WHAT painting-or its reproduction-has been viewed, commented on and discussed by more people in this country than has any other? Rosa Bonheur's "The Horse Fair"? Landseer's "The Stag at Bay"? The "September Morn" of Paul Chabas? Willard's "Spirit of '76"? "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze? Hovenden's "Breaking Home Ties"?' Doubtless each amateur connoisseur will have his own candidate for this position of honor but the writer's nominations for the place are two figure paintings of the same subject, John Mulvany's "Custer's Last Rally" and Cassilly Adams' "Custer's Last Fight.` Mulvany's painting, completed in 1881, was for ten or a dozen years, displayed, known, and admired throughout the country. Chromolithographic copies
of the painting can still be occasionally found. The Adams painting, done in the middle 1880's, was lithographed in modified version by Otto Becker and published by the Anheuser-Busch Company of St. Louis in 1896 and is still distributed by that concern. Copies can be viewed in barrooms, taverns, hotels, restaurants, and museums throughout the country. It is probably safe to say that in the 50 years elapsing since 1896 it has been viewed by a greater number of the lower-browed members of society-and by fewer art critics-than any other picture in American history. To be more specific, the writer on a bus trip to St. Louis in the summer of 1940, stopped for rest and refreshment at a tavern in a small mid-Missouri town. On one wall of the tavern, a busy rest stop for bus lines traveling east and west, was "Custer's Last Fight." Each bus that came to rest disgorged its passengers, many of whom found their way into the tavern. As each group entered, some one was sure to see the Custer picture with the result that there were always several people-sometimes a crowd-around it, viewing it, commenting on it, and then hurrying on. Probably hundreds of people saw this picture every month. When one considers that 150,000 copies have been published and distributed (see page 383) since the picture was first published in 1896, it is evident that "Custer's Last Fight" has been viewed by an almost countless throng. Kirke Mechem, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, tells me that a reproduction of the painting in the Memorial building close to his work room, is likewise viewed by a constantly changing daily audience. The picture fascinates all beholders, for after viewing it and passing on to examine other pictures and exhibits, return is made to see again "Custer's Last Fight." "It is the most popular by far of all our many pictures," reports Mr. Mechem.
Why? The scene is totally imaginary, for no white witness survived the Custer tragedy. Postponing for the moment the detailed consideration of Mulvany's and Adams' masterpieces, it can be pointed out that the fundamental reason for the popularity of these pieces is the event itself, the event centering around the great climacteric of Custer's life.
Doubtless the name of George Armstrong Custer will be the center of controversy as long as this country honors its military heroes. Few individuals in the nation's history have had the spectacular and varying career that became Custer's lot. At 23 he was a first lieutenant in the United States army assigned to General McClel-
Ian's staff who were then assembling the famed Army of the Potomac. Overnight Custer rose from first lieutenant to brigadier general of volunteer cavalry. Two years later, he was a major general. The close of the Civil War brought almost as abrupt downward changes and nearly disaster to his fortunes. From major general to captain, from hero to deserter were his downward steps. The desertion was followed by suspension, but eventually reinstatement to his regiment (the 7th cavalry organized in 1866) started him again on his upward way. At the battle of the Washita against the Plains Indians in 1868 he again gained the eye of the nation. It was not long, however, before he incurred the displeasure of President Grant and was ordered detached from his command. At the last moment the order was rescinded and as lieutenant-colonel in command of the 7th cavalry, he led his command in that long-remembered battle above the Little Big Horn river on July 25, 1876. On the bare Montana uplands of that bright and burning summer day, Custer and his immediate followers entered Valhalla with a drama and suddenness that left the nation shocked. Not a man in that group survived as the Sioux and their allies gave battle. Small wonder that the tragedy of the Little Big Horn has been told by writer, poet and painter in the days since 1876, for here are the elements that should rouse imagination. Indians, the great West, the boys in blue, great tragedy and no living white observer to witness the culmination of a spectacular career.
And imagination has been used. So much so that it is difficult to trace the events of that day. Students of Custer and of the battle of the Little Big Horn have appeared in number. The event still attracts attention and each contribution, as it has appeared, has been almost immediately the subject of extensive adverse criticism or praise. 
Pictures of Custer's Last Stand have not often been the subject of serious consideration. The student of art, if he has ever condescended to look at such pictures, politely sniffs the tainted air because, it is true, few of such pictures have any artistic merit. There are, however, some exceptions as will be subsequently pointed out. The professional historian, since such pictures must be, as we have already observed, figments of the imagination, relegates them to the limbo of worthless things. It remains, therefore, for the interested busybody who has nothing else to do to consider their worth, if worth they have. As historical documents, pictures of Custer's Last Stand are admittedly worthless,  but any product of man's endeavor which has attracted the attention of millions of his fellows must certainly have some worth. Such pictures have kindled imagination and speculation, have developed observation and criticism  and have renewed and aroused interest in our past. In any well-rounded system of history, then, the consideration of such pictures has a place, even if a humble one. Are they not closer and more vital to our American way of life than is Chinese art or the primitive masters? If the art historian or teacher feels that it is his duty to improve the artistic sense and taste of his fellow man, why cannot "popular" pictures-rather than being held up to scorn -be used as a starting point in such a program of education? The wide appeal of such pictures would insure a large audience and therefore a more fertile field for the zealous in art. The strength and weakness of such pictures are easily pointed out and interest in art might be readily stimulated by this method rather than by the use of more conventional ones. Or if this suggestion does not meet the approval of teachers of art, one might make a further suggestion and remark to the reformers: "Here is a subject which has been of national interest for many years. Let's see how your imagination and talents would depict this or similar scenes in a manner befitting the high standards of the profession."
