On June 25, 1876, General George Armstrong Custer led a detachment of troops from the United States Army’s 7th Cavalry to their deaths at Greasy Grass Creek for what is now known as the Battle of Little Big Horn. More than 200 US cavalrymen were killed that day as well as several dozen Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho men, women and children.
United States Army Captain Myles Keogh rode a bay horse named Comanche into the battle, and two days after the battle’s conclusion the horse – severely injured – was the only living survivor on the cavalry side left on the field.
After the battle, Comanche was nursed back to health but he was retired and orders were given that he should never be ridden again.
When Comanche died several years later, Professor Lewis Lindsay Dyche answered the call of 7th Calvary officers who wanted Comanche's remains to be preserved. Dyche waived his $400 fee in exchange for allowing KU to keep the mount. First displayed at the 1893 world's fair, Comanche is still exhibited at the KU Natural History Museum.
In 2005, museum staff carefully dismantled the old Comanche exhibit on the fifth floor of the museum and restored the mount. Visitors can visit the exhibit on the fourth floor of the museum.
View a slideshow of the 2005 restoration project.
- text adapted from kuhistory.com