Motorhead Quote

"The battlefields are silent now. The graves all look the same." -- Motorhead,Voices from the War

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Down in the Valley

Many of the troopers represented on this website participated in the valley fight portion of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. 

Elijah Strode was serving as orderly to Lt. Charles Varnum. On the retreat to the bluffs, Strode was shot in the thigh and had to be assisted by Varnum and another trooper in remounting a horse. He made it to the top and survived the battle.

Samuel McCormick gave his horse to Lt. McIntosh in the rush to leave the timber and make it to the bluffs. Other versions report that McIntosh commandeered McCormick's horse. However it happened, McCormick found himself without a horse and made it to the top of the bluffs on foot. He survived the battle and died in 1908.

John Lattman was one of several men left in the timber during the retreat. He would eventually join the rest of his comrades on the hilltop, possibly as part of Herendeen's group, and survive the battle. He died near Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1913.

Daniel Newell witnessed his bunkie being shot down during the retreat to the bluffs. Newell was wounded in the left leg at the beginning of the retreat from the valley during the Little Bighorn fight on June 25, 1876.  He was taken to Fort Lincoln aboard the steamer Far West.  His story of the Battle of the Little Bighorn was published in The Sunshine Magazine on September 30, 1930.  

These are just a few of the stories of the troopers and their experiences in the valley fight along the Little Big Horn River in June 1876. My friend, Frederic Wagner, has a new book out about the valley fight portion of the Little Big Horn battle. He gave a Zoom presentation to promote the book.

Order Fred's book direct from the publisher, McFarland or on Amazon. Watch Fred's presentation below.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Email Service Expiring

It seems that Feedburner is discontinuing it's email service in July 2021. What does that mean? Well, if you subscribe to this website and receive updates via email, that will end in July. This website will continue and will be updated as usual. I typically publish updates every six weeks on Saturday mornings. So please stop by to see what's going on. You can always drop me an email - scott.nelson[at] Just replace the [at] with @. Sorry, have to do that to fight off the spammers.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Captain Grant Marsh - Little Big Horn Hero

Captain Grant Marsh

There was one hero of the Little Big Horn battle who did not receive a Medal of Honor: Grant Marsh, captain of the Far West. Grant Marsh was a riverboat pilot and captain who was noted for his many piloting exploits on the upper Missouri River and the Yellowstone River in Montana from 1862 until 1882. He is probably best known for his piloting of the steamer Far West during the Sioux Campaign of 1876. 

During the operations that summer of 1876, the Far West transported troops and supplies for the army. It also served as a sort of meeting place for the officers to plot their plans to find and defeat the 'hostile' Sioux Indians.

The Far West

After the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Grant Marsh piloted the Far West down the Yellowstone and the Missouri Rivers to Bismarck, carrying troopers who were wounded in the fight back to Fort Abraham Lincoln. He brought the first news of the "Custer Massacre," which was published to the nation via telegraph from Bismarck. In delivering the wounded, Captain Marsh set a downriver steamboat record, around 710 river miles in 54 hours. He was indeed one of the heroes that summer. 

Captain Grant Marsh died in Bismarck, North Dakota, on January 6, 1916. He is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Bismarck. A large engraved stone marks his grave.

Grant Marsh gravesite in Bismarck, ND.

Due to the whole COVID fiasco, I was feeling a bit of cabin fever back in July 2020. I decided to take a drive down to Yankton, South Dakota, to explore a couple of the Captain Grant Marsh locations in that city. While Marsh was in Yankton, he purchased a brick house in 1877. In April 1883, with his own packet boat, the W.J. Behan, he participated in transporting the Lakota leader Sitting Bull and his remaining followers from Fort Yates to Fort Randall where they were detained after their return from Canada.

