Warrior's Quill

The Author Blog of Ethan E. Harris

More “Lone Survivors” of Custer’s Last Stand

About one year ago, I was fascinated to hear that quite a few people claimed they had survived Custer’s Last Stand. Having access to the Kansas University library system, I set out to document as many as I could. I had been informed that there were at least 70 survivor stories.

I’ve written them all down and documented each story. The research has even spun off another book that I feel is useful to historians. With the highly negative reaction to Pulitzer Prize recipient Larry McMurtry’s book on Custer, interest in the subject is again at an all-time high.

One reviewer said: “Debunking the myth and calling out those seeking glory on the coattail of others is an endeavor I relish. Through the use of historic records, the only records in my opinion that matter, Ethan E. Harris successfully accomplishes this task in Custer Survivors 101. Anxious to discover his revelations in Volume II.”

Volume 1 and 2 are free for Amazon Prime members!

Click here to see the book on Amazon. 

No purchase necessary!

The Bare Bones List was developed from the seven most influential and respected bibliographies of the 7th Cavalry. As I researched material for the book “Custer Survivors 101”, I found myself at a desk with seven books opened to a variety of pages. It was so time consuming. And with the idea that there might be others outthere going through the same thing, although I grant that number may be very low, I decided to create a cross-reference.

Why was it needed if all those others were so great? Well, they have their problems and chief among them is the inconsistency at which the names are documented across the scholarship. It is definitely not narrative. It is sctrictly a reference tool for others digging through volumes of research material. It helps them find every instance of every known Soldier, civilian and Indian with the US Army that day at the Little Bighorn.

Custer Survivors 101 was my main project. I remember watching a documentary about Frank Finkel from Dayton, WA, USA. I had been reading about survivor stories recently, mostly about Japanese Soldiers during WW2 in the Pacific. In the 1920’s, Finkel was approached by a local journalist for an interview about Finkel possibly being the sole, lone survivor of the Custer column.

That’s the part of the fight most of us know as Custer’s Last Stand. And we’ve heard over and over that there were no “friendly” survivors who travelled to the northern end of the camp with Custer. About 200 men were killed there. But after seeing the show, I discovered that there were many more people who said *they* were the lone survivor. Then I discovered there were at least 30 lone survivors, then dozens and dozens, then 70, as supposedly documented by one historian.

So with access to the Kansas University research network, I began to dig. I’ve found about 131 distinct claims touted for a variety of reasons, but they all share the same story: They and they alone survived Custer’s Last Stand. So I began to write about those stories only to find out that it’s a crazy-addictive topic for study. There are conspiracies, murders and enough material to fully occupy anyone’s particular social interests. It’s a reflection of society at the time, but it also is a modern story with a full measure of mystery, drama, action, romance, horse chases, horror and just about everything except for steampunk. 🙂
I only hope I’ve done justice to the study. That’s where reviewers come in. I need honest, but not brutal, feedback on what could be added or taken away. It doesn’t have to hit the top ten on Amazon, but I would like it to be truly valuable to those who crack (or click) it open.

If you would rather just read the books, they are here:

Volume 1: http://www.amazon.com/Lone-Survivors-Stand-Custer-ebook/dp/B008MRGCIW/ref=la_B001KIO6A6_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1343847895&sr=1-6

Volume 2: http://www.amazon.com/Lone-Survivors-Stand-Custer-ebook/dp/B008QFSOWC/ref=la_B001KIO6A6_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1343847895&sr=1-8

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2 comments on “More “Lone Survivors” of Custer’s Last Stand

  1. fred bogonovich
    October 10, 2012

    what about the italian shoemaker who hardly spoke english? he took a note from gen. custer too? maybe to replensh the springfield ammo. hardly anybody could understand him in his broken italian. i read he went back too new york and lived until the late 1920’s. what about his story?

    • ethaneharris
      October 11, 2012

      I’m pretty sure you are referring to Giovanni Martini. He is, without a doubt, the last Soldier to have “survived the Custer column.” He’s the real deal. Some papers ran stories on him about that time. He punched tickets working in the New York subway system. His horse was injured as he rode back to CPT Benteen.

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2012 by in Books, Custer, Kindle, LinkedIn, Little Bighorn and tagged , , .
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