It can, however, be pointed out that there is now available abundant source material for the critical examination of such pictures
if the observer is so inclined. Maps and photographs of the terrain upon which Custer fought his last battle are accessible to the interested critic or artist as are details of equipment of both Indians and soldiers.  Description of many incidents, for which there is good evidence, are also available.
Dustin, one of the careful students of the battle of the Little Big Horn, writes in this connection:
Pictures have a proper place in history, provided they are true to life, and many have been painted and drawn of "Custer's Last Battle" and related scenes. In some of the most thrilling, officers and men are represented fighting with sabers and clothed in full dress uniforms, the former with shoulder knots, cords, and aquillettes, and the latter with brass shoulder scales. Custer himself has been depicted arrayed in a short jacket, an enormous red tie, and long red hair falling over his shoulders. In fact, not a saber or sword was carried in this fight, and the dress was the ordinary fatigue uniform, although some of the officers, among them Custer, wore comfortable buckskin coats. The men were armed with the Springfield carbine and Colt or Remington revolver, while many of the officers had rifles of different patterns, belonging to them personally. 
Custer's long hair, mentioned above by Dustin, had been cut before his last campaign,  and it seems possible from accounts of surviving Indian participants of the battle, that Custer fell early in the final stages of the fight,  although some artists have depicted him as the final survivors.  It is true that the body of Custer was found near the summit of a ridge overlooking the Little Big Horn river surrounded by the bodies of 40 or 50 of his men and of many horses. Dustin describes the scene as follows:
Custer himself was lying on the slope just south of the monument, face upwards, head uphill, right heel resting on a dead horse, his right leg over a dead soldier lying close to the horse. The right hand was extended and looked as though something had been wrenched from his grip. The body was stripped but not mutilated in any way, and it was with difficulty that the wounds were found which caused his death. One was in the left side of the head through the ear; another on the same side under the heart, and a third in the right forearm. 
For Indian equipment and costumes there is available the extensive description of the Cheyenne warrior, Wooden Leg, who took part in the battle.  According to Wooden Leg, warbonnets were worn by 12 of the several hundred Cheyenne warriors present, of which 10 had trails.
Not any Cheyenne fought naked in this battle. All of them who were in the fight were dressed in their best, according to the custom of both the Cheyennes and the Sioux. Of our warriors, Sun Bear was nearest to nakedness. He had on a special buffalo-horn head-dress. I saw several naked Sioux, perhaps a dozen or more. Of course, these had special medicine painting on the body. Two different Sioux I saw wearing buffalo head skins and horns, and one of them had a bear's skin over his head and body. These three were not dressed in the usual war clothing. It is likely there were others I did not see. Perhaps some of the naked ones were No- Clothing Indians. 
Wooden Leg also described his own preparations for battle "I got my paints and my little mirror. The blue-black circle soon appeared around my face. The red and yellow colorings were applied on all of the skin inside the circle. I combed my hair. It properly should have been oiled and braided neatly, but my father again was saying, `Hurry,' so I just looped a buckskin thong about it and tied it close up against the back of my head, to float loose from there." 
For weapons Wooden Leg had a six-shooter and lariat, and his war pony had a blanket strapped upon its back and a leather thong looped through its mouth. Bows and arrows, however, were the usual weapons of the Indians, many securing their first guns from their fallen enemies. 
Indian witnesses of the battle have also reported important incidents of the tragic fray which artists of the event could-or have -used in their portrayal. Many of the attacking Indians advanced up numerous side gulleys thus protecting themselves from the fire of the soldiers.  In this manner, the total losses among the Indians
were kept exceedingly low considering the magnitude of the engagement. Only
about 30 Indians were killed,  but the portion of the 7th cavalry under Custer's
immediate command, which was wiped out, numbered some 220.  If many of the Indians fought
dismounted, probably a greater number on horseback circled the fight. "We circled
all round him [Custer]" is the brief statement of Two Moon, another Indian
survivor. Two Moon also recalled that "The smoke [over the battlefield] was like
a great cloud, and everywhere the Sioux went the dust rose like smoke." 
