George Armstrong Custer | Prairie Public Broadcasting

George Armstrong Custer

30th anniversary of the restored Custer House

Jul 8, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A ceremony was held this weekend at Ft. Lincoln State Park south of Mandan, marking the 30th anniversary of the opening of the restored Custer House.

That’s where 7th Cavalry commander Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his wife stayed after he was assigned to Ft. Abraham Lincoln – and before he was killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, near modern-day Hardin, Montana.

Libbie Custer

Sep 14, 2018

On May 18th, 1876, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry rode west from Fort Abraham Lincoln for a summer campaign against the Lakotas, with the regimental band playing the stirring military song: “Garry Owen.”         

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (“Libbie),” and many soldiers’ wives stood along the road to watch them go. The “sad-faced wives” waved a courageous farewell, smiling bravely “to keep the ones they loved from knowing the anguish of their breaking hearts.” It was hard to keep from despairing when the musicians played the plaintive tune: “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” That became prophecy, for Custer, and the soldiers who rode with him the following month on June 25th would die at the Little Big Horn.

As Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his thousand-man expedition meandered south and west to the Black Hills in the summer of 1874, there were more than soldiers making the trip. A black woman called Aunt Sally was along as a cook; sixty or seventy Arikaras and Santee Sioux were scouts; five journalists tagged along; an engineering detachment and a party of scientists included a geologist, paleontologist and botanist; there were two prospectors; and also on the trail was William H. Illingworth, the expedition photographer.

Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was busy in the summer of 1874. General Phil Sheridan had selected Custer’s Seventh Cavalry for an expedition to the Black Hills to scout out a possible site for an Army fort. Custer’s men were stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln, across the Missouri River from Bismarck in Dakota Territory. Sheridan had first considered sending the expedition from Fort Laramie in Wyoming territory, but decided against it based on perceived hostilities from Native Americans.

Jacob Horner

Jun 20, 2018

George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry will forever be remembered for the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or Greasy Grass, on June 25-26, 1876, when Custer and 263 of his men died fighting Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.

The fight did not involve every soldier in the 7th Cavalry. One of the fortunate ones was Jacob Horner.  His story was published on this date in 1936.