Ten Years With Custer: A 7th Cavalryman' s Memoirs Image

Ten Years With Custer: A 7th Cavalryman' s Memoirs

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By Sandy Barnard

In 1866, John Ryan, a 21-year-old Union Army veteran, enlisted in the new 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. During two enlistments in the next 10 years, he took part in every action or campaign with this legendary Army unit under its celebrated commander, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. 

With Custer, Ryan charged the village of Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle on the Washita River in November 1868 and took part in the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873 and the Black Hills Expedition of 1874. Between his Civil War service in the 28th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry Regiment and the 7th Cavalry, Ryan fought in some 45 military engagements and saw many “hard sights” on those battlefields, but it was his last one he recalled as the worst—the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25-26, 1876. First Sergeant with Company M, Ryan fought heroically in the Little Bighorn Valley and on the bluffs with the battalion under Major Marcus A. Reno. He survived this fighting, which he would talk and write about throughout the 50 years he lived after his final discharge. 

More important, he penned a 600-page memoir of his military career, providing extraordinary insight into not only the great experiences of the 7th Cavalry on the Plains but also into the everyday life of the Frontier Army. For many years, Ryan’s full manuscript had been missing, until it was located and purchased by author-researcher Sandy Barnard in April 2000.
Some 475 of those pages dealt with his 7th Cavalry career and are published for the first time in this work. An extraordinary and important account, this document is unlike any other written by a 7th Cavalry officer or an enlisted man. Indian wars historians, Little Bighorn battle enthusiasts and reenactors all will find much to savor in this noteworthy new classic.

361 pages, 65 illustrations and maps.  Softcover

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