Several of the paintings of the Custer battle
have apparently utilized another recollection of Two Moon. "All along," states
Two Moon, "the bugler kept blowing his commands. He was very brave too."  The
was doubtless Chief Trumpeter Henry Voss, killed in action.  Still another incident of the battle which has
not yet found its way into any picturization of Custer's final hour, as far as
the writer knows, was the recollection of Rain-in-the-Face, a Sioux, still
another survivor. Rain-in-the-Face told Charles A. Eastman, the well-known Sioux
writer, that Tashenamani, an Indian maiden whose brother had just been killed in
an engagement with General Crook shortly before the battle of the Little Big
Horn, took part in one of the charges against Custer. "Holding her brother's war
staff over her head, and leaning forward upon her charger, she looked as pretty
as a bird. . . . `Behold, there is among us a young woman,' I shouted. `Let no
young man hide behind her garment.'"  Scalping of the dead and dying soldiers, depicted
in some of the pictures of Custer's Last Stand, was a fact. Known mutilation of
the dead soldiers' bodies, however, was the work of boys, women and old men when
the field was won for the Indians.  Much more might be written concerning factual
aspects of the battle but what has been written above will enable us to make some
judgment-if we must stick to facts-in the various portrayals
Several of the paintings of the Custer battle have apparently utilized another recollection of Two Moon. "All along," states Two Moon, "the bugler kept blowing his commands. He was very brave too."  The bugler was doubtless Chief Trumpeter Henry Voss, killed in action. 
Still another incident of the battle which has not yet found its way into any picturization of Custer's final hour, as far as the writer knows, was the recollection of Rain-in-the-Face, a Sioux, still another survivor. Rain-in-the-Face told Charles A. Eastman, the well-known Sioux writer, that Tashenamani, an Indian maiden whose brother had just been killed in an engagement with General Crook shortly before the battle of the Little Big Horn, took part in one of the charges against Custer. "Holding her brother's war staff over her head, and leaning forward upon her charger, she looked as pretty as a bird. . . . `Behold, there is among us a young woman,' I shouted. `Let no young man hide behind her garment.'"  Scalping of the dead and dying soldiers, depicted in some of the pictures of Custer's Last Stand, was a fact. Known mutilation of the dead soldiers' bodies, however, was the work of boys, women and old men when the field was won for the Indians. 
Much more might be written concerning factual aspects of the battle but what has been written above will enable us to make some judgment-if we must stick to facts-in the various portrayals
of the battle scene; or the brief review, made above, might indicate the way for some artist of the future whose talents, ambition and imagination might lead him to attempt another version of Custer's Last Stand. 
Since the Mulvany and Adams paintings and the Becker lithograph are by far the best known of this group of battle paintings, their history, with some information concerning the artists, will be given in some detail. We shall then follow the discussion of these two paintings by a listing, and brief description, of other pictorial records of the same event.
Mulvany, an Irishman by birth, was born about 1844 and came to this country when 12 years of age. As a boy, after his arrival in New York City, he worked around the old Academy of Design and evidently picked up some training in drawing and sketching. Judging from the meager information concerning his early career, he joined the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War and continued his sketching in the field. At the close of the war he had enough money to take him abroad, where he became an art student in the famous centers of Dusseldorf, Munich, and Antwerp. He achieved considerable success as a student, winning a medal for
excellence at Munich. At Munich he was a student of Wagner and of the famous Piloty, well known for his historical paintings, including a number of battle scenes. Later he went to Antwerp where he studied under De Keyser, the Flemish painter of battle pieces.  He returned to this country in the early 1870's and was for a time a resident of St. Louis and Chicago. After the great fire of 1871, Mulvany went farther West and lived near the Iowa-Nebraska border where he began accumulating Western material. His first painting of note, "The Preliminary Trial of a Horse Thief-Scene in a Western Justice's Court," was exhibited before the National Academy of Design in 1876. 
As a resident of the West, Mulvany, like countless other Americans of 1876, was shocked by the Custer tragedy and his interest in Western life doubtless led him to contemplate the Custer battle as a theme for his brush. In 1879, after establishing headquarters in Kansas City, he visited the Custer battlefield, made sketches of the terrain and visited the Sioux on reservation. Mulvany also studied, according to his own account, the dress and equipment of the U. S. cavalry and obtained portraits and descriptions of General Custer and his officers. "I made that visit," he stated two years after the trip to the Little Big Horn, "because I wished to rid the painting of any conventionality. Whenever nature is to be represented it should be nature itself, and not somebody's guess. I made myself acquainted with every detail of my work, the gay caparisoning of the Indian ponies, the dress of the Indian chiefs and braves; in fact, everything that could bear upon the work."  For two years he worked on his masterpiece which he named "Custer's Last Rally." The work of painting was done in Kansas City, although Mulvany seems to have made other Western trips in this period as well as occasional excursions to nearby Fort Leavenworth for the purpose of consulting army officers at that post.
