A DANE WHO SURVIVED THE LITTLE BIG HORN FIGHT

  • Jens Mathiasen Møller aka Jan Moller or Mollar
  • The post Civil War Frontier Army depended heavily on attracting the sons of newly arrived immigrants and foreign-born recruits into its ranks, and during the period 1866-1890 no fewer than 55 Danes served in the celebrated 7th U.S. Cavalry. Of the six who were present at the Battle of the Little Big Horn on 25-26 June 1876, three were killed with Custer’s column, two were wounded in the hilltop fight and just one escaped totally unscathed.1 One of the wounded Private Jan Moller, Company H, was seriously hurt and never fully recovered from his injuries. This is his story.

 

 

  • On 15 September 1849, a male child was born in the village of Hasle, on the remote island of Bornholm, which lies some 80 nautical miles southeast of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.

Bornholm, a Danish island lying in the Baltic Sea to the south of Sweden and north of Poland.

  • He was the seventh child in a family of five boys and four girls born to Hans Nielsen Møller, a coal worker, and his wife, Elisabeth Kirsten Hansen. Five weeks later the infant was baptised Jens Mathiasen in the local Evangelical-Lutheran church.2 When he was still only 11-years-old Jens was sent to work on a farm in the nearby town of Nyker but was back in Hasle on 4 April 1864 where he was confirmed, having attained the lowest grade for his Christian knowledge.3  His father died in 1867 at the young age of 48 but his mother lived to be 70.4
  • Jens Moller Goes to America
  • Sometime around 1871 Jens made up his mind to leave his native Denmark and, along with a growing number of fellow countrymen, decided to seek a better life in “God’s own country” – America. He sailed from an unknown port for New York and eventually made his way to Chicago.5 Evidently he found that not all the streets of this rapidly growing city were ‘paved with gold’ and the prospect of being unemployed in a strange land during a bitterly cold winter may well have influenced him to opt for a term in the military. The records show that on 15 January 1872 he was enlisted into the United States Army by Captain Samuel Young, 8th Cavalry, and assigned to Company H, 7th Cavalry, then garrisoned in Nashville, Tennessee, under the command of Captain Frederick W. Benteen, which he joined on 12 February. We learn from his enlistment papers that Jens gave his name as Jan Móller, born Orsle, Denmark, aged 22 years, 5’ 8” in height, with grey eyes and light-coloured hair, previously employed as a labourer.5 Little could he have foreseen what dangers and excitement the next five years would bring.6
  • It is interesting to note that Captain Young wrote the name of Jens’ birthplace exactly as this young Bornholmer would have pronounced it. Inhabitants of Bornholm, which geographically is much nearer to Sweden than it is to the rest of Denmark, speak with an accent peculiar to that island and a stranger to this part of Scandinavia could quite easily interpret ‘Hasle’ as ‘Orsle’. It was the latter spelling that Jan Moller continued to use long after leaving the Army, probably for fear of getting into trouble with the law when filling in official documents.

Private Charles Windolph [1851-1950].

