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I Go With Custer: The Life and Death of Reporter Mark Kellogg

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I Go With Custer: The Life and Death of Reporter Mark Kellogg

By Sandy Barnard

In late June 1876, Mark Kellogg, the only newspaper reporter accompanying the 7th Cavalry on its campaign in the Great Sioux War, wrote to his editor, Clement Lounsberry of the Bismarck Tribune, "I go with Custer and will be at the death." Kellogg wasn’t predicting his own death, as the phrasing was common during the period, but four days after the bodies of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and 208 other soldiers, scouts and civilians riding with him were found, the body of the dead news correspondent was found on the flats above the Little Big Horn River.

In 1876, no rail or wire communications existed west of Bismarck, Dakota Territory. Kellogg’s dispatches from the front lines of this ill-fated military expedition provide a rare glimpse into the final days of Custer and the men of his legendary regiment as they prepared to meet the forces of the Sioux and Cheyenne. In the substantial literature about the Little Big Horn battle, the death of the reporter has usually been relegated to secondary consideration and even the actual site of his killing remains an historical puzzle. Barnard’s biography combines contemporary sources, reminiscences of people who knew Kellogg, and Kellogg’s own writings into a vivid portrait of the man.

As reviewer Ted Quanrud has written, "Suddenly ‘Custer’s Mysterious Mr. Kellogg,’ as one historian labeled him, is no longer so shadowy a figure, but a flesh-and-blood human being who lived an exciting life — if not an altogether happy and successful one."

240 pages. Softcover

18 photos, 3 maps

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