The painting was nearly complete by the end of March, 1881, for on March 18, the reporters of the Kansas City newspapers, some
20 in number, were invited to view the work.  The painting which the 20 gentlemen of the press beheld with awe and admiration was an enormous work, measuring 20 x 11 feet with figures of heroic size. In describing it, one of the journalists wrote:
Custer is, of course, the central figure. He is depicted as standing below, and a little to the right of his favorite horse, in the middle of the barricade formed by the few soldiers who participated in the final hopeless struggle. In his left hand, which is extended at full length, is a revolver, which he is aiming at some unseen foe, while with his right he grasps a glittering saber, holding it tightly at his side. His face expresses all that a man would feel when confronted by certain death. Despair is crowded out by undaunted courage; the thought of personal danger seems to have been sunk in hatred for a bloodthirsty foe, and a subdued expression in the eyes shows that pity for the gallant boys in blue, whom he has hurried to impending doom, is struggling hard for supremacy. His face is flushed with the heat of battle, his broad-brimmed hat lies carelessly on one side, and the long yellow locks, which added so greatly to his manly beauty, are tossed impetuously back. He stands erect, undaunted and sublime. Near him, kneeling upon the ground, and with bandaged head from which blood is spurting, is Capt. Cook, adjutant of the regiment, and a warm friend of Custer's. Cook darts a glance of hatred at the red devils and has his hand upon the trigger of his rifle waiting for a chance to shoot. In the immediate foreground are two Sioux Indians, both dead. One lies with his face turned upward to the June sun, and a more hideous countenance could not be found if a search was made from Dan to Beersheba. The face was covered with paint, the ears and nose are pierced, a gaudy bonnet of eagles' feathers adorns the head, and the features are horribly savage, even in death. The artist has been true to nature in his treatment of the redskin. The breech clout and moccasins and headdress are faithfully delineated.
Mulvaney told his guests that he was planning to take the picture East for exhibition and reproduction, and shortly the painting was in Boston. The fact that such a work of art had been produced in the West itself did not go unnoticed and we find the same journalist commenting, as he brings his description of Mulvany's painting to a close:
That such a work has been produced in Kansas City shows that art is not neglected even in the midst of the great commercial activity that so distinctively marks this growing metropolis. The effect upon other artists here cannot but be beneficial. Of course nothing can be predicated of the reception that Mr. Mulvany's work will meet in the East, but it is fair to presume that it will create the favorable impression that it so richly deserves. 
Mulvaney, with "Custer's Last Rally," reached Boston in April, 1881, and apparently at the suggestion of friends, some changes in composition were made. Mulvany, therefore, rented a studio in "Kenneday Hall in the Highlands" and proceeded with the suggested alterations. The size of Ouster's figure was reduced somewhat; his hair shortened and his face strengthened. After those changes had been made, Mulvany invited the art critics and journalists of the city to examine his work. Edward Clements of the Boston Evening Transcript was evidently very favorably impressed after seeing it, for he wrote the following intelligent account:
The magnificent bravery of the artist's purpose in this picture and the sustained power as well as heroic pluck with which he has bent himself to a great subject are allowed to make their effect upon all who appreciate what it is to project and carry out an extended composition like this. . . . To multiply the figure or two of the ordinary achievements of our artists by twenty or forty (as in the case of this huge canvas, containing more than two score of figures) would give but a slight notion of the comparative strength drawn upon to complete such a picture as this of Mulvany's. It is not a mere matter of posing studio models. The subject cannot be posed except in the artist's imagination, and not there until after the creative effort, the "sheer dead lift" of invention which calls it into being. Custer and his command were cut off to the last man, and only the confused boastings of the Indians engaged in the slaughter furnish the material for the artist's detail. To call up the counterpart of the Indians' account, to fill the reflex of their war dance brag with the heroism of the devoted three hundred, must be the work of fervent and sympathetic artistic imagination.
little help in a picture of a death struggle with Indians, had it not been the artist's chief purpose to make an original and American composition. It is a grim, dismal melee. No beautiful uniforms, no picturesque flags, no regular formation of troops into ranks, squares or lines of battle are available to give color, balance and form to the composition, the white puffs of carbine shots and the dense cloud of dust almost concealing the overwhelming cloud of savages, whose myriad numbers it awfully suggests, form the background against which the army-blue trousers and dark blue flannel shirts of these fighting soldiers can add but little richness of color. The highest tint is in Custer's yellow buckskin suit. . . . The picture will go straight to the hearts of the people, especially in the great West. 
