Medal of Honor

The courage of the soldiers and warriors at Custers' last stand. The newest data about the clash of a Stone Age culture with the US Government in 1876.

This work was published in 2010. It is the personal narration of a Park Ranger who worked at Little Bighorn National Monument and the accurate stories about the most mysterious battle of the Western Indian Wars conducted by the U S Army in 1876. The battle is known as the most historic battle with Native Americans that had an impact on the history of the USA. The nostalgic images presented in the booklet are created with historic photos used with permission of Library of Congress and current images taken by the author and publisher. Each chapter relates different aspects of the battle as do the Talks given by Rangers at the National Monument daily through out the year.

Image of the book cover

Goodreads review -

Accurate and authentic history of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Easy to read and follow the battle, this is history and should be in every school in the nation. There are so many unknown aspects of this fight and its' impact on the history of not only the Western Frontier but also the USA. Please share your copy with school age history fans they will learn a bunch.

Excerpt -

from my book on the history of the Battle:

The life of Sargent Windolph is recorded in several pamphlets produced by the National Park Service for the Battlefield National Monument and from the book ghost written for Charlie called “I Fought with Custer” among other reference books and journals. Windolph received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in the siege at Reno Hill during the Battle of the Little Bighorn or Battle of the Greasy Grass as it was known to the Indian people who participated in the fight.

Charles Windolph was born in Germany in 1851. He immigrated to the United States of America as a teenager who was afraid of being drafted into the German Army for the Prussian-Franco War. He arrived in New York City broke and speaking only his native language. The country was still in the throws of the depression of 1873 and work was difficult to find especially for an immigrant who did not speak English.Charlie was fortunate to meet another German immigrant who worked in a boot factory. He helped Windolph get a job and to begin his study of English. Charlie’s friend also gave him good advice, to join the U S Army and get a steady paycheck and in the process learn the language. The irony of the advice cannot have been wasted on Windolph but he took the counsel to heart and ended up in the Seventh Cavalry. That is the outfit under the command of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, the boy General of the Civil War and the renowned Western Indian fighter.

Skip forward to 1876 when the U S Army was ordered to round up the “hostile” tribe members and return them to the reservations in the Dakotahs. The campaign to move the off-reservation natives was a three tiered approach but to shorten the story, we will concentrate on Capt Benteen and his troops because this is where Charlie Windolph was assigned for the campaign. Custer split his forces, with Major Reno to attack the south end of the huge village, Benteen was sent to the south edge of the action to prevent the escape of any tribal members who might wish to escape and to scout those hills. Where General Custer and his companies went is the topic of another blog or can be found in my book, A Park Ranger tells the Tales of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

So back to Charlie who was riding with his favorite officer, Captain Benteen, on what was viewed as a wild goose chase by many. When Benteen headed back to rejoin the command he ran into Major Reno creating a defensive position on some bluffs on the east band of the Little Bighorn or Greasy Grass River. The warriors gradually surrounded the troopers on Reno Hill and the pack train with the supplies and ammunition reached this area of questionable safety soon after Benteen and his men.

Over the next day and one half, Charlie and his companions fought the good fight in hopes of being saved by the Montana and Fort A. Lincoln columns headed to the Little Bighorn. A field hospital was located in the middle of the deployment on Reno Hill and Dr. Porter was short on water for the wounded. A group of volunteers, including Charlie, provided cover fire for the water carriers who braved enemy fire to reach the river and return with as much water as possible in canteens, kettles and other camp pots for the wounded soldiers. This is why Charlie earned the Medal of Honor with the water carriers and the other shooters on the ridge.

The next morning still under fire from the Lakota and Cheyenne warriors, the Indian village packed up and moved away, possibly because scouts reported the migrant arrival of the rest of the U S Army columns under General Terry. The columns brought relief for Sargent Windolph and the remnants of the companies with the pack train, Reno and Benteen. Apparently, the warriors left following the moving village into the Bighorn Mountains to the south of the Little Bighorn.

The upshot of the history for Charlie was that he was given a field commission to Sargenton the battlefield by Benteen, was recommended for the Medal of Honor which he received and lived to be the oldest survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Charlie continued in the Army until he earned the rank of First Sargent but gave up the military life when his fiance arrived in the U S from Germany. They married and live in South Dakota where Charlie worked as a harness maker for about forty years. Charles Windolph passed away at 98 years onMarch 11th,1950and is buried in a National Cemetery in South Dakota. There will be future blogs concerning aspects of the Western Indian Wars and other characters from the Wild West.

TOC

Table of Contents

Introduction (pg. 1)

Buffalo Plains Indian Village (pg. 3)

Cavalry Trooper Circa 1876 (pg. 9)

The Little Bighorn Battle

Why were the Indians here? (pg. 15)

But…why was the Army here? (pg. 16)

Survivors (pg. 29)

Index (pg. 32)