the horse found near the Rosebud in August was probably that of a Seventh Cavalry deseter who peeled off from the regiment as they marched away from the Yellowstone on June 22. He sells this on ebay some.
Post by Michael Nunnally on May 30, 2005 9:09:07 GMT -5
The Nathan Short story is complete myth. What we have here is a murder mystery...but with no body. Three privates claimed to have viewed the body. Wimayer, Adams and Galvin....but of all of the officers that were present, none said anything about a body with the horse. These officers actually viewed the scene; Second Lt. Charles Booth...''I never heard of any human body being found.''
Capt. Walter Clifford...''The horse was shot between the eyes...not the slightest trace of the rider.''
Lt. Godfrey...''no body was found.''
It is interesting to note all officers present at the scene none saw a body. But three privates said they viewed the body but viewed in context with evidence their stories are complete bull. The Short hat story was invented by Sgt. Kanipe..who wasn't present. Bodies were found thru the years..1886 and on, probably miners...ALL had on civilian clothes and were found up to 5 miles away..NOT with the horse.
If a body had been found wouldn't some one had buried it and made note of it? I mean this was a fellow trooper. The facts are the Short story is the product of runaway minds.....psst..pass it on..... that type of thing. I have a small piece on it in my new book '' I SURVIVED CUSTER'S LAST STAND.'' The book addresses a number of myths surrounding the battle....it will be released this month. I was fortunate enough to do the cover art for Doug Ellison's book '' MYSTERY OF THE ROSEBUD,'' which is the best book written on the subject. A very insightful read.
Since I started this thread I thought I would chime back in. As stated earlier I am an amatuer LBH student so I am not saying I am right or wrong and certainly do not intend to impugn people's opinions who differ from mine. However there certainly seems to be a lot of people who feel that there was a body discovered a couple of miles away from the dead horse. And whether it is myth or not, Nathan Short seems to be the one a lot of people believe the body to be. I guess one question i would ask is why did these privates just pull Nathan Short's name out of the blue. And Doran's article says the rancher buried a skeleton in uniform. And I beleieve this was independent of the soldier's account. Anyway it is certainly fun to discuss these things and I am trying to locate the Ellison book/article and I am looking forward to reading the last gentlemen's book when it is published
Post by Walt Cross on May 30, 2005 16:10:48 GMT -5
I have not been able to locate Ellison's book about the Rosebud. However, is this not the same Ellison that wrote a book titled something like "Sole Survivor" about a man named Finckle who claimed to have survived the battle? Not many folks I know put much credibility in that book. But I will give him the benefit of the doubt and read the Rosebud mystery if I can find it.
Post by Michael Nunnally on May 31, 2005 7:35:58 GMT -5
Yes bodies were found thru the years...A contractor named Mitchell who was believed to have been murdered in 1886...also several miners bodies were found...perhaps killed by other miners for their payroll money. But getting back to Nathan Short...all accounts that said they actually viewed the body placed it with the horse but a number of officers present that viewed the same scene said this was complete fabrication. Now why do we believe it was Nathan Short?....because Sgt. Daniel Kanipe said so....he openly admitted to NOT being there and didn't really know the origins of the ''hat story''. We have a hat story that begins with Kanipe and the rumor/gossip builds to the point that we put a monument to Nathan Short?...where is a monument to Pvt. Oscar Warner?...Did rancher Doran really bury a soldier? or did he bury one of the afore mentioned miners who ''evolved'' into a soldier? There is one candidate though....Pvt. John Walton dropped out at some point on the way to the Little Big Horn..records indicate he may have died from hemorrhaging of the lungs although he was not found with the Rosebud Horse but miles away...but we'll never know if it was him or a miner....the point is we shouldn't run around putting up monuments based on gossip....History is a world of FACT not myth. Walt, Yes it is the same Doug Ellison who wrote Sole Survivor although I don't know if Doug still stands by those beliefs..remember Frank Finkel buffaloed a number of peolpe including one or two historians although I don't know why...his tall tale fits none of the facts and there is absolutely no evidence he ever served anywhere and strangely would never meet with actual veterans. Ellison's book ''Mystery of the Rosebud'' is available on line and well worth the money though. I recommend it. check it out at www.dakotacrossroads.com/mystery_of_the_rosebud.htm
Post by Walt Cross on May 31, 2005 13:15:38 GMT -5
Mike; Thanks for the link. Others have recommended it as well. I enjoyed Ellison's "Sole Survivor" I just didn't believe it. He is a good writer. By the way, here are two soldiers that say they saw Nathan Short:
Private Jacob Adams of H Company, 7th Cavalry stated:
“…we camped on the north side of the Yellowstone, opposite the Rosebud. After we broke camp there, I saw a dead soldier and a dead horse south of the Yellowstone only a few miles from it…The carbine was with the body and all the equipment, and the leather sling was still over the [soldier’s] shoulder.”