  • Charles Windolph
  • On 26 July 1872 a young German from Bergen, on the Baltic Island of Rügen, joined Company H in Nashville. His anglicised name was Charles Windolph, whose experiences in the Seventh Cavalry are recorded in that excellent autobiographical account entitled I Fought with Custer, and would have been very similar to those encountered by Jan Moller, or Mollar.7
  • If Moller and Windolph joined the cavalry to fight Indians then initially they would have been disappointed as much of their time was spent tracking down members of the Ku Klux Klan and illicit whiskey distillers. However, over the following years Company H did see active service in the Yellowstone Campaign (1873) and the Black Hills Expedition (1874) before returning south to New Orleans on Reconstruction duty in the winter of 1875/6.  Towards the spring of 1876 the whole regiment was assembled at Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory, in readiness for the forthcoming campaign against the Sioux and other tribes, which had been declared hostile to the U.S. Government.
  • Fight at the Little Big Horn River
  • The events surrounding the disastrous defeat of the Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn are too well known to be repeated here other than to say that Company H played a major part, and at great cost, in defending Reno Hill. Benteen, who to all intents and purposes had taken command of the depleted regiment, placed his own Company in a very exposed position on the bluffs facing south towards the river, but it was their failure to construct breastworks or dig rifle pits, due to the lack of trenching tools, that was directly contributed to the unacceptably high number of casualties.8 Jan Moller was struck by a bullet in the right thigh and pelvis and took no further part in the battle. It is interesting to note that Private William E. Morris, Company M, claimed that Moller had told him he heard heavy gunfire while watering at the morass, something that seems to have escaped the memory of both Benteen and Lieutenant Francis Gibson. 
  • Along with over 50 other wounded men, some of who were carried on a pallet made of blankets strung between two poles with a mule at each end, Moller was carried twenty miles downstream to the junction with the Big Horn River. Early on July 3, the steamer Far West, with the 39 wounded enlisted men and one Arikara Indian Scout lying on beds of freshly cut grass on its deck, started out on its 710-mile record-breaking journey via the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers to Fort Abraham Lincoln, where it arrived late in the evening of July 5.  He was transferred eleven days later to the post hospital at Fort Rice where it is assumed he made a full recovery by 4 January 1877.  Jan Moller was discharged at Fort Rice on 15 January the same year as a corporal. of excellent character. 
  • Returns to Civilian Life
  • His whereabouts immediately after leaving the army are not known but we find him living in Spearfish, Lawrence County, South Dakota in April 1881 and was still there on April 12, the following year, when he applied for a disability pension in preparation for his intended return to Denmark. However shortly afterwards he moved to near Beulah, Wyoming, where he farmed alongside the Redwater Creek, a tributary of the Belle Fourche River. The Seventh Cavalry had passed through this beautiful valley in July 1874 during the Black Hills Expedition, which inspired Chief Engineer William A. Ludlow to write:
  •  “The temperature was delightful; the air laden with sweet wild odors; the grass knee-deep and exceedingly luxuriant; while wild cherries, blueberries and gooseberries abounded, as well as many varieties of flowers.  All these advantages, combined with that with an abundance of pure cold water, were ours, with rare exceptions, until the final departure from the hills.”
