In January 1891, a young photographer from Deadwood, South Dakota, documented the Pine Ridge Campaign through a series of pictures. His name was John C. H. Grabill, and among his photographs was one that he aptly titled “The Fighting 7th Officers.” I have adopted his photograph as the banner for this blog, as it is an extraordinary grouping of most of the officers that fought together two weeks earlier.
Not all of the officers in the picture were at Wounded Knee, and likewise, some of the officers that were at the battle are not in the photograph. Obviously not photographed were Captain Wallace who was killed in the battle, and Lieutenant Mann who was mortally wounded the following day. In all, there were thirty-three officers present on the field at Wounded Knee, twenty-four were from the 7th Cavalry, three were from the Medical Corps, two were from the 9th Cavalry, and there was one officer each from the 1st Artillery, the 2nd Artillery, and the 2nd Infantry Regiments. One of my primary objectives for this blog is to document the lives of the officers who led their men in battle at Wounded Knee. Grabill’s photograph of twenty-three officers at the Pine Ridge Agency just days after the battles along the Dakota creeks of Wounded Knee and White Clay is an outstanding starting point at identifying these men. Much credit needs to go to Native American historian Walter Mason Camp who identified the twenty-three men on the back of a larger version of this photo that included the two individuals on the far right who are cut off on the banner above.
Seated at the far left side of the photograph is Captain Winfield Scott Edgerly. The forty-four-year-old commander of G Troop, 7th Cavalry, was present at Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. He had served in the regiment since graduating from West Point in 1870, and fought in Captain Weir’s D Company at the Battle of Little Big Horn in June 1876. He retired from the Army as a Brigadier General in 1909 and died in 1927.
Moving to the right, the next officer is Captain Charles Stillman Ilsley. At the age of fifty-three, he was the senior captain in the 7th Cavalry and was commanding the regiment’s Second Battalion at Wounded Knee. He had been with the regiment since 1870 but was not at the Battle of Little Big Horn, as he was on detached service in June 1876. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1899 a week before his death.
Newly promoted Captain Henry Haviland Wright, was not present at Wounded Knee. He was assigned to K Troop, 9th Cavalry, and based on his position in the photograph, may have been seated to represent Captain George D. Wallace who was killed at Wounded Knee. During the campaign he commanded his troop under Major Guy V. Henry and likely arrived with the 9th Cavalry at the end of the Drexel Mission fight on White Clay Creek. His promotion in the field was so recent that he was still wearing his lieutenant straps in the photograph.
Next is Captain Charles Albert Varnum. At forty-one, he was one of the youngest captains in the 7th Cavalry. He was present at both battles commanding his B Troop, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism” at White Clay Creek. Varnum was just steps away from his long time friend and West Point roommate, George Wallace, when he was killed at Wounded Knee. They had both been with the regiment since graduating from the Academy in 1872, and both were survivors of the Battle of Little Big Horn. Varnum retired in 1907 as a Colonel and died in 1936.
Colonel James William Forsyth was the fifty-six-year-old commander of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and served in that capacity at both engagements. He held a brevet of Brigadier General from his service in the Civil War, and as such was addressed as General Forsyth. Ironically, he was not commanding the regiment when Grabill took this photo, having been relieved by General Miles pending the outcome of an investigation into his conduct at Wounded Knee. Forsyth retired from the Army as a Major General in 1897 and died in 1906.
Major Samuel Marmaduke Whitside was a week shy of fifty-two at Wounded Knee and White Clay where he commanded the 7th Cavalry Regiment’s First Battalion. He was recommended for brevet promotions for the capture of Big Foot’s band and for his actions at Wounded Knee. General Miles ensured that neither Forsyth nor Whitside received commendations for Wounded Knee. Whitside had been with the regiment since his promotion to Major in 1885. At the time of this photograph Whitside was commanding the regiment during Forsyth’s relief. He retired in 1902 as a Brigadier General and died in 1904.
At fifty-two Captain Myles Moylan had been the commander of A Troop, 7th Cavalry, for sixteen years and was present in that capacity at Wounded Knee and White Clay. He had been with the regiment since 1866, and was commanding A Troop on Reno Hill at the Battle of Little Big Horn in June 1876. In 1893, he retired as a Major in the 10th Cavalry and settled in San Diego, California. Moylan died of stomach cancer in 1909.