The former Grant Marsh home at 513 Douglas Avenue, Yankton, SD

Grant Marsh statue at Riverside Park, Yankton, SD

If you're interested in reading more about Captain Grant Marsh, or riverboat traffic on the Missouri River, I would recommend picking up a copy of the book CONQUEST OF THE MISSOURI

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Rest in Peace Gerry Schultz

A friend of mine passed away the other day. Gerry Schultz was a scholar of the Battle of the Little Big Horn and of trooper Peter Thompson in particular. Gerry knew anything and everything about the guy. He would scour through books, magazines, and the internet looking for obscure mentions of Peter Thompson to add to his database of knowledge. He was an avid contributor to the many message boards and Facebook groups dedicated to the study of the Little Big Horn fight and the 7th U.S. Cavalry. That's where I first came into contact with Gerry... online.

Later, during one of our Montana Mayhem trips, we met Gerry in person. He was as friendly and welcoming in the flesh as he was online. Every trip thereafter we made a point to visit and catchup with Gerry. He was a re-enactor and portrayed Peter Thompson to the masses, not only during the big battle anniversary weekend but he would give presentations and talks throughout the year on his favorite subject. He loved sharing his passion for history and I'm sure he ignited the interest in more than a few people.

You will be terribly missed Gerry.

Gerry at his campsite, US Cavalry School, Little Big Horn Battlefield, June 2013.

Gerry with an old bugle. Little Big Horn Battlefield, June 2013. Also shown are renowned Custer re-enactor Steve Alexander and author Fred Wagner.

Gerry answering questions at the High Plains Western Heritage Center, Spearfish, South Dakota, June 2017.

Gerry Schultz, portraying trooper Peter Thompson at the High Plains Western Heritage Center, Spearfish, South Dakota, June 2017. On the stand next to Gerry is Peter Thompson's actual Medal of Honor, awarded for his actions as a water carrier at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Joseph Bates - Death Announcement

Joseph Bates is an anomaly when it comes to gravesites of the 7th U.S. Cavalry in that he has three headstones in two different cemeteries. I am working on a detailed post which will outline the mystery of Trooper Bates and his final resting place(s). 

This update to the Joseph Bates page will add a death announcement which appeared in the Sully County Watchman on September 29, 1893. The Sully County Watchman was published in Onida, South Dakota, which is in the central portion of the state, roughly 30 miles northeast of the capital city of Pierre.

It was reported that Bates died after ingesting the chemical Paris Green. Wikipedia describes Paris Green as "a highly toxic emerald-green crystalline powder that has been used as a rodenticide and insecticide, and also as a pigment, despite its toxicity. It is also used as a blue colorant for fireworks. The color of Paris green is said to range from a pale blue green when very finely ground, to a deeper green when coarsely ground.

Paris Green

Whether it was suicide or an accident is up for debate. 

The post surgeon at Fort Rice on February 19, 1878, noted that: “I certify I have carefully examined the said Private Joseph Bates...and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier...he is useless as a soldier and unfit for that profession..." (Pension File 1017491, Records Group 15, National Archives.)

  • Paris Green can image is courtesy of:
  • The post surgeon comments can be found in the Bates bio in Men With Custer: Biographies of the 7th Cavalry, edited by Ron Nichols.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Obituary Added for Trooper Krusee

Last time I added a page for Henry "Harry" Krusee, a 7th trooper who was on detached service at the time of the Little Big Horn battle. Krusee died in Hot Springs, South Dakota in 1925 and is buried in the National Cemetery there. In this update I am adding an obituary for him from the June 11, 1925 issue of the Hot Springs Star.

Henry Krusee Obituary - Hot Springs Star - June 11, 1925


Saturday, September 26, 2020

New 7th Cavalry Trooper Added

I'm excited for this update. I have a new 7th Cavalry trooper to add to the website. I don't know why it's taken so long and I'm not going to make any excuses. So, finally, Henry "Harry" Krusee is a part of this website.

I will be adding more information (photos, articles, obituaries, etc.) to Krusee's page as we move along. Here are a few "get to know him" details...

He was born in New York on October 5, 1840. He was on detached service at the time of the Little Big Horn battle so did not participate in that action.

He was discharged 30 November 1885 at Fort Meade by expiration of service as a private of excellent character. He died on June 3, 1925, at Hot Springs, South Dakota, and is buried in the National Cemetery in Hot Springs.