  • It is little wonder that Jan, also known as John, spent the greater part of the next 45 years here.  On April 14, 1890 a man by the name Henry Slater, 35 years of age, and Jems [Jens?] A. Moller, age 31, both living in Beulah, stated “they had been well acquainted with Jan Moller for more than seven years.”  The same year one Iver (?) Hejde, Aladdin, Wyoming, stated “he had been knowing Moller for 20 years”, which suggests they may have met on board the ship that brought them from Europe or soon after Jan first set foot in America.9
  • Jan Moller Takes a Wife and Returns to Denmark
  • Jan Moller married Carolina Anderson in Spearfish on October 4, 1891. Carolina was born in Swedenin 1849 and came to America following the death of her first husband in their native country in 1879, which left her a widow with two young children. There were no children born in the Moller marriage.
  • Jan and Carolina sailed for Denmark in the late spring of 1898 and bought a house in Vestergade Street, Nyker, a few miles from Hasle. In July that year Jan went to the Herredsfuldmægtig, P. Ipsen, [county head-clerk] in the nearby town of Rønne, who agreed to write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen, with a request for Jan’s U.S. Army pension to be paid in Denmark on a yearly or half-yearly basis. His letter was dated 23 July 1898. There was also reference to a similar letter being sent to the Royal Danish Consulate in Chicago. For whatever reason, Jan’s request was denied. The Mollers were to remain in Bornholm for the next four and a half years.10
  • Back to America and More Problems
  • On 3 March 1903, together with Jan’s younger brother Hans Andreas,11 the Mollers registered with the emigration office in Copenhagen as all three had decided to return to America.12 They gave Deadwood, South Dakota, as their intended destination, which was the home of Carolina’s son, William Nielsen. Sometime later they resettled near Beulah, close to the state line with South Dakota, where the injury that Jan sustained in the hilltop fight continued to give him a great deal of trouble. Dr. Alexander Otto Frasser, at Belle Fourche Hospital, South Dakota, examined him on Monday, 27 December 1909, and certified, “Mr. Jan Moller appeared before me this day and upon examination is suffering from a gunshot wound of right thigh. Of late he has been suffering from Rheumatism of right leg so that he is disable from doing manual labor. He is 60 years old and as a result of this Rheumatism of right leg is prevented from doing manual labor or gaining a livelihood. For the last 10 years this has fortially (sic) prevented him from doing manual labor and gaining a livelihood and during the last 2 years entirely prevented him from doing manual labor or earning a livelihood.”
  • A letter found among in his pension papers, dated 10 May 1912, contains the following information, “Question: Where did you live since discharge?  Answer: Beulah (Crook County) Wyo. I Leve on a veset to Denmark for 5 yars? I was Sick.”  On 19 September 1921, Moller stated that he had been living in Wyoming, near Beulah, ever since the date of discharge (1877). From this time he received a pension of $50 a month, which was granted to veterans who had served for 30 days or more during the Indian Wars [Act of Congress, 4 March 1917].13
  • Jan Moller’s Last Years
  • Around 1925, due to increasing infirmity, Jan and Carolina went to stay with her son, William Nielsen (or Nelson), at 63 Stewart Street, Deadwood.  It was here that Carolina died on 11 January 1928. Jan passed away just six weeks later on 23 February. They were both interred in Mount Moriah Cemetery,14 overlooking Deadwood City, which they share with such celebrated Western characters as James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok and Martha “Calamity Jane” Cannary.  Jan is not only listed as ‘Mollar’ on the headstone but his date of birth is incorrectly shown as ‘Sept. 13, 1849′ when, in fact, he was born on 15 September that year.