Captain Edward Settle Godfrey, was the forty-seven-year-old commander of D Troop, 7th Cavalry, and was present at both Wounded Knee and White Clay. Two of the most controversial aspects of Wounded Knee occurred under his command, Cavalry fire discipline and the tragedy at White Horse Creek. He had been with the 7th since graduating from West Point in 1867. At the Battle of Little Big Horn he commanded K Company in Captain Benteen’s battalion. He retired as a Brigadier General in 1907 and died in 1932.
Captain John Van Rennselaer Hoff was a forty-two-year-old assistant surgeon and ranking medical officer at Wounded Knee. At the Wounded Knee investigation he testified that he did not believe any soldiers were killed or wounded by friendly fire. In 1891, he was commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order 100 for “extraordinary heroism.” Hoff retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1912 and died in 1920. In 1925 he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions at Wounded Knee.
Seated at the far right of the photograph is John Chowning Gresham, the thirty-nine-year-old First Lieutenant assigned to B Troop, 7th Cavalry. Slightly wounded when the bridge of his nose was grazed, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism” at Wounded Knee. He was transferred to the regiment from the 3rd Cavalry following the Battle of Little Big Horn shortly after graduating from West Point in 1876. Gresham retired at the rank of Colonel in 1915 and died in 1926.
Pictured standing on the far left is thirty-six-year-old First Lieutenant Loyd Stone McCormick, who served as the Regimental Adjutant of 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee and White Clay. As adjutant he was instrumental in the awards process following the campaign. McCormick wrote an unpublished manuscript of the battle in 1904. He retired as a Colonel in 1914 and died in 1928.
Second Lieutenant Joseph Ellwell Maxfield was the thirty-year-old Signal Corps officer with the Department of the Platte on detached service with the 7th Cavalry while in the field at Wounded Knee. He retired at the rank of Major in 1905, having served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Volunteers during the Spanish-American War, and died in 1926.
First Lieutenant William Sherley Scott, I Troop, 1st Cavalry, was not present at either battle. Like Lieutenant Wright, he may have been positioned in the photograph to represent Lieutenant Mann who died of his wounds a few weeks after being wounded at White Clay Creek.
Lieutenant William Jones Nicholson, was the thirty-four-year-old First Lieutenant normally assigned to Captain Nowlan’s I Troop, 7th Cavalry. At Wounded Knee he was serving as Whitside’s Acting Adjutant of First Battalion. Nicholson retired as a Colonel in 1920 and was promoted to Brigadier General from the retired list in 1927. He died in 1931.
At thirty years of age Lieutenant Sedgwick Rice served as the Second Lieutenant of Captain Ilsley’s E Troop, 7th Cavalry. He was present at Wounded Knee and White Clay, and was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal in 1918 for his actions at White Clay Creek. Rice retired as a Colonel in 1924 and died the following year.
Second Lieutenant Thomas Quinton Donaldson, Jr., the twenty-six-year-old platoon leader in Captain Jackson’s C Troop, 7th Cavalry, was one of the youngest officers on the field at Wounded Knee. He retired as a Major General following World War I and died in 1934.
Thirty-six-year-old Second Lieutenant James Franklin Bell was assigned to Captain Edgerly’s G Troop, 7th Cavalry, but was still on leave when the battle occurred. He returned to the regiment at Pine Ridge in early January 1891. He went on to serve as the fourth Chief of Staff of the Army from 1906 to 1910. General Bell died on active duty in 1919 while serving as a Major General.
Lieutenant Herbert Goldsmith Squiers was the thirty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant of Captain Wallace’s K Troop, 7th Cavalry, but was not present at Wounded Knee. He returned to Fort Riley four days earlier to take the examination for promotion to First Lieutenant. He left the Army in 1891 and went on to serve as Minister to Cuba and to Panama and was First Secretary of the American Legation at Peking during the Boxer uprising. He died in 1911.
Thirty-six-year-old Lieutenant Edwin Parker Brewer was the First Lieutenant of Captain Edgerly’s G Troop, 7th Cavalry, and was on duty with his unit at Wounded Knee. He retired at the rank of Colonel in 1919 and died in 1932.
