Myles Keough

Myles Keough says: In a message dated 96-11-03 00:05:31 EST, Joe Blair writes:

<< Question-Wasn't Myles Keough of Bufords staff the same Myles Keough that was killed at during Custer's fatal Indian campaign

Myles Walter Keogh [not Keough] (1840-1876) was certainly a colorful and fascinating figure, and was Buford's favorite aide prior to his later service in the 7th Cav. and death at Little Big Horn. A native of County Carlow, Ireland, Keogh served as an officer in the Irish Btn. of the Papal Army of Pius IX before coming to the US with two fellow Papal veterans, and obtaining a commission on the staff of Gen. Shields. Capt. Keogh and his comrade Capt. Joseph O'Keeffe then transfered onto Burford's Staff. O'Keeffe was wounded at captured at Brandy Station. After Buford's death, Keogh served on the staff of General George Stoneman, and was captured with the General on his ill-fated Macon Raid in July 1864. After his exchange Keogh was promoted to Major and served with Stoneman to the end of the War, winning the Brevet rank of Lt.Col.

Myles Keogh was highly regarded as a dashing soldier and a real gentleman -- not easy for an Irish Catholic in those days. He was a close friend of the brilliant military reformer General Emory Upton. Keogh was more or less adopted by Upton's in-laws, the Martin family of Auburn NY (the Martins had married into the Throop family, also prominent New Yorkers) and although Keogh was rumored to have been romantically linked to one of the Martin daughters -- I think this has been essentially disproved in recent scholarship. The real love of his life, the widow of a court-martialed officer of the US Cav., died soon after the CW, and Keogh never recovered from the tragedy.

The most accurate and throughly researched bio. of Keogh to date is: "Myles Keogh: The Life and Legend of an 'Irish Dragoon' in the Seventh Cavalry," edited by Langellier, Cox and Pohanka, published by Upton & Sons, El Segundo, CA,1991. This contains essays by a dozen experts on Keogh's life, and sets him in a proper historical context. So much written about him is filled with fiction, we strove to track down the truth behind the legend, and I think largely succeeded.

Eric will be featuring Keogh in his Buford bio. -- Buford died in Keogh's arms -- and Keogh was really like a brother to the crusty, fighting trooper.

Brian Pohanka

Dennis Lawrence

Also local lore has it that Keough's horse,who was the sole survivor of the Big Horn battle,is buried beside him.Cann't prove it by me.They keep throwing me out of the cemetery every time I go anywhere near it with a shovel.Sometimes getting verified proof isn't easy. Anyone know where I can get an entrenching tool? Joe Blair


There were many survivors of the battle - none of them wore blue though.

Keough's wounded horse, Commanche, was found after the battle and led to the steamer The Far West some ten miles away and transported to Fort Lincoln where he became the celebrated "only survivor." The horse lived to be twenty-nine and upon his death the Seventh wanted to preserve his body, so they sent it to the University of Kansas to be stuffed. The horse remains there today on the 3rd floor of the Natural History museum in a nook where I have often sat amidst a sparse display of Indians at the Little Big Horn pictures. Johnny Horton sang a song about the horse - not as stirring as the Battle of New Orleans or Sink the Bismark.

Dennis says:

In a message dated 96-11-03 23:30:51 EST, Joe Blair writes:

<< While we're on the subject of Myles.How was it accepted when this Catholic Irishman wound up being buried in a Protestant Cemetery?The times being what they were.Just curious.

Keogh was like a son and brother to the Martin family, and in one of his last letters from Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory, he said something to the effect that

if he was killed he wanted to be buried at Auburn, as it was "like a second home" to him. So it was by his own wish, and the Martins saw that it was carried out. Keogh's

sister later requested that a marble cross be put atop his grave, and that was done.

He was given a large military funeral, and many former Civil War officers attended, so I don't think there was any real objection, though he was Catholic.