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.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Saturday, September 26, 2020
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.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Every time I read a book I keep a small notepad close by to jot down any notes pertaining to the 7th Cavalry troopers buried in South Dakota. I keep individual files on each trooper and all the information I find goes into these files. I live in Pierre, the state capital of South Dakota, and home to the SD State Archives. I scratch through the old newspapers on microfilm and their other files looking for mentions of these men. I have collected photos, obituaries, news stories, etc. I'm always on the prowl for new information.
Early on in my research I heard about a magazine that contained articles in which I knew I would be interested - Sunshine Magazine, published in Sioux Falls, Issues of this magazine from back in the 1930's contained articles about Daniel Newell, Charles Windolph, and others. I had to find these magazines. I searched flea markets, Ebay, and other websites, trying to find this elusive treasure. No luck. No one I talked to had even heard of it. I was about to give up.
Then I found something. I saw mention that Custer historian John M. Carroll had collected these articles and published them in pamphlet form. They were published under the title, THE SUNSHINE MAGAZINE ARTICLES, in 1979. OK, now I was more optimistic about my chances of finding these articles.
In 2009, my buddies and I (we call ourselves MONTANA MAYHEM), were in Billings, MT, for the conference of the Little Big Horn Associates. One of the highlights of these conferences in a book room. If you're a history nut, you'll be in heaven hunting through all the books available. While there one of my buddies, Michael Olson, said, "Hey Scott, aren't you looking for this?" I looked over and he was holding a copy of THE SUNSHINE MAGAZINE ARTICLES pamphlet. I rushed over and bought it immediately. The search was over!
It wasn't anything special as far as production value went. It certainly wasn't much to look at. It looked simply like a mimeographed booklet. It was however, signed and numbered (#22 of 100) by Mr. Carroll. I was thrilled. Twenty-nine pages including the introduction and signature pages.
|Windolph's grave at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, SD|
I try and collect every reference I can find to these troopers who are buried in South Dakota. I had been searching for THE SUNSHINE MAGAZINE ARTICLES for quite some time and they did not disappoint. Any opportunity you have to obtain primary source material, jump at the chance. Reading these soldier's experiences in their own words is priceless.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
|George Weaver grave, Post Cemetery, Fort Meade, South Dakota|
|George Weaver, 7th U.S. Cavalry|
(courtesy of Pamela Garvin Schneider)
Saturday, June 13, 2020
First, a little background information...
James Rooney was born in New York City in 1848. He died half a continent away on August 5, 1918, in Yankton, South Dakota, at the State Hospital. During his stint in the 7th U.S. Cavalry, he was a member of Company F, under Captain George Yates. Luckily, for Rooney, he was detailed to help with the pack train on June 25, 1876. Most of his company followed Custer into the fight and were wiped out.
He was promoted to sergeant on November 10, 1876 and was discharged on December 3 of the following year at Fort Buford, Dakota Territory, upon expiration of service.
He was admitted to the Yankton State Hospital in July 1911. He died at age 74 (which is at odds with his supposed date of birth) at 3:45pm on August 5, 1918, at Yankton State Hospital. Cause of death was carcinoma of the lip. Buried in Grave 593, Yankton State Hospital Cemetery (now South Dakota Human Services Center).
|Rooney's grave at Yankton, South Dakota|
During the 7th Cavalry's march to the Little Big Horn, they lost a pack from one of the mules. A few soldiers went back to retrieve it and found Indians trying to break the pack open. Shots were fired and the Indians left the scene. The troopers reported the incident and this was a factor that convinced Custer his column had been discovered and the village was about to be warned. Since the army was worried the Indians would scatter, Custer decided to attack. I mention this because according to the book, Camp, Custer, and the Little Bighorn by Richard G. Hardorff -- "The men who went back to check on the pack that was lost were Sgt. William A. Curtiss and Privates James M. Rooney, William Brown, Patrick Bruce, and Sebastian Omling, all of F Company."
As I mentioned above Rooney was a private in F Company assigned to the pack train. He took part in the hilltop fight portion of the Little Big Horn battle.
Now we finally get to the point of my post to the LBHA Facebook group and this blog entry.
Walter Mason Camp was a renowned Little Big Horn researcher and his notes are priceless to the modern day student of the battle. As Rooney had participated in the hilltop portion of the Little Big Horn battle, Camp would definitely have been interested in getting any insight Rooney would have been able to provide. In a January 16, 1909 letter to Camp, Rooney made the weird comment that when Captain Benteen arrived on Reno Hill, he was wearing a big straw hat and carrying a fishing pole!
As odd and far-fetched as that seems, it can possibly be explained. The letter between Camp and Rooney was 33 years after the battle. I don't know about you but my memory may be a bit lacking when it comes to details from 30+ years ago. This is one of the issues with getting participant testimony so long after the events transpired.
I believe that in the years following the battle, Rooney had read up on the campaign in which he was a participant. It is a well-known fact that after the Battle of the Rosebud, Crook retreated to Goose Creek, near present-day Sheridan, WY, and spent a lot of the time fishing. I'm thinking maybe Rooney congealed what he remembered from that stressful day during the battle with what he read over the years and simply mixed Benteen up with Crook. Also, since Rooney was with the pack train, he would have arrived on Reno Hill AFTER Benteen had already gotten there.
My Facebook post garnered some interesting discussion. A couple of group member comments that struck me as particularly interesting (I've left off the poster information):
"The story I’ve read about the fishing pole was that it occurred one year later when Benteen and the 7th Cavalry were deployed in the Nez Perce campaign against Chief Joseph."
OK, this I would find more believable if it wasn't for one thing...I can't find any documentation to support the claim that Rooney was part of the campaign against the Nez Perce. I checked the three "roster" reference books I have and none have a mention of Rooney participating in the Nez Perce campaign. Of course that doesn't mean that he didn't.
"A number of the 7th's officers, including Benteen & Godfrey, were ardent fly fishermen & went fishing whenever the opportunity presented itself while on route up the Rosebud. By the mid-19th century most fishermen were using split-cane bamboo rods, which were very fragile, broke easily & couldn't be stowed safely with the packs. To prevent their breakage, the officers generally kept their poles close to hand."
This is another post that makes some sense to me. But fragile or not, I really can't see Benteen walking around during an Indian battle with a fishing pole over his shoulder.
Whatever the reason, it's certainly an interesting remark and makes one think. Did Rooney confuse things or was Benteen an even cooler cucumber than he's been portrayed? Something to ponder...