The Animals of Little Big Horn
We are all aware of the legendary General Custer of the civil war. If you have never heard of this name before, General Custer’s war stories are as big of an american folk tale as Paul Bunyon. While General Custer was a real person, his loving wife and friend, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, embellished on every letter he had sent back, making him out to be a larger than life war hero who died valiantly trying to save his men. That is not the case, General Custer led his men to a battle so bloody. One native american account said that they were turning their guns on themselves.
Anyone army going to battle in the 1800s were equipped with horses. Unfortunately, horses are not the best companions. General Custer brought along a few pets for the ride to the Battle of Little Big Horn; they were his dogs. Tuck, Swift, Lady, and Kaiser were all trained to run alongside his horse when running into battle. Tuck was the only victim of the Battle of Little Big Horn, the others had stayed back at the camp that day with their caregiver.
In a letter to his wife General Custer often wrote about his beloved dogs to his wife. In one letter Custer wrote “ Tuck regularly comes when I am writing, and lays her head on the desk, rooting up my hand with her long nose until I consent to stop and notice her. She and Swift, Lady, and Kaiser sleep in my tent.”
The horses of the Battle of Little Big Horn had very strange stories. One of the most popular stories is the aftermath of the Battle of Little Big Horn where soldiers were forced to kill and eat their horses just to survive. Some of the strangest stories that arose from that day are:
The mysterious horse Little Soldier. Little Soldier was Bobtailed Bill’s horse. Bobtailed Bull was a scout working with Major Marcus Reno. It is said that after Bobtailed Bull had did in battle, Little Soldier ran over 300 miles to his home in the Dakota Territory.
Another mysterious horse was found by General Godfrey on the Yellowstone River. When Godfrey found the horse it was dead; although, it was completely intact and nothing was missing from its saddle, no even the oats the horse was fed. The horse had been shot in the forehead and left to die.
One of the horses that was stolen by the Sioux was sold to a resident in Canada. The horse was recovered by the Mounties and after U.S approval James Morrow Walsh was allowed to keep the horse. He named the horse “Custer” after the legendary general.