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***SOLD*** 1877 7th US Cavalry LS -Francis M. Gibson, Private Jacob Horner
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1877 7th US Cavalry LS from 1st Lt. Francis M. Gibson. Here’s an important Indian Wars document concerning one of the last survivors of Custer’s 7th Cavalry, Private Jacob Horner.
Gibson was then a 1st Lieutenant, Company H, 7th US Cavalry, during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He survived the Battle. He entered military service on 5 Oct 1867, as 2nd Lieutenant, 7th US Cavalry. Served at Fort Leavenworth KS until June 1868. Appointed 1st Lieutenant on 11 July 1871. Participated in 1873 Yellowstone Expedition, 1874 Black Hills Expedition, and on scouting duty from May 1875 to May 1876. During the 1876 Sioux Expedition, he was assigned to Major Reno's Battalion, in Company H, 7th Cavalry, during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. On 27 August 1876, appointed as Commander of Company H. In the 1878 Nez Perce Expedition. Appointed Captain 5 Feb 1880. On field duty from 1880 to July 1887, then at Fort Riley KS from July 1887 to July 1889. Retired 3 Dec 1891 after 22 years service, for disability. Died at age 71 in NY City. "

"....Gibson was among the first officers to ride to the Custer’s rescue, but arrived too late. Lieutenant Donald McIntosh, who was killed with Custer, was Gibson's brother-in-law. Gibson recovered McIntosh's body and both are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

“…I certify that Private Jacob Horner Co K 7th Cavalry has rendered service to the United States in the Subsistence Department as Butcher in the field from Aug. 1st 1877 to August 31st 1878…I further certify that the services were absolutely necessary: were ordered by Colonel S. D. Sturgis 7th Cavalry, and that Private Jacob Horner voluntarily stipulated to perform these without any contract or agreement to be paid therefor…”

Brief biography of Gibson:

First Lieutenant, Company H, 7th US Cavalry, during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Survived the Battle. Entered military service on 5 Oct 1867, as 2nd Lieutenant, 7th US Cavalry. Served at Fort Leavenworth KS until June 1868. Appointed 1st Lieutenant on 11 July 1871. Participated in 1873 Yellowstone Expedition, 1874 Black Hills Expedition, and on scouting duty from May 1875 to May 1876. During the 1876 Sioux Expedition, he was assigned to Major Reno's Battalion, in Company H, 7th Cavalry, during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. On 27 August 1876, appointed as Commander of Company H. In the 1878 Nez Perce Expedition. Appointed Captain 5 Feb 1880. On field duty from 1880 to July 1887, then at Fort Riley KS from July 1887 to July 1889. Retired 3 Dec 1891 after 22 years service, for disability. Died at age 71 in NY City. Survived by his widow, Katherine Garrett Gibson, and his daughter, Katherine Gibson Fougera. Francis Marion Gibson died on January 17, 1919, in New York City and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 1, Grave 107. He was a First Lieutenant in Company H who performed scouting duty and participated in the hilltop fight. He was the brother-in-law of Donald McIntosh

Biography of Sergeant Jacob Horner of the 7th Cavalry

George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry will forever be remembered for the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or Greasy Grass, on June 25-26, 1876, when Custer and 263 of his men died fighting Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.

The fight did not involve every soldier in the 7th Cavalry. One of the fortunate ones was Jacob Horner. His story was published on this date in 1936.

Jacob Horner was born in New York City in 1855. He enlisted in the 7th Cavalry in 1876 and was one of a group of 78 newly-arriving recruits at Fort Abraham Lincoln near Bismarck on April 30th. The U.S. Army had ordered horses for these cavalrymen, but the horses hadn’t yet arrived.

So, when Custer’s 7th Cavalry and the 17th Infantry ventured forth on May 17th to head for Montana and its fateful expedition against the Lakota, Jacob Horner and the other 77 new cavalrymen had to walk. Marching across 300 miles of grasslands in cavalry-boots was “disagreeable” for Horner.

“We weren’t equipped for walking like the infantry,” said Horner, “our feet got sore, and we got hungry. Twelve pieces of hardtack and a strip of sowbelly was our entire daily ration. I’d eat it all for breakfast and still be hungry.”

The Custer expedition split up at the junction of the Powder and Yellowstone Rivers, near present-day Miles City. Custer’s 12 mounted companies went ahead to locate the Lakota, leaving Horner and the other 77 unmounted cavalrymen with the infantry.

Dividing his forces was a big mistake. Horner put it this way: “Custer thought ... there were 1,500 [Lakota] in that region. Actually there were 3,500 or 4,000 [Lakota and Cheyenne].”

Custer’s “Last Stand” demise came on June 25th, but the news didn’t reached Jacob Horner and those at Powder River for nearly a week.

Horner served in the cavalry for five years, earning an honorable discharge. In 1880, he married Catherine Stuart, daughter of an Army officer, at Fort Totten. They settled in Bismarck, where he became a local butcher, and they had five children.

Jacob Horner died in 1951, at age 96. He was well-known as the “Last of Custer’s troopers” – as one of the cavalryman who escaped an early grave – all for the lack of a horse.

Dakota Datebook written by Dr. Steve Hoffbeck, MSU Moorhead History Department.

