historians agree the most famous horse in Western history was Comanche,
a mount serving the 7th Cavalry, Comanche's military record begins
in 1868 and ends at his death in 1891.
stuffed mount still can be seen in the University of Kansas Museum
of Natural History in Lawrence, Kansas.
small bay horse was captured running with a band of wild horses
and sold to the 7th Cavalry in 1868 in St. Louis. He later became
the mount for Capt. Myles Keogh, a decorated Civil War veteran originally
emigrating from Ireland.
The pair were
stationed on the Great Plains and were involved immediately in the
Indian Wars in an effort to subdue the wild tribes to reservations.
Comanche proved his worth in late 1868 during a battle with Comanche
Indians. Though wounded with an arrow in his hindquarters, the brave
horse carried Capt. Keogh as needed until the battle ended.
and two years later, in another skirmish with Indians, Comanche
was wounded in the leg but again, never faltered in his duties.
Later, he recovered fully a second time. A year later in 1871, the
records show he was wounded a third time during battle suffering
a wound in his shoulder yet once again carried on with his rider's
On June 25,
1876, Gen. Armstrong Custer led the 7th Cavalry into battle in the
Little Bighorn River valley, where he and 267 other men in the regiment
died at the hands of the Indians. Comanche, again seriously wounded
for the fourth time, was found standing beside the body of Capt.
Keogh and others in his command. This time his heroism was fully
The horse was
shipped by steamer to Fort Lincoln to recover. He received the honorary
title of Second Commanding Officer and was retired from further
service. He was used in ceremonial parades by being led with Cavalry
riding boots being reversed in the saddle stirrups honoring the
allowed the run of the post grounds, becoming a favorite pet to
all including visitors and guests of the fort. During this time
he acquired a taste for beer, probably because of all the toasts
made to his heroism and valor in battle.
orderly, a Sgt. Korn, cared for the mount until 1890 when he was
killed at the Battle of Wounded Knee the last battle of the Indian
Wars. Comanche was transferred along with his unit to Fort Riley,
Kan., where he finally passed away at the age of 29 years.
a well-known Kansas taxidermist mounted Comanche and the famous
horse was exhibited at the Worlds Fair in Chicago in 1893.
There are two
misconceptions about Comanche. He was not General Custer's mount
as some believe. Also, he was not the only surviving horse at the
battle of the Bighorn. Several mounts survived the battle but those
not wounded were confiscated by the Indians.
"It's All Trew"
September 25, 2007 Column
Texas | TE
Online Magazine | Features
| Columns | "It's
All Trew" |