Private Herman Granberg, A Troop, 7th Cavalry – Died of Wounds


It would not be economizing fact very much to say that this man was literally shot to pieces.
–Assistant Surgeon C. B. Ewing

According to the 7th Cavalry field return of 31 December 1890, Captain Moylan’s A Troop suffered a sergeant and four privates killed in action, and the same number and ranks wounded in action, two of whom later died from the effects of their wounds. One of those troopers that died from his wounds was Private Herman Granberg, a twenty-nine-year-old Swedish emigrant that was a little over halfway through his five year enlistment.

Names of soldiers died from wounds recieved in action with Hostile Indians at Crossing of Wounded Knee Creek - from the Seventh Cavalry Regiment's Field Return dated December 31, 1890.

Names of soldiers died from wounds received in action with Hostile Indians at Crossing of Wounded Knee Creek – from the Seventh Cavalry Regiment’s Field Return dated December 31, 1890.[1]

The absence of any eyewitness accounts of where on the field of battle Granberg was wounded make it impossible to determine the circumstances of his death. According Lieutenant Cloman’s map of the battlefield (below), the soldiers of A and I Troops were in two locations when the first shot was fired. One-third of their combined strength was held in reserve and located west of the regiment’s camp on the slope of the hill upon which Captain Capron’s mountain-howitzer battery was situated.  Captain Moylan later testified that one of his soldiers from the reserve was killed “about half way between the tepees and our camp.”[2]  Two-thirds of A and I Troops were dismounted forming a chain of sentinels on the east, south and west sides of the Indian camp, with the southern portion located on the far side of the ravine.  Captain Moylan stated that four of his troopers in this latter group were killed.

Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.

(Click to enlarge) Inset of Lieut. S. A. Cloman’s map of Wounded Knee depicting the scene of the fight with Big Foot’s Band, December 29, 1890.[3]

The field return indicates that Granberg died the day after the battle of Wounded Knee at the Pine Ridge Agency.  In the Muster Rolls for A Troop dated 31 October to 31 December 1890, Captain Moylan states that Granberg suffered a gunshot wound to his back.[4]  Captain Charles B. Ewing, Assistant Surgeon for the Department of the Platte, who was at Wounded Knee as an observer and rendered first aid to many of the wounded, in 1892 delivered an address to the Association of Military Surgeons of the National Guard in which he provided the following details concerning Granberg’s wounds:

…suffered four distinct gunshot wounds: one passing transversely through lumbar vertebrae from left to right, crushing and comminuting vertebrae and severely injuring the cord and its membranes, and finally lodging in the muscles of the right lumbar region; penetrating gunshot wounds of right and left arms below elbow joints; and the fourth passing through left leg just above ankle joint.  It would not be economizing fact very much to say that this man was literally shot to pieces.  The bullet which I now exhibit, weighing 385 grs., was removed from the right lumbar region by simple incision, without anaesthetic, immediately after his arrival in the divisional field hospital at Pine Ridge, and, as Nature had not moulded him to resist three ounces of lead in this form and method of distribution, he died shortly afterwards.  The injuries of this soldier were so severe that it was hardly expected that he would survive the journey from the battlefield to the field hospital, sixteen miles distant. [5]

The Orlando was a British emigration liner based out of the port of Hull, England.[6]

Born Carl Gustaf Herman Granberg on 18 January 1861 in the municipality of Eskilstuna, Södermanland county in southeastern Sweden, he was the son of Anders Eric Granberg and Charlotta Ersdotter.  He left his homeland at the age of twenty-five, boarding the Orlando at Göteborg on 2 April 1886 and sailed for Hull, England, where he transferred to the S. S. Gallia at Liverpool and traveled to the new world, arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, the 29th.[7]

At the time of his enlistment in New York City on 24 March 1888, his recruiting officer listed him as a twenty-seven-year-old locksmith born at Eskilstuna, Sweden.  He stood just under five-foot-five and had blue eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion.[8]

Final Statement of Private Herman Granberg prepared by Captain Myles Moylan on 30 December 1890.