Gravesite for Jan and Carolina Mollar in Mount Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood, South Dakota. Photograph courtesy of Scott Nelson.

Jan and Carolina Mollar's headstone, Mount Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood, South Dakota. Author's photograph.

63 Stewart Street, Deadwood. Jan Mollar lived here. Photograph courtesy of Scott Nelson.

  • An obituary was published in the Lead Daily Call on the day immediately following his death and a second was featured on the front page of The Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times on 26 February, it reads:
  • Will Be Buried With All Military Honors
  • Funeral services for the late Jans Móller will be held this afternoon from the Schulte undertaking parlors and will be attended by those military who served their country in its wars in one of its military establishments. Rev. Hartung of the Methodist church will conduct the services at the undertaking parlors and at the grave.
  • An escort from Co. “F” 109th Engrs., will accompany the body to its last resting place on Mount Moriah. At the grave “Taps” will be sounded by a trumpeter. After which the usual three volleys of rifle fire will be fired over his grave. The military escort will accompany the body as guard of honor from the undertaking establishment to the cemetery.
  • Jans Móller served two enlistments with that most famous of regiments of the cavalry service of the United States government, the Seventh, and was with it when it took part in engagements with hostile Indians in the northwest and southwest, left the service as a non commissioned officer and with the highest discharge that the service can grant an enlisted man, both having inscribed on them the simple word “Excellent”, which means so much to the soldier who has served his country.15  
  • Jan Moller was survived by his brother Hans, Belle Fourche, and stepson.
  • The author, Leif Rudi Ernst, is very thankful to Peter Russell for the great work he has done to make this article readable in English.
  • First published in The Crow’s Nest, the Newsletter of the Custer Association of Great Britain, Spring/Summer 2004, Volume 4 Number 1.
  • Peter Russell has since added some new information and made a small number of amendments to the original article.
Notes
  • 1. They Rode With Custer, John M. Carroll: (i) Killed with Custer’s Column: Cpl W. Teeman, Company F, Private Christian Madsen, Company F, Blacksmith Charles Siemon, Company L; (ii) Wounded in the hilltop fight: Private Frederick Holmstead, Company A, Private Jan Moller, Company H; (iii) Survived uninjured: Private Christian C. Boisen, Company K. Tribune Extra, Bismarck, 6 July 1876: wounded Jas. Muller, [Company] H right thigh. Fred Holmsted, [Company] A, left wrist. There may have been a seventh Danish trooper, Private Henry Witt, Company K, but he was on detached service at the Powder River Depot. His enlistment papers give Cincinnati, Ohio, as his birthplace whereas his death certificate says 10 December 1852, Heide, Denmark (Men With Custer, CBHMA, Inc., 2010, p.432).
  • 2.  Parish Register, Town of Hasle, Bornholm. Denmark. Census 1845 and 1870, Town of Hasle, Bornholm. Denmark.
  • 3.  Parish Register, the Town of Hasle, Bornholm. Denmark. Parish Register, Nyker, Bornholm. Denmark
  • 4.  Hans Nielsen Møller died on 28 September 1867, 48 3/4 years old. Elisabeth Kirstine Møller died on 1 May 1886, 70 3/4 years old. Parish Register, Hasle, Bornholm. Denmark.
  • 5.  A man with the same name, occupation and age registered to New York City on 14 September 1871. Last residence was on the Danish mainland in the town of Kolding, Vejle County. Copenhagen Police Ledgers: “Indirectly”emigration from Denmark (1868-1940). Ledger No. 200. Id. No.I7172M0724.
  • 6.  National Archives, Washington, D.C.: Enlistment papers and Pension no. SA-18110 and SC-11044.
  • 7.  Carl Windolph, (Charles in America) born 9 December 1851, was the last surviving member of Custer’s soldiers who saw action at the Little Big Horn. Ironically, to escape compulsory military service in the Franco-Prussian War,  he came to Denmark, and from there he emigrated to the United States in June 1871. He left Copenhagen on the  ship Humboldt. Five months later he joined the 2nd U.S. Infantry, deserted, and on 23 July 1872 he enlisted at Nashville, TN. He came to serve in the same Company as Jan Moller. Discharged Fort Meade, South Dakota on 21 March 1883. He died 11 March 1950. Ibid and Copenhagen Police Ledgers: “Directly” emigration from Denmark (1868-1940). Ledger No. 22. Id. No. D7181V0105. And Hunt, I Fought with Custer.
  • 8. One officer (Benteen) wounded, 3 enlisted men killed, 19 wounded, one of which (Private William M. George) died on board the Far West on 3 July.
  • 9.  National Archives, Washington, D.C.: Enlistment papers and Pension no. SA-18110 and SC-11044.
  • 10.  Udenrigsministeriets Arkiv, 1856-1908, Rigsarkivet (Denmark). Ks. 591, sag. B4836.
  • 11. Hans Andreas Móller, a stone cutter, born 27 February 1852, together with his wife, Anine Nielsine and five children aged from six months to eight years, lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, before moving their belongings by a team and wagon to Beulah in the 1880s. They made their home on Redwater Creek with brother Jan Moller for three or four years. Hans is listed as ‘Single’ in the Census of Crook County, Wyoming (1920).
  • 12. Copenhagen Police Ledgers: “Indirectly” emigration from Denmark (1868-1940). Ledger No. 221. Id. No.
  •       I0203M1110, I0203M1111 and I0203M1112.
  • 13. National Archives, Washington, D.C.: Pension no. SA-18110 and SC-11044.
  • 14. Mount Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood, Addition 3, Section 2, Lot # 200.
  • 15. There is no evidence to substantiate that Moller served two enlistments the 7th U.S. Cavalry.

