clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SOLDIER BURIED 115 YEARS AFTER BATTLE

The remains of a 7th Cavalry trooper killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn 115 years ago were interred among his comrades in the national cemetery at Custer Battlefield National Monument.

The unidentified man was one of 263 soldiers led by Gen. George Armstrong Custer who died in 1876 in a clash with an overwhelming force of Plains Indians, mostly Sioux and Cheyenne.Members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe honored him with three volleys of rifle fire at a ceremony Sunday also attended by modern-day members of the 7th Cavalry and hundreds of spectators.

The flag-draped casket was borne by soldiers to its final resting place among the rows of white headstones.

The remains were found protruding from the bank of the Little Bighorn River in 1989 by a volunteer working on an archaeological dig at the battlefield across the river.

"Today we bury the remains of a stranger," the Rev. Vincent Heier, a Catholic priest from St. Louis, told the gathering. "But we look in the face of this man and see a brother."

A band played "Garryowen," the 7th Cavalry's battle song, as the honor guard and escort retreated from the open grave. The coffin contains a skull, an arm bone and a collar bone, which have helped scientists determine that the soldier was between 30 and 40 and was about 5-foot-8.

The ceremony marked the end of a weekend that drew thousands of people to watch annual re-enactments of the famous battle.