Thirty-six-year-old Lieutenant Horatio Gates Sickel, Jr., was assigned as the First Lieutenant of Captain Ilsley’s E Troop, 7th Cavalry, and commanded that unit at Wounded Knee. He was commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order No. 100 in 1891 for “gallant service” at Wounded Knee. Sickel retired from the Army at the rank of Colonel in 1918 and took his own life later that same year.
Doctor Daniel LeMay was the thirty-two-year-old Veterinary Surgeon assigned to the 7th Cavalry and was present at Wounded Knee. He served to the rank of Captain and was promoted to Major from the retired list. LeMay died in 1938 in the country of his birth, Quebec, Canada.
The last officer standing to the far right of the photograph who is barely visible in the above banner is twenty-six-year-old Lieutenant Selah Reeve Hobbie “Tommy” Tompkins, assigned as the Second Lieutenant of Captain Godfrey’s D Troop, 7th Cavalry. He was present at Wounded Knee and White Clay. He retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1927 and died in 1939.
Of the twenty-three officers in Grabill’s photograph, four were not present at Wounded Knee: Lieutenants Wright, Scott, Bell and Squiers. There were fourteen officers who were not pictured in the photograph that were present at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890.
Among the fourteen was Captain Allyn Capron, Sr., the forty-four-year-old commander of Light Battery E, 1st Artillery. He was present at Wounded Knee and positioned on the hill top with his four Hotchkiss steel mountain rifles. He was commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order No. 100 in 1891 for “gallant service” at Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. Capron died in 1898 at the rank of Captain from typhoid fever contracted during the Spanish-American War.
Henry Jackson, the fifty-three-year-old Captain of C Troop, 7th Cavalry, commanded his troop at Wounded Knee and White Clay. He had been with the regiment since 1866 and was on detached service during the Battle of Little Big Horn. Jackson retired in 1901 as a Colonel. He was promoted to Brigadier General from the retired list in 1904, and died in 1908.
Fifty-three-year-old Captain Henry James Nowlan, served as the commander of I Troop, 7th Cavalry, at Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. He had been with the regiment from its establishment but was on detached service in June 1876 during the Battle of Little Big Horn. Nowlan was commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order No. 100 in 1891 for “gallant service” at Wounded Knee. He died in 1898 while serving as a Major in the 7th Cavalry.
Captain George David Wallace at the age of forty-one was the youngest Captain in the regiment. He was killed at Wounded Knee while commanding K Troop, 7th Cavalry. He joined the regiment in 1872 when he and his West Point roommate, Charles Varnum, were commissioned from the academy together. Still best of friends, they were steps away from one another when Wallace was struck down. He had survived the Battle of Little Big Horn in June 1876 largely because George Custer allowed him to join Varnum in Reno’s valley fight. Captain Wallace was posthumously commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order No. 36 in 1892 for “conspicuous gallantry” in action at Wounded Knee.
Thirty-six-year-old Lieutenant James DeFrees Mann, was serving as the First Lieutenant of Captain Wallace’s K Troop, 7th Cavalry, at Wounded Knee. He was mortally wounded the following day at White Clay Creek, succumbing to his wounds while recuperating at Fort Riley two weeks later. He was posthumously commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order No. 100 in 1891 for “gallantry” in action at White Clay Creek.
Lieutenant Ernest Albert Garlington was the thirty-seven-year-old First Lieutenant of Captain Moylan’s A Troop, 7th Cavalry, at Wounded Knee where he was severely wounded. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for “distinguished gallantry” that day. He retired as a Brigadier General in 1917 and died in 1934.
Lieutenant William Wallace Robinson, Jr., forty-four years of age at Wounded Knee, was assigned to Captain Godfrey’s D Troop, 7th Cavalry, and was serving as Acting Adjutant of 2nd Battalion that day. He commanded K Troop following the battle at White Clay Creek as a result of the loss of Captain Wallace and Lieutenant Mann. He retired from the Army in 1910 at the rank of Brigadier General and died in 1917.
Thirty-four-year-old First Lieutenant Charles William Taylor, 9th Cavalry, commanded A Troop, U.S. Indian Scouts, at Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. He retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1916 and died in 1939 at the age of eighty-two.
