Comanche, the Brave Horse

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Something for the weekend.  Commanche, the Brave Horse by Johnny Horton.  A 15 hand bay gelding, Commanche entered cavalry service in 1868, age and ancestry uncertain, although it was thought that he was probably part Morgan and part Mustang.  He was purchased by Captain Myles Keogh as his personal war horse, to be ridden only in battle.  During a fight with Comanches in 1868, Comanche earned his name by continuing to allow himself to be ridden by Keogh even though Comanche was wounded in his hindquarters by an arrow.

Keogh rode him in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  He was found badly wounded two days after the battle, the sole survivor of Custer’s force.  He became the prized mascot of the Seventh Cavalry and received special treatment as set forth in this order after his retirement following his lengthy convalescence from his wounds:

“Headquarters Seventh United States Cavalry, Fort A. Lincoln, D. T., April 10th, 1878. General Orders No. 7.

(1.) The horse known as ‘Comanche,’ being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little Big Horn, June 25th, 1876, his kind treatment and comfort shall be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh Cavalry to the end that his life be preserved to the utmost limit. Wounded and scarred as he is, his very existence speaks in terms more eloquent than words, of the desperate struggle against overwhelming numbers of the hopeless conflict and the heroic manner in which all went down on that fatal day.

(2.) The commanding officer of Company I will see that a special and comfortable stable is fitted up for him, and he will not be ridden by any person whatsoever, under any circumstances, nor will he be put to any kind of work.

(3.) Hereafter, upon all occasions of ceremony of mounted regimental formation, saddled, bridled, and draped in mourning, and led by a mounted trooper of Company I, will be paraded with the regiment.

By command of Col. Sturgis, E. A. Garlington, First Lieutenant and Adjutant, Seventh Cavalry.”

Commanche enjoyed his retirement until he died on November 7, 1891 of colic, probably about 29 years old.

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4 Comments

  1. Now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day… (I didn’t even have to listen to it.)

    Favorite horse growing up shared his name.

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