Such favorable comment brought the painting its first publicity in the East and although it was not publicly exhibited in Boston, it was soon shipped to New York City for exhibition and was there placed on view in the summer of 1881. No less a personage than Walt Whitman, that constant protagonist of Americanism, saw it on a day's visit to New York and was profoundly impressed. What is more important to us now, Whitman described his impressions, which we shall quote at length. The quotations which we have already made from the Kansas City and Boston papers, and which we shall make from the New York Tribune, in which Whitman's account appears, seem well justified. In the first place they are intrinsically interesting and important, for they reveal what was felt and thought at the time Mulvany's picture was first placed on display. Possibly more important, however, is the concern of the individual writers-possibly an apologetic concern-with American art and American themes in art. That Whitman showed 'this interest and concern is not surprising, for 10 years previously, in 1871, he had published his Democratic Vistas in which was written "I say that democracy [i. e., America] can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences"; a statement which throws considerable light on the following description of the Mulvany picture, written in his characteristic and irregular prose style:
I went to-day to see this just-finished painting by John Mulvany, who has been out in far Montana on the spot at the Forts, and among the frontiersmen, soldiers and Indians, for the last two or three years on purpose to sketch it in from reality, or the best that could be got of it. I sat for over an hour be-
fore the picture, completely absorbed in the first view. A vast canvas, I should say twenty or twenty-two feet by twelve, all crowded, and yet not crowded, conveying such a vivid play of color, it takes a little time to get used to it. There are no tricks; there is no throwing of shades in masses; it is all at first painfully real, overwhelming, needs good nerves to look at it. Forty or fifty figures, perhaps more, in full finish and detail, life-size, in the mid-ground, with three times that number, or more, through the rest-swarms upon swarms of savage Sioux, in their war-bonnets, frantic, mostly on ponies, driving through the background, through the smoke, like a hurricane of demons. A dozen of the figures, are wonderful. Altogether a Western, autochthonic phase of America, the frontiers, culminating typical, deadly, heroic to the uttermost; nothing in the books like it, nothing in Homer, nothing in Shakespeare; more grim and sublime than either, all native, all our own and all a fact. A great lot of muscular, tan-faced men brought to bay under terrible circumstances. Death ahold of them, yet every man undaunted, not one losing his head, wringing out every cent of the pay before they sell their lives.
How long the painting remained on display in New York City we do not know. The next record of its public exhibition comes
from Louisville in December, 1881. Here again it met with great popular favor if we may judge by newspaper accounts. The Courier-Journal with a fulsome rhetoric that surpassed any of its competitors reports:
A poet of the brush who has walked out to meet the new sun of American art upon the upland lawn of the West has just come back with his inspiration to lay before the country. We refer to John Mulvany and his historical painting of "Custer's Last Rally," now on exhibition at the Polytechnic Library building. We do not care to know just how large the canvas is; it is enough to know that it is large enough to contain the genius of battle. We do not care to lessen the glory of the painter's work by applauding his art. Who would put a rule to the Raphael's or measure the lines of Homer? These are not results of Art, they are the realizations of genius. And upon Mulvany's canvas one can see the poetical magnificence of that slaughter in the lonely valley of the Little Big Horn as it appeared to the mind of genius. It breathes the spirit of mortal hate, of heroic sullenness, and that matchless courage jeweling the sword of Custer, which even in its fall "Flashed out a blaze that charmed the world." 
"Custer's Last Rally" was next reported on exhibit in Chicago where it was shown during August and September of 1882. We could again quote at length from the Chicago press for this period, for the painting and John Mulvany were mentioned many times during the exhibition in Chicago.  Enough has already been quoted (the reactions in the Chicago press were similar to those already given) to establish the fact that the Mulvany picture had a wide popular appeal. Indeed, 13 years later the Chicago Inter-Ocean, when Mulvany stopped off in the Windy City after a visit to the Pacific coast, commented "Mr. Mulvaney [sic] needs no introduction to a city in which his magnificent work, 'Custer's Last Charge,' was exhibited. . , ." 
One of the Chicago newspaper accounts of 1882, however, mentions another Western painting which should find its way into our record. Mulvany rented a studio while in Chicago and had on display there other pictures in addition to the "Last Rally." One was called "The Scouts of the Yellowstone." The painting depicted in the foreground two kneeling figures, rifles in hand with another scout in the background holding three horses. The figures were set on a hilly landscape with a river in the distance, the highest land represented in the picture just catching the reflection of the sun. The foreground figures were said to be the same as two of the soldiers portrayed in "Custer's Last Rally." 
"Custer's Last Rally" was likely exhibited in many other American cities than those already described. It was again on exhibit in Chicago in 1890 and it was probably sent abroad for display.  Doubtless on one of its trip to Chicago, the painting was lithographed in color. The Kansas State Historical Society fortunately possesses one of the lithographs which is on display in its museum. The lithographic print itself (without mat) measures 34 3/8 inches by 18 1/2 inches. The signature "Jno. Mulvany, 1881" appears (handprinted) in the lower right hand corner of the print and below [in type, also lower right] the name of the lithographer "D. C. Fabronius, DO.," and lower left [in type] "Jno. Mulvany, Pinxt." The copyrighted print (no date) was published by the Chicago Lithographic and Engraving Company. Comparison of this print with
a photograph of the original painting in the writer's possession shows that, with minor changes, the figures and surroundings were faithfully copied. The lithograph is subdued in color but whether the original colors are correctly reproduced, I do not know as I have not seen the original painting. I also have no information on the number of copies of the lithograph that were published. The history of "Custer's Last Rally" from 1890 until the early 1900's is obscure. At the latter date it seems to have been purchased by H. K. Heinz of Pittsburgh 37 and was, in 1940, still in the possession of the H. K. Heinz Company of Pittsburgh which kindly measured the painting and supplied me with the photograph which is reproduced in this article (see picture supplement).  Several years after Mr. Heinz purchased the original painting of "Custer's Last Rally" he commissioned Mulvany to paint a duplicate (for $200) and which Mr. Heinz is reported to have taken to London for exhibition.  Mulvany had a long career, but in his later years he seems to have depended upon portrait work for a living. Liquor, however, got the best of him, and in May, 1906, he ended his existence by plunging into the East river. "From a fine physique of a man," reports the New York Times, with "handsome features and a kindly countenance, he had sunk to a ragged derelict, uncertain of a night's lodging or a day's food." 