First Lieutenant James Denver Glennan was a twenty-eight-year-old Assistant Surgeon assigned to duty with the 7th Cavalry during the Pine Ridge Campaign. He was present at the battles of Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. He died in 1927 while serving as a Brigadier General supervising the construction of Walter Reed General Hospital.
First Lieutenant John Kinzie was the forty-year-old Acting Adjutant of the 2nd Infantry Regiment and was present at Wounded Knee as an observer. He was wounded in the foot during the opening volley. He left the Army in 1897 having attained the rank of Captain. Kinzie served as commandant of Washington State College and died in 1914.
At thirty-one Lieutenant Harry Leroy Hawthorne was assigned as the Second Lieutenant of A Battery, 2nd Artillery. He was attached to Captain Capron’s Light Battery E, 1st Artillery, and was commanding a platoon of two Hotchkiss steel mountain rifles when he was severely wounded at the Battle of Wounded Knee. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for “distinguished conduct” in battle that day. Hawthorne retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1914 and died in 1948 at the age of eighty-eight.
Lieutenant John Charles Waterman was the thirty-three-year-old Second Lieutenant of Captain Nowlan’s I Troop, 7th Cavalry, who had been with the regiment since graduating from West Point in 1881. He fought at both Wounded Knee and White Clay Creek. Waterman retired from the Army as a Colonel and died in 1939.
Twenty-six-year-old Lieutenant Guy Henry Preston was the youngest officer at Wounded Knee. He was assigned to the 9th Cavalry and was serving as a platoon leader in A Troop, U.S. Indian Scouts. He was commended by the Commanding General of the Army in General Order No. 100 in 1891 for “courage and endurance” at Wounded Knee. He rose to the the rank of Brigadier General retiring in 1928. When Preston died in 1952 at the age of eighty-eight he was the last surviving officer from the Battle of Wounded Knee.
Thirty-two-year-old Captain Charles Beverly Ewing was an Assistant Surgeon in the Department of the Platte and was present at Wounded Knee to observe the disarming of the Sioux Indians. He spent much of that day providing invaluable first aid to the many wounded. Ewing testified at the Wounded Knee investigation that it was “impossible” that soldiers did not wound or kill each other based on their positioning. He attained the rank of Major in the Army and died in 1918.
Sixteen of the aforementioned officers at Wounded Knee were graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York: Colonel James W. Forsyth, class of 1856; Captain Edward S. Godfrey, class of 1867; First Lieutenant William W. Robinson, Jr., class of 1869; Captain Winfield S. Edgerly, class of 1870; Captains Charles A. Varnum and George D. Wallace, class of 1872; First Lieutenant Ezra B. Fuller, class of 1873; First Lieutenants Ernest A. Garlington, John C. Gresham, Loyd S. McCormick, and Horatio G. Sickel, Jr., class of 1876; First Lieutenant James D. Mann, class of 1877; First Lieutenant Charles W. Taylor, class of 1879; Second Lieutenant John C. Waterman, class of 1881; Second Lieutenant Thomas Q. Donaldson, Jr., class of 1887; and Second Lieutenant Guy H. Preston, class of 1888. Additionally, one officer was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland: Second Lieutenant Harry L. Hawthorne, class of 1882. The Seventh Regiment of Cavalry also had one officer who was a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst: Captain Henry J. Nowlan, class of 1854.
At least four, possibly five, of the officers were foreign born. Major Whitside was born at Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Captain Nowlan at Corfu on the Ionian Islands of Greece, Captain Henry Jackson at Canterbury, England, and Captain LeMay at Saint-Martin, Quebec, Canada. Early military records indicate that Captain Myles Moylan was born at Galway, Ireland, although later he established that he was from Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Several officers in the 7th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Riley were neither in the photograph nor present at the battle of Wounded Knee or the Drexel Mission fight. Major John Mosby Bacon was the senior major in the regiment but was on detached service as the Inspector General of the Department of the Platte at the Pine Ridge Agency; General Brooke denied Bacon’s request to join his regiment during the campaign. First Lieutenant Luther Rector Hare, C Troop, had returned to Fort Riley two weeks prior to the battle at Wounded Knee Creek due to illness. Second Lieutenant John Alexander Harman, A Troop, was on detached service as a professor of military science at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, and was unable to return to the regiment to join the campaign. Lastly, Second Lieutenant Edwin Corlie Bullock, B Troop, was also returned to Fort Riley at the beginning of the campaign due to illness.
