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The George Armstrong Custer Collection of the
Monroe County Library System

Custer in the News
In Monroe County and throughout the United States

UNKNOWN HERO'S BONES BURIED BY CUSTER'S MEN

(New York Herald Tribune, Sunday June 27, 1926)

With the Little Big Horn knoll, where General George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry detachment were overwhelmed by Indians fifty years ago, rising to the North like an impassive spectator, seven ancient warriors braved a blistering sun today to repay a long deferred debt to a former comrade in arms.

Unhonored and unsung his bones had lain a half century in a remote draw slashing the southern wing of the Little Big Horn ride, to which the horsemen under Major Reno had been pressed by the Indian bands that had already wiped out Custer's s quadron.

Forgotten by his troubled comrades, his bones never were moved from the spot where he fell. Three weeks ago, there were turned up by a plow. Three little brass buttons told the story. He was laid to rest today with military honors on a flat plain skirting the road upon which Major Reno had dismounted his cavalry and charged the Indians, who were even then shooting Custer's command down.

His name, his troop, his kin, are unknown. It was enough for these seven veterans of the frontier time that he wore the uniform of the Seventh, and it was enough for General E.S. Godfrey, survivor of the battle, in whose command the unknown soldier had served. The rites with the placing of a cross upon a spot some little distance away to mark the scene of Major Reno's successful final repulse of Chief Gall's redskins, ended the ceremonies of the semi-centennial of the Custer disaster.

It was a moving spectacle. Behind the seven old white men, wondering who the unknown might be, and handful of wrinkled Indian chiefs, in feathers and war paint, also had gathered about the grave to accord martial honors to their ancient enemy. Like the whites, they were survivors of the battle. Probably they will never again meet on this earth.

Three airplanes circled above and hummed a strange requiem as the remains were lowered into the ground. Troopers of the 7th Cavalry, the regiment that went to its doom with Custer, fired three volleys and sounded "taps". Then Chief Red Hawk stepped forward and placed a tomahawk in the slab that is to bear the legend.

"I was a Sioux warrior," he said, "and I battled with these men on this very ground. And I saw the white man coming and I knew when his waves the country. We bury this tomahawk, this sign of war, so that the deeds and actions we commemorate today may never come again and that there may only be peace and friendship between the white man and Indian forevermore".

General Godfrey responded in similar tone. He too had fought on that field. The immediate result of that battle was a temporary victory of the red man's savagery. The appeared that he would in the end rule ultimate result was the wiping out of all national frontiers, the triumph of the white man's civilization and the merging of both whites and reds into a common citizenship and everlasting peace.

As the visitors moved away they could hear sound of Indian revelry, the beating of many tom-toms and the whoops and shouts of a tribal dance. Custer's foes thus were offering the final touch of tribute to the gallantry of his last stand.

(New York Herald Tribune, Sunday June 27, 1926)

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