Recently a cousin of mine, Amy Gigliotti, took up the hobby of colorizing old photographs. She kindly agreed to work on John C. H. Grabill’s photograph, “The Fighting 7th Officers.” After three weeks of diligence and painstaking detail, Amy graciously provided me with the below copy of Grabill’s iconic picture of the officers of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment at Pine Ridge, January 1891, and I’m proud to add it to this blog.
Click on the photograph for a more detailed view of the picture. When seen at full size the detail of each officer’s face is extraordinary, and the color really brings them to life.
Colonel James William Forsyth and Major Samuel Marmaduke Whitside are shown above in full color. Again, click the photograph for a more detailed view. As one historian noted after viewing this colorized version, “They look old. In a tired way.” Forsyth was fifty-six and Whitside had just turned fifty-two. All of the Army’s field grade officers in 1890–major through colonel–were Civil War veterans and in their fifties. Forsyth still had the Wounded Knee investigation hanging over his head and was still relieved of his command. Whitside was commanding the regiment camped on a hill overlooking the agency with about 6,000 Lakota camped in and around the agency and no one quite sure if they would surrender, flee, or attack. Both men were under great stress at the time of this photograph.
As one reader pointed out, Captain Edward Settle Godfrey’s face demonstrates what many would describe as a 1,000-yard stare, indicative of the horrors of war that this officer had experienced during two decades in the 7th U.S. Cavalry.
Source: John C. H. Grabill, photo., “Fighting 7th Officers,” Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsc-02563, (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsc.02563/) accessed 16 Sep 2013. The photograph is labeled “The Fighting 7th Officers, by John C. H. Grabill, Official Photographer of the Black Hills & F. P. R. R., and Home Stake Mining Co., Studios: Deadwood and Lead City, South Dakota.” Colorized by Amy Gigliotti of Fullerton, CA, 13 Jun 2015.
Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Grabill’s Fighting 7th Officers in Color,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2015, http://wp.me/p3NoJy-KR) updated 19 Jun 2015, accessed date __________