Some of the background on 2 survivors of the fight on the Greasy Grass or Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory. Most folks seem to think that there were no survivors for this battle but there were at least 350 and more.
The misconception to many folks is that there were no survivors from the battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25th and 26th, 1876. But most of the Warriors survived the battle and about 350 U S Army personnel. The one well known survivor is the calvary horse Comanche. He was ridden by Miles Keogh and may have been standing with his dead rider after the battle some reports claim that Keogh had the reins of the horse still in his lifeless hand.
Many question why the Warriors or the Indian Women would leave a fine mount such as Comanche on the field of battle. But Comanche had at least seven serious wounds and it took some time with good care for the horse to recover which was probably sufficient cause to leave him or superstition might have prevented taking the reins out of the death grip of the slain Miles Keogh.
Another survivor was with Reno- Benteen’s men to the south of the battlefield. Mike was of Irish decent and was with those troopers under siege on Reno Hill. A field hospital was established on Reno Hill and Dr. Porter, the only surviving surgeon, was very concerned that the wounded troopers need for water was great. Volunteers were lined up as a water carrying team and a group of riflemen to provide cover fire. Mike was one of the water carriers who braved the concentrated fire from Indians who used their new rifles taken off the calvary dead from the Valley fight.
One of the riflemen standing out on the point under a hail of Indian bullets and the longest aged survivor of the Battle was Charles Windolph. He and his fellow riflemen helped to protect the water carriers for over twenty minutes of intense combat.
The only soldier to be hit by Indian fire was one of the water carriers, you guessed it, “ol Mike” was hit in the leg and could not get back to the lines on top of Reno Hill. One of the Army scouts, Half Yellow Face. carried Mike Madden up to the field hospital where Dr. Porter could offer aid. The Doctor told Mike, “I have to take your leg to save your life”. Now, the only anesthetic was a bottle of whiskey.
Irishmen and whiskey have a history,and when Mike took a big drink. He said to Dr. Porter, “Doc for ‘anither’ drink ya can have me other leg.” Mike survived and lived a long life. And the reason he did survive so long may be either in his sense of humor or in his taste for drink.