Sources:

“Army Red Tape Saved Horner From Little Bighorn Grave,” Bismarck Tribune, June 20, 1936, p. 9.

“Horner Meets Men of Modern 7th,” Bismarck Tribune, April 29, 1948, p. 6.

“Last of Custer’s Troopers Dies,” Minneapolis Star, September 22, 1951, p. 1;

“Custer Command Survivor, 97, Dies at Bismarck,” Great Falls Tribune, September 22, 1951, p. 5;

“Last Survivor of Custer’s Regiment Dies,” Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1951, p. 45;

“Custer Soldier Who Missed the Massacre Dies,” Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1951, p. 1.

“Jacob Horner Served Under Custer,” Bismarck Tribune, June 14, 1947, p. 24.

National Park Service, “Little Bighorn: A Place of Reflection,” Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, https://www.nps.gov/libi/index.htm, accessed on May 15, 2018.

“Jacob Horner,” 1855-1951, Find a Grave Index, ancestry.com, accessed on January 19, 2018.



Excerpts taken from the book titled Jacob Horner of the Seventh Cavalry by Roy P. Johnson

Born in New York City on October 6, 1854, Sergeant Horner marched west with General Custer in 1876. He was one of the last two survivors of the 7th U. S. Cavalry of 1876, which General George A. Custer led into the nation-stunning battle of the Little Bighorn. Being one of 78 horse-less members of the 7th, Horner did not get into the Bighorn engagement. He was stationed at the junction of the Yellowstone and Powder Rivers as a guard at the regimental supply camp. The camp was near present Terry, Montana, more than 200 miles from the battlefield by the route Custer traveled.

Horner participated later, however, in a battle between the 7th and the Indians in the Nez Perce Campaign of 1877 against Chief Joseph and his tribe. Chief Joseph, the Nez Perce’s leader once remarked, “Look twice at a two-faced man.” Horner’s battle was at Canyon Creek, near present Laurel, Montana on September 13, 1877. Chief Joseph’s defeat and surrender came at the bloody battle of Bear Paw Mountains, near Havre, Montana in October 1877. In the Canyon Creek battle, he was a dispatch carrier for Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis (a Union Civil War General), then commander of the 7th. Horner engaged in 1876 in the pursuit of the Indians who had annihilated Custer and five of his companies, participating in the disarming and dismounting of many of them and in the recovery of some of the loot taken at the Little Bighorn.

His final major activity with the 7th occurred in July 1878, ten troops were sent to the Black Hills, encamped near Deadwood, scouted and kept the area cleared of Indians. This was in the days of the South Dakota gold rush. Not once was Horner wounded, and when he was discharged from the army at Fort Totten, near Devil’s Lake, ND on April 7, 1881, he entered an active civil life in Bismark, plying his trade of butcher and serving six years as a City Alderman. He served in the army in a day when only the fittest could survive such hazards as savage Indians, disease which took a heavy toll among soldiers, the elements and other hardships of military life in a rugged, man-killing country.

As Horner himself said, “The things I went through in the army in those days, it’s funny a human being could live through them.” The march to the Little Bighorn began May 17, 1876, and ended on June 11, and was one of Horner’s most trying army experiences. Horner was immediately assigned to picket duty on the hills about the camp and performed that duty until July 4th. The Battle of the Little Big Horn was fought on June 25 and a few days later some Arikara scouts of the 7th came into the supply camp, asked for a piece of canvass, and with drawings tried to describe the battle. Horner said, “We could not understand them, but we felt sure Custer had won – that he could of lost was unthinkable.” Horner soon found out he was wrong when the steamer Far West arrived bringing the wounded back from the battle. Horner was then sent back as a guard with the wagon train to Fort Buford, ND, and then to Fort Lincoln, where he joined up with 500 raw recruit replacements, a reply to the Indians at the Little Big Horn. He was then assigned to the Standing Rock and Sheyenne agencies, where Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis, the permanent Colonel of the 7th, who had been on detached duty during the Bighorn expedition, organized 1,200 men. The campaign against Chief Joseph came to grips with the 7th under Sturgis at Canyon Creek, Montana on September 13, 1877.

At this time, Horner was detached from Troop K, and was the regimental butcher assigned to Sturgis’ headquarters. The author, Roy P. Johnson states in the book, “Regimental records, however, state he had been since August 13 on detached service in the field with artillery, which is probably a clerical error.” It’s interesting to note that this group of documents prove the author correct as they each reference Horner, during the time period from August 1, 1877 to October 26, 1877, as rendering “service to the United States in the Subsistence Department as Butcher, in the field…” and further certifying “that the services were absolutely necessary; were ordered by Col. S. D. Sturgis 7th Cavalry, and that Private Jacob Horner voluntarily stipulated to perform without any contract or agreement...”

When asked to give his own estimate of Custer, Horner said: “He was a daredevil. He wouldn’t send a man where he himself wouldn’t go. But most of the men did not like him. He was too hard on the men and horses. He changed his mind too often. He was always right. He never conferred enough with his officers. When he got a notion, we had to go. He wouldn’t listen to the other officers.” Horner was fond of Captain Benteen. Horner said, “Benteen was one of the bravest officers I ever met” and he associated freely with the enlisted men and was concerned for their welfare.