ANOTHER DANE WHO SURVIVED THE LITTLE BIG HORN FIGHT

  • Frederik Holmsted Mortensen aka Frederick Holmsted

 

  • When undertaking research on men who served in the U.S. Frontier Army it is often frustrating to discover that they not only enlisted under an assumed name but also gave an incorrect place of birth. Such was the case of Frederick Holmsted, Company A, 7th Cavalry.
  • Frederik Holmsted Mortensen was born on December 9, 1849 in the small village of Vallund, Ølgodparish, Ribe County, Denmark.  His parents were Morten Andersen, a farmer, and Maren Esnesdatter, who were also born in Ølgod parish. Vallun is situated in the western part of the mainland of Jutland, some sixty-two miles north of the German border. Frederik was baptized in the parish church on January 27, 1850.
  • In April 1859 Morten and Maren took their fast growing family to the nearby parish of Nørre Nebel. Their two eldest children, Kirsten and Kirsten Marie, had already left home to find work on nearby farms but Eskild Christian 14; Anders 12; Frederik Holmsted 10; Marie 7; Leopold 4 and Kjeld Vilhelm Sophus 2 were still at home.
  • On April 3, 1864 Frederik Holmsted Mortensen was confirmed, in the church at Nørre Nebel, when the priest gave him the highest marks for his Christian knowledge and excellent manners. He was then fourteen years of age and, as was the custom at that time, ready to leave home to learn a trade and earn his own income. It was only three days after his confirmation that he went to work in the town of Henne and stayed there for about twelve months before moving on to the town of Varde.
  • Frederik Holmsted Mortensen goes to America
  • At some unknown date Frederick Mortensen went to Copenhagen where he was employed as a clerk. Evidently he decided that there were better prospects to be found in America for on February 9, 1872 the following details were recorded in the Copenhagen Police Register of Emigrations: “Frederik Holmsted Mortensen. Birthplace and last residence: Copenhagen (sic). Occupation: Clerk. Age: 22 years. Bound for New York City.”  As his name appears in the “Indirect” Register, it is most likely that he sailed for the United States from either an English or German port.
  • Mortensen found his way to Williamstown, Massachusetts from where he wrote a letter to the Danish Consul General Christian T. Christensen in New York City, asking him to check into some financial matters concerning money he was going to receive from Portland, Oregon. The money was to be sent to his address in Williamstown.
  • The General was known to be a very honorable man, who did what he could to help his fellow countrymen.
  • Private Frederick Holmsted
  • In common with many other immigrants Frederik Mortensen was unable to find a job and was forced to return to New York City. On November 6, 1872 he enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name Frederick Holmsted, and stated that he was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, age 23 years, a clerk by occupation. He was described as having brown eyes, blond hair, a fair complexion, and being 5′ 8¼” tall. Captain Edwin Vose Sumner, a future colonel of the 7th Cavalry, signed his enlistment papers and he was sent to the General Mounted Recruitment Service at St. Louis from where he was transferred to the 7th Cavalry, duly assigned to serve in Company A, then under command of Captain Myles Moylan and First Lieutenant Charles C. De Rudio, and joined this unit at Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on December 2, 1872.
  • During Yellowstone Expedition (1873) Company A was in action at the Tongue River, Montana on August 4, and near the Yellowstone River on the eleventh. Eight months later Company A again saw action, this time near Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory, on April 23, 1874. On July 2 that year his company joined nine others of the 7th Cavalry on the Black Hills Expedition, which set out from Fort Abraham Lincoln on an 880-mile round march.
  • Battle of Little Big Horn, June 25-26, 1876
  • A detailed account of the iconic Battle of Little Big Horn is beyond the scope of this article other than to say that Company A formed part of Reno’s three-company battalion that attacked the Indian Village. In the flight that followed, after Major Reno had lost control of his command and retreated to the hills, Frederick Holmsted numbered among those left behind in the timber.  According to Dr. Henry Porter, Holmsted “ … came out afterwards, probably with Scout George Herendeen, and joined his company at the hilltop fight where he received a minor wound to his left wrist.
  • Along with around forty other wounded men, some of who were carried on a pallet made of blankets strung between two poles with a mule at each end, Holmsted was carried twenty miles downstream to the confluence the Big Horn River. Early on July 3, the steamer Far West, with the 39 wounded enlisted men and one Arikara Indian scout lying on beds of freshly cut grass on its deck, started out on its 710-mile record-breaking journey via the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers to Fort Abraham Lincoln, where it arrived late in the evening of July 5.
  • A little over thirteen months after the Little Big Horn fight Frederick Holmsted again saw action, this time at Snake (Eagle) Creek, near Bear Paw Mountains, Montana Territory on September 30, 1877. The enemy this time was Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Percé Indians.
  • On 6 November 6, 1877 he was discharged at Fort Abraham Lincoln; still a private, but with an “Excellent Character.” The same day he enlisted for six months in the detachment of Indian Scouts.
  • Returns to Civilian Life
  • After his military service Holmsted worked for a time as an interpreter at Fort Abraham Lincoln. Later he came to work as a quartermaster clerk in forage business in Bismarck at $75 a month.
  • On April 2, 1878 he became a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the same city.