There were another fourteen officers of the 7th Cavalry who were stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory and were not deployed during the campaign including Lieutenant Colonel Caleb Henry Carlton who was commanding the post. Major Theodore Anderson Baldwin, the junior field grade officer of the regiment, was also stationed at Fort Sill and was on leave during the campaign. The regiment’s F Troop remained at Fort Sill during the campaign along with all of its officers: Captain James Montgomery Bell, First Lieutenant John William Wilkinson, and Second Lieutenant William Franklin Clark. H Troop also was stationed at Fort Sill and its officers, Captain Charles Camilus DeRudio, First Lieutenant Hugh Lenox Scott, and Second Lieutenant William Herbert Baldwin, did not participate in the Pine Ridge Campaign.
Rounding out the twelve companies of the 7th Cavalry Regiment were L and M Troops. Earlier in 1890 Congress had taken the step of reassigning all soldiers in L and M troops in every cavalry regiment across the line army as a means of increasing the troop strength of the other ten troops of each regiment in order to bring them closer to their authorized inventory. The officers of those troops were detached to other assignments. In the 7th Cavalry’s L Troop, those officers included Captain Edward Gustave Mathey who was detached on recruiting service, First Lieutenant Herbert Jermain Slocum who was absent on leave, and Second Lieutenant George Oscar Cress on detached service at Knox College, Illinois. M Troop officers included Captain Frank Marion Gibson and First Lieutenant Albert Judson Russell, who were absent on leave, and Second Lieutenant George Hamilton Cameron on detached service at West Point.
Thanks to the artistic talents and diligent attention to detail of Amy Gigliotti of Fullerton, California, Grabill’s photograph, “The Fighting 7th Officers,” can now be seen in full color.
In future postings I will provide detailed biographies of each of the officers present at Wounded Knee and link them into this page. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.
 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.”
 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), “Pine Ridge Agency, S. D., December 1890,” (Washington, D.C.: Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916) Microfilm Serial: M617; Microfilm Roll: 1532.
 Walter M. Camp, comp., “Walter M. Camp Photograph Collection,” Birgham Young University, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/Camp/id/270/rec/5 accessed 23 Aug 2013. Walter Camp provided the following identification on the back of John C. H. Grabill’s photopgraph “The Fighting 7th Offciers”: Standing- Lt. L.S. McCormick, Adjutant, 7th Cavalry; Lt. Maxfield, Signal Officer; Lt. W.S. Scott, 1st Cavalry; Lt. William J. Nickolson, 7th Cavalry; Lt. S. Rice, 7th Cavalry; Lt. T.Q. Donaldson, 7th Cavalry; Lt. Franklin Bell, 7th Cavalry; Lt. H.G. Squires, 7th Cavalry; Lt. E.P. Brewer, 7th Cavalry; Lt. E.B. Fuller, 7th Cavalry; Lt. H.G. Sickle, 7th Cavalry; Doctor LeMay, Veterinary Corps; Lt. Selah R.H. Tompkins; Sitting- Captain W.S. Edgerly, 7th Cavalry; Captain C.S. Illsley, 7th Cavalry; Lt. H.H. Wright, 9th Cavalry; Captain Charles A. Varnum, 7th Cavalry; Colonel James W. Forsythe, C. O. 7th Cavalry; Major Samuel M. Whitside, 7th Cavalry; Captain M. Moylan, 7th Cavalry; Captain E.S. Godfrey, 7th Cavalry; Captain Van Hoff, (Doctor); and Lt. J.C. Gresham, 7th Cavalry.
* I wish to thank my daughter, Caroline, who took the time and effort to highlight each of the officer’s in Grabill’s photograph “The Fighting 7th Officers.”
Citation for this article: Samuel L. Russell, “Fighting 7th Officers,” Army at Wounded Knee (Sumter, SC: Russell Martial Research, 2013-2015, http://wp.me/P3NoJy-4L) last updated 12 Dec 2014, accessed date __________