Private Ferdinand Widmayer of M Company, 7th Cavalry:
“I saw Nathan Short. I heard that a dead soldier was found and went to see him. The bones of the man and the dead horse and a carbine were found. The sling belt was still on the skeleton. It was near the Rosebud. The body lay out in an open space near some brush, but not in the brush… ”
Source: Hammer, Kenneth M., Custer in ’76: Walter M. Camp’s Notes on the Custer Battle p. 199 Ibid. p. 200.
Not sure we can just dismiss these first hand accounts because someone who was not there says its a myth.
Post by Mike Nunnally on May 31, 2005 16:47:24 GMT -5
I have to think the accounts of Adams, Galvin and Widmayer are pure bull....how could they view the same scene as Lt. Godfrey, Second Lt. Booth and Captain Clifford who say it was just a horse...and then say a body was there?.....are they actually documented as being there? the afore mentioned officers were there...who do you believe..the officers or the privates? The accounts of the privates are more exciting and thats what people want..that's why THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER is so sucessful......I place no validity at all in the pvts.'s accounts. There were so many actual participants of the Battle who ended up lying about what they did and saw...less us consider later accounts of Goldin...said he was one of the last messagers to Custer..he wasn't....Pvt. Stowers...said he was with Custer and survived...he wasn't...Peter Thompson..said he watched the last stand...he didn't...Frank Grouard..said he stumbled upon the Custer battlefield the next day...he didn't, he was with Crook at the time. anyway the list is long which I talk about in my book. A number of men seemed to have the need to build up their role in the fight...human nature I suppose. Anyway these accounts sure make the battle more interesting!!
I am a retired enlisted man, master sergeant to be exact. I place as much trust in a soldier's word as an officer's, sometimes more. Officers often have hidden agendas "for the good of the corps" or to protect their "honor" things like that.
I just don't think contemporary accounts should be dismissed so easily. I try to view narrative with as little bias as I can. Who knows, maybe someone buried the soldier's remains before the officers saw it. Herendeen stated that his Crow scouts told him there was a man's remains there. He didn't go look at it true, but what agenda did the Indians have for lying? The officers took care of their own at LBH, the soldiers remains were pretty much ignored except by their friends and comrades.
I agree with you--I trust an enlisted man's word more than an officer's--wasn't an officer behind the false testimony that was signed supporting Reno & the FBI years later found the signatures to be bogus?!
Also, I did read the book on "Memories of A White Crow" & it was about Tom Le Forge--it was good in that he told about going over the battlefield right after battle & years later & there were bones/relics everywhere. When is your book coming out? I like your opinions in that you use reasons & facts & you don't let emotions come into play--keep up the good work/research. Gary Owen!!!! Was Sturgis's body ever thought to have been identified--not just a piece of clothing?
The privates that viewed the dead body with the horse are suspect. I don't know if records can actually place them there. The officers that viewed the body are documented as being there, but I think we are talking about two different things all together. Several bodies were found in the area over a number of years...but none was found with the horse. The three privates accounts are highly suspicious. Who would have allowed a private to drop out of their command to go see a dead horse with rider? Private Galvin's accounts really is different....he said the body was that of a Lieutenant id'd by his shoulder straps.....the other privates never mentioned this. ..and Galvin has the body full of arrows! Since the officers never saw anything like this, nor did anyone else, the whole story smacks of an over active mind.
Anyway Lt. Godfrey had the rank and access to fully investigate the matter...and he did. His conclusion is not the exciting version of the story people prefer. Anyway the whole story would never hold up in a court of historical findings...there still is no actual proof of the dead body WITH THE HORSE....let me repeat with the horse. We are talkiing about two different things here. The point on the truthfulness of the privates is based on a number their testimonies which have been proven to be made up..but that is another subject altogether.