Despite Mulvany's tragic end and despite the fact that Mulvany today is virtually unknown, he played a real and not an unimportant part in past American life. The wide response and enthusiastic reception accorded "Custer's Last Rally" is proof enough of the statement above. But Mulvany has other claims to a place in
THE CUSTER BATTLEFIELD, 1877. The bones in the foreground were gathered by the burial party of 1877. They are approximately where Custer's body was found after the battle in the previous year. Compare the winding Little Big Horse river and its valley in the background with the view shown in the lithograph reproduction on the cover. PHOTOGRAPH BY S.J. MORROW, YANKTON, DAKOTA TERRITORY.
[Courtesy the H.J. Heinz Company, Pittsburgh, Pa.]
[Courtesy Maj. E.C. Johnston, Seventh Cavalry, Fort Bliss, Texas.]
[Courtesy the Owners, Woolaroc Museum,
Frank Phillips Ranch, Bartlesville, Okla.]
American history. Samuel Isham, the historian of American art, points out that William M. Chase exerted a very considerable influence on American painting during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Chase was greatly stimulated by examining the work of Mulvany. So much so that Chase went abroad and studied under Piloty and Wagner at Munich, both of whom had been Mulvany's teachers. 
More recently, G. V. Millet, an artist of Kansas City, has suggested that Remington, who as a very young man lived in Kansas City in the early 1880's, knew Mulvany and "Custer's Last Rally," and was influenced by these contacts.  It does not seem probable that Remington knew Mulvany personally, as Remington did not move to Kansas City until 1884 and Mulvany by that time had moved on.  Although Remington was probably not acquainted with Mulvany during his stay in Kansas City it is not at all unlikely that he had seen and marveled at "Custer's Last Rally" as did thousands of other Americans of that day.
It seems reasonable, too, that Mulvany's painting of the Custer tragedy suggested the theme to other artists. It was the first of some 20 attempts with which I am familiar and, being widely known, served as the incentive for subsequent artists, including possibly Cassilly Adams.
Our fund of information concerning the life and work of Cassilly Adams is not as extensive as is that concerning Mulvany. Adams is not listed in any of the biographical directories of artists but through fortunate contact with a daughter-in-law and a son of Adams, some fundamental information has been secured. Cassilly Adams, a veteran of the Civil War, was born at Zanesville, Ohio, July 18, 1843, the son of a lawyer, William Apthorp Adams, who
traced his ancestry back to the John Adams family of Boston. The elder Adams was himself an amateur artist and he saw that his son Cassilly secured an art education at the Boston Academy of Arts. Later (about 1870) Cassilly Adams studied under Thomas S. Noble at the Cincinnati Art School.  Some time in the late 1870's, Adams moved to St. Louis where he secured work as an artist and an engraver and for a time had a studio with Matt Hastings, a well-known St. Louis artist. 
During the summer of 1940, the writer spent a week in St. Louis making the rounds of the libraries, art galleries, art dealers and art writers of the city newspapers but found no one who had any information concerning Cassilly Adams and his work. I was finally referred to William McCaughen, a retired art dealer of that city. McCaughen told me that he and Adams had belonged to the same social club in the early 1880's but even the information that he could supply me about Adams was meager. McCaughen recalled one other painting (in addition to "Custer's Last Fight") executed by Adams, "Moonlight on the Mississippi." McCaughen also stated that he had arranged the original sale of "Custer's Last Fight" to a saloon owner in St. Louis but could not recall the sale price. For the information available on the painting of this famous piece, we are dependent upon the memory of William Apthorp Adams, son of Cassilly Adams. The son states that he himself saw his father painting the picture in a studio at the corner of 5th and Olive Streets (St. Louis). Over a year was taken in the painting and the figures "were posed by Sioux Indians in their war paint and also by cavalrymen in the costumes of the period."  The painting was produced for two associate members of the St. Louis Art Club, C. J. Budd and William T. Richards, who promoted the painting for exhibition purposes, stimulated, no doubt by the success of the Mulvany picture. The date of the painting has not been fixed with certainty but it was made about 1885. The promoters then exhibited it about the country, according to Mr. Adams, in Cincinnati, De-
Detroit, Indianapolis, and Chicago, "at 50ü admission for adults and 25ü for children under 15 years of age. Charles Fox, a brother of Della Fox, the actress, was the advance agent. My father traveled with the exhibition part of the time."  The exhibition of the painting did not realize the profits expected by the promoters and the sale of the picture was arranged by William McCaughen as noted above. The painting was on display in the saloon for several years and achieved a very considerable local reputation. Here a St. Louis reporter saw it and later commented:
In 1888, when the writer of these lines was a reporter in St. Louis, the original painting [Custer's Last Fight] . . . hung on the wall of a saloon near Eighth and Olive streets-at the "postoffice corner." The place was a sort of headquarters for city and visiting politicians, and reporters assigned to political work were expected to visit it in their news-gathering rounds; but aside from this fact, there were many who visited the place especially to see the picture, which was a very large one, and was valued at $10,000. 