Final Statement of Private Herman Granberg prepared by Captain Myles Moylan on 30 December 1890.[9]

Private Granberg was buried along with twenty-nine of his comrades on New Years Eve, 1890 in the Episcopal Cemetery at the Pine Ridge Agency.  His body was removed to Fort Riley in October 1906 where he was interred in the post cemetery.  There is no record of any siblings, nor of what became of his parents.[10]

Private Herman Granberg’s grave marker at the Fort Riley Post Cemetery in Kansas.[11]

Endnotes:

[1] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C., “Field Return of Seventh Cavalry, in the field, Dec. 31, 1890,” Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916, Microfilm Serial: M617, Microfilm Roll: 1532.
[2] National Archives, “Sioux Campaign, 1890-91,” 664 – 665 (Moylan’s testimony dated 7 Jan 1891).
[3] United States War Department, Annual Report of the Secretary of War, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), 150-155. Map of Wounded Knee.
[4] Adjutant General’s Office, “7th Cavalry Troop A Jan. 1885-Dec. 1897 Vol. 42,” Muster Rolls 1784-1912, Oct. 31 to Dec. 31, 1890.
[5]Charles B. Ewing, “Address to the Association of Military Surgeons of the National Guard, April 19, 1892,” The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Volume CXXVI, January – June 1892, (Boston: Damrell and Upham, 1892), 463-464.  Ewing states that this soldier was a private in B Troop, but a thorough review of each soldier that died of wounds as reported by troop commanders on the Muster Rolls and the description of wounds and place of death listed thereon when compared to Ewings description indicates that he must have been describing Private Granberg’s wounds.
[6] Kjell Nordqvist, “Ships Information,” (http://64.176.6.231/longstrom/shipsinformation.htm), accessed 8 Feb 2015.
[7] Ancestry.com. Sweden, Indexed Birth Records, 1860-1941 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), Swedish Church Records Archive, Johanneshov, Sweden; Sweden, Indexed Birth Records, 1880-1920, GID Number: 100004.7.43100, Roll/Fiche Number: SC-514, Volume: 39, Year Range: 1861; Ancestry.com. Gothenburg, Sweden, Passenger Lists, 1869-1951 [database on-line], Original data: Göteborgs Poliskammare, EIX 1-143, 1869–1950, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden; Ancestry.com, Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C., Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1917-1943, Microfilm Serial: T938, Microfilm Roll: 100.
[8] Ancestry.com, U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line] (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls), Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[9] Adjutant General’s Office, Final Statements, 1862-1899 at Fold3, http://www.fold3.com/image/271303445/ accessed 26 Aug 2013.
[10] Burial Records.  Several of the burial records spell his last name G-R-A-N-D-B-E-R-G with a D in the middle.  I have used the spelling as indicated on this enlistment record, regimental return, muster roll and final statement.
[11] Lisa Osborn, photo., “Herman Grandberg,” FindAGrave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=73217136 accessed 26 Aug 2013.

Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Private Herman Granberg, A Troop, 7th Cavalry – Died of Wounds,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2015, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-5K), updated 8 Feb 2015, accessed date __________.

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About Sam Russell

I am a fifth-generation Army officer with over twenty-eight years of commissioned service. I have been researching the frontier Army for over fifteen years and am interested in documenting the lives of the soldiers that participated in the battle of Wounded Knee using primarily official reports, diaries, letters, newspaper articles and other primary source documents. My interest in Wounded Knee stems from my kinship to one of the principal participants. I am the great-great-grandson of Samuel M. Whitside, who was a major and battalion commander at the battle. I welcome and encourage comments on posts and pages and am always interested in any new primary sources. If you have copies of letters, diaries, etc, from participants and are willing to share, please contact me. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and should in no way be construed as official Army or U.S. Government positons.
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