  • During the winter of 1879 the house in which he was living caught fire in the middle of the night during a spell of severely cold weather and he escaped with nothing more than the night clothes he was wearing. It is hardly surprising that he was in a very bad shape after this.
  • Friends who knew him well later told that he was always cautious when it came to revealing anything concerning matters of business. But on one thing they all agreed upon, he lost a great deal of valuable property securities and money which had gone up in smoke. He was known to him. His health continued to deteriorate and he developed consumption, which finally cost be an honorable and trustworthy person well liked by all who came in contact with him his life.
  • Frederick Holmsted died at Fort Abraham Lincoln on March 27,1880; he was 30 years of age. His death was reported in the Bismarck Tribune, April 2, 1880
  • DEATHS – HOLMSTEAD. – At Fort Lincoln, D.T., at 4:40 p.m., March 27, 1880, after a protracted illness, Mr. Fred Holmstead of this city, aged 29 years (sic). Brackets not in italics
  • Mr. Holmstead was buried at Fort A. Lincoln on Sunday, John G. Tritton conducting the usual ceremonies on behalf of the Odd Fellows order of which Mr. Holmstead was a worthy member. Chaplain J.W. Jackson preached the funeral sermon, Maj. John Carland aiding as chaplain for the lodge.
  • The Bismarck Odd Fellows Lodge passed the following resolution at its meeting Tuesday evening:
  • Resolved, – That the thanks of this lodge be tendered to Col. Tilford, commandant at Ft. A. Lincoln; Dr. Wolverton, surgeon in charge of post hospital; Capt. Beach, Chaplain Walker, Adjutant Varnum, Hospital Steward Smith, Maj. John Carland and nurse Mount for their kind and unremitting attention to Bro. Fred Holmstead of this lodge during his last illness.
  • Resolved, – That a copy of this resolution, under the seal of the lodge, be forwarded to each of the persons named above and that a copy be furnished the Bismarck Tribune for publication.
  • It was William von Kuster, the secretary of Odd Fellows Lodge, who in a letter informed Holmsted’s parents in Denmark of their son’s death. With the help from a member of the Hall of Mandan Lodge No. 12. S.O.O.F. in Bismarck, the letter was translated into Danish by man called S.T. Simonsen.
  • Did Holmsted die a wealthy Man?
  • Frederick Holmsted knew he was dying, and asked von Kuster to send to his father, Morten Andersen, in Denmark, a notebook and a gold ring after his death. This von Kuster duly did. He also sent $21 in money from the deceased’s estate. Morten Andersen did not believe that the paltry sum of $21 was all there was left of the property left by his son. In letters sent from Fort Abraham Lincoln, dated March 16, 1877 and July 22,1878, Frederick Holmsted had written about buying 160 acres of land some 150 miles east of the fort, near the Red River, which he estimated to be worth around $2,000.
  • In another letter, dated December 2, 1878, Sturgis City, Black Hills, Dakota Territory, Holmsted wrote about his savings of $400, which he had deposited in a bank in St. Paul, Minnesota. Unfortunately, this bank went broke and he was only able to retrieve a small amount of his savings.  In a letter, dated 1891, his brother, Leopold Mortensen enquired if he was eligible for a pension from the United States Army but this was denied as only parents of a deceased soldier qualified to receive a pension, and since Holmsted was not in the Army at the time of his death this was denied.
  • Morten Andersen asked the Foreign Affairs Secretary in Denmark to help him in the matter, again without success. The Royal Danish Vice-Consul for Dakota Territory, Henry Krogh, took over and did his best to resolve the matter. He contacted several of Holmsted’s known acquaintances but they were unable to help him with information on Holmsted’s affairs. The Vice-Consulate then wrote to the Registrar of Deeds in Cass, Richland, Traill and Grand Forks counties (North Dakota), without success as nothing could be found. Letters to the Sheriff of Lawrence County were never answered. Clearly it proved extremely difficult for the Danish consul to achieve the result he was hoping for.
  • The Odd Fellows Lodge, where Holmsted had been a member, either could not or would not help. As he described in a letter to the Royal Danish Consul in Chicago, Emil Dreier: Since I am not a member of the lodge I hardly can’t get any information from them concerning Mr. Holmsted… He finely had to give up.
  • Where is Holmsted buried?
  • When Fort Abraham Lincoln was abandoned in 1891, the remains of 160 men buried at the post cemetery were removed and re-interred at Custer Battlefield National Cemetery (Custer National Cemetery since 1997). Holmsted’s mortal remains were not among them because, at the time of his death, he was not in the U.S. Army so his burial was almost certainly treated as a civilian affair. Strangely, his name cannot be found in the record of burials in the Morton County Cemetery.
  • Postscript
  • Eight years after Frederick Holmsted’s death he was to be remembered in a very special way. A younger brother, Leopold, and his wife, Hansine Kirstine Thomsen, were blessed with the birth of a son who was christened Frederik Holmsted Mortensen on 30 April 1888 year in honor of his late uncle who fought so bravely and survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
  • This is an expanded and updated version of ‘A Dane who survived the Little Big Horn Fight’ by Leif Rudi Ernst, which was first published in The Crow’s Nest, the Newsletter of the Custer Association of Great Britain, Spring/Summer 2005, Volume 5 Number 1.

  • Editor’s note: Leif Rudi Ernst, Aalborg, Denmark, won the prestigious ‘Best Historical Book of 2003’ award, in Denmark, for Skurk i Danmark – Helt i America (Villain in Denmark – Hero in America), which was 25 years in the writing and tells the story of U.S. Marshal Chris Madsen. To date it has sold around 500 copies.

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