The owner of the saloon died and his heirs unsuccessfully attempted to conduct the business for a time but eventually creditors took over the place. Chief among the creditors was the brewing firm of Anheuser-Busch, Inc., of St. Louis, whose claim against the saloon is said to have amounted to $35,000. Important among the assets of the saloon was the painting of "Custer's Last Fight" which Anheuser-Busch acquired and which has doubtless given rise to the frequently-quoted statement that Adolphus Busch of the Anheuser-Busch company paid the above sum for the painting. 
Adams' painting of the Custer fight, like that of Mulvany's, was
of large size. The painting proper measured 9'6" by 16'5".50 There were, however, two end panels when the painting was first displayed. One depicted Custer as a small boy in his father's shop playing with toy soldiers. The other panel portrayed Custer dead on the field of battle and facing the setting sun.  The panels soon disappeared after it came into possession of Anheuser-Busch. Upon acquiring the painting, Adolphus Busch had it lithographed in color and printed for distribution. The lithograph was copyrighted in 1896 so that evidently some time elapsed between the acquisition of the painting and its reproduction. In this interval (i. e., some time between 1888 and 1896) it was presented to the 7th cavalry, then stationed at Fort Riley. It seems probable that the presentation was made about 1895, but from records available at present the exact date is uncertain. 
In May, 1895, headquarters of the 7th cavalry was transferred from Fort Riley to Fort Grant at the Carlos Indian Agency, Arizona,53 and then in the next few years to still other forts. Apparently in these moves the painting was lost and not found again until 1925 when it was rediscovered in bad condition, in an attic of a storage building at Fort Bliss, Texas. 
There was some discussion on the part of army officials concern-
ing the restoration and disposition of the painting and it was suggested that it be hung in the office of the chief of cavalry in Washington. Nothing was done and the painting again disappeared from view. In 1934, Col. John K. Herr, commanding the 7th cavalry, took his regiment on a 21-day practice march which included abandoned Fort Grant, Ariz., in its tour. In prowling through the abandoned camp "Custer's Last Fight" was again rediscovered and returned to Fort Bliss, headquarters of the Seventh cavalry.  The painting had been folded and torn and its image was badly cracked. Estimates on restoring the painting were secured by officers of the 7th cavalry but as they ranged from $5,000 to $12,000, too great a sum for regimental funds, no immediate steps were taken in its restoration. Finally it was restored by the art division of the W. P. A. in Boston and returned in 1938 to headquarters of the 7th cavalry at Fort Bliss.56 The painting was then hung until 1946 in the offIcers' club building at Fort Bliss, Texas. On June 13, 1946, Associated Press dispatches reported that the painting was destroyed by fire. 
From this brief history of the painting it can be seen that it never achieved very wide recognition. "Custer's Last Fight" owes its chief claim to fame, however, to the lithographic reproduction published by Anheuser-Busch.
A comparison of the original painting reproduced in this article (see picture supplement) with the lithograph (reproduced on the cover) will show immediately that considerable differences exist between the two pictures. As a matter of fact, the lithograph is far more realistic in depicting the topography of the battlefield than is the Adams painting." A number of the figures in the two pictures are similar but the most surprising difference is the fact that the two represent quite different viewpoints. In the lithograph, the background shows the valley of the Little Big Horn river and the river itself while in the painting the slope behind Custer rises abruptly in a steep hill. A comparison of the figure of Custer in the
two pictures also shows marked difference. In the painting, Custer is lunging forward with his saber;  in the lithograph Custer is swinging the saber back over his shoulder in preparation for a desperate blow.
In considering these-and other-differences, two facts must be kept in mind: First, the lithograph was reproduced on stone by a second artist, and second, the painting was "restored," as pointed out previously, in 1938. The original printing of the lithograph  bears as part of the legend (in print) the words "Taken From the Artist's Sketches. The Original Painting by Cassily Adams." The Original printings of the lithograph also have the signature (in script and on the print itself) "O. Becker" in the lower right-hand corner. Further, the original lithograph was prepared for publication by the Milwaukee Lithographic and Engraving Company (Milwaukee, Wis.) as is likewise stated in type as part of the legend. A query directed to the Milwaukee Public Library brought the interesting response that Otto Becker, a lithographer by trade, was so listed in the city directories of Milwaukee for the years 1890-1896, inclusive. 
Following this lead further, correspondence was established with Miss Blanche Becker of Milwaukee, daughter of Otto Becker. Miss Becker wrote at length concerning the work of her father who was foreman of the art department of the Milwaukee Lithographic and Engraving Company. A letter written by her father in 1933 states "I painted Custer's Last Stand in 1895. The original painting is still in my possession, but unfortunately, I was forced to cut it into pieces so that a number of artists could work on it at the same time, making the color plates."  The oil painting was subsequently patched together and restored by Mr. Becker and it was then acquired by Anheuser-Busch. The restored painting measures 24" by 40" and is now on display at the offices of Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis.  Becker, a one-time resident of St. Louis, had become acquainted with Adolphus Busch and after the acquisition of the Adams painting by Busch, plans were made to lithograph the paint-
ing. If we can believe the legend on the original painting "after the artist's sketches," Busch presented several sketches of Adams' work to Becker and Becker would therefore have the right of selecting and making his own composition.65 Part of the differences. between the two pictures can thus be satisfactorily accounted for. There is, however, the added possibility that in the restoration of the Adams painting in 1938, still other differences were introduced. The painting, after its several discoveries, was admittedly in very bad condition and, since no one was available who knew the original painting,  no guide would be available for the restorers. A bad stain or loss of considerable pigment in the background, for example, could be covered by the hill apparent in the painting. Its inclusion would have saved many hours of tedious toil in painting in again (if originally present) the very considerable detail that appears in the background of the lithograph. 
It seems probable in considering all of these facts that the differences between painting and lithograph are due to original differences produced in the lithography and to subsequent differences arising in the restoration. Since the lithograph, however, is the picture that is better known, the differences noted above, after all, are of minor importance. Some 150,000 copies of the large print have been distributed by Anheuser-Busch since the lithograph was first published in 1896, and in 1942, copies were being mailed out to servicemen and others at the rate of 2,000 a month .68 With this wide distribution of the lithograph it is probably safe to say that few dealers in the products of Anheuser-Busch have been without a copy of the lithograph and doubtless most of them have displayed the print. Some thirst emporiums may have had their original copies on display for the
fifty years of the print's existence; especially if they faithfully followed the instructions reportedly sent out with early copies of the lithograph, "Keep this picture under fly-netting in the summer time and it will remain bright for many years."
How many have seen and viewed the lithograph is, of course, any man's guess. An examination, however, will soon show that it is no work of art--if by work of art we mean an abject of beauty. But it is indeed a picture that tells a powerful, if melodramatic and horrendous, tale. Be it recalled, however, that it is no more melodramatic or horrendous, however, than was the event itself. Troopers are being brained, scalped, stripped; white men, Indians and horses are dying by the dozens; Custer with flowing red tie 69 and long ringlets is about to deal a terrible saber blow to an advancing Indian who in turn is shot by a dying trooper; and hundreds of Indians are pictured or suggested in the background.70 A careful survey of the lithograph is enough to give a sensitive soul a nightmare for a week. No doubt many a well meaning imbiber who has tarried too long with his foot on the rail and his eye on the picture, has cast hurried and apprehensive glances over his shoulder when a sudden yell from a passing newsboy brought him too swiftly back to the day's realities. The writer has one of these lithographs in his back laboratory which is occasionally shown to students, friends, and fellow university professors. The reaction of those who have never seen the picture before is always interesting to observe. Incredulous first glances are always followed by study of all the gory details. "Holy H. Smoke! Was it as bad as that?," was the comment of one university professor as he instinctively rubbed his bald pate. If not the best liked of all American pictures, it doubtless has been the most extensively examined and discussed of any.
Other events have also added to the fame of this remarkable picture. For example, not long after first publication, Adolphus Busch presented a copy of the lithograph to Gov. E. N. Morrill of Kansas. Morrill, who served as governor from 1895 to 1897, upon retiring
An informal photograph made in middle age. [Courtesy
Mrs. C. Cassilly Adams, Washington, D.C.
A photograph made about 1881. [Courtesy Miss Blanche
Becker, Milwaukee, Wis.
from office gave the picture to the State Historical Society. Just when it was put on display in that institution there is apparently no definite record, but from the activities of the late Carrie Nation in the early 1900's, there arose a considerable interest because the name of the brewer appeared in large letters beneath the lithographic print of "Custer's Last Fight." The prohibitionists of the state began to sit up and take notice when one of their number called attention to the fact that a beer advertisement was appearing in one of the state's public buildings. The notice became notoriety when on January 9, 1904, Blanche Boies, one of Carrie Nation's faithful followers, entered the State Historical Museum, then in the state house, with an axe in her hand and the light of grim determination in her eye