Cavalryman Daniel Kanipe remembers Custer battlefield as it was on June 27, 1876
FIELD OF CARNAGE
source: W.A. Graham, The Custer Myth, The Stackpole Company, page 248 - 250.
reenactments : Custer Clan website
Custer battlefield, 1877. NPS
I looked over the dead and recognized here and there a buddy and a sergeant that I knew. I recognized Sergeants Finkle and Finley. Sergeant Finley lay at his horse's (Carlo) head. He had 12 arrows through him. They had been lying there for two days in the sun, bloody and the wounded mutilated. You could tell what men had been wounded because the little Indians and the squaws would always, after taking the clothes off the men, shoot them full of arrows or chop them in the faces with tomahawks. They never hurt a dead man, just these that were wounded.
First Custer memorial constructed in 1879. It was made of cord wood and filled in the center with horse bones. NPS
In all this pile of men, not a one had a stitch of clothes on. The Indians had taken it all. They must have gotten about $25,000 in money off of them, too, for we had just been paid at Powder river camp before we left on the campaign and there had been nothing to spend a cent for.
Custer battlefield, 1877.
I saw where the last ones fell, they were in a little heap. General Custer lay across a couple of men, the small of his back only, touching the ground. The dead were thick around him. He had been shot through the heart. My captain, Tom Custer, a brother of the general, was near this last bunch, as was his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Calhoun, who was in command of (L) troop.
And on the whole field where Custer and those four companies were wiped out not a living being was left to tell the tale. One horse survived -- his name was Comanche -- when he was found he had seven bullet wounds. He was Captain Keo's (Keogh's) horse.
Early view of the Custer Battlefield taken before 1890. NPS
Well, there were a good many dead Indians. We found three tepees standing with 75 Indians in them, and there is no telling how many more were carried away when they moved camp. I thought that I would cut one of them out of the blankets and buffalo robes that he was wrapped in. When I did I found that he had a string of scalps as long as your arm and among those were four women's, with hair as long as my arm, two of them having red hair. It was a sight. I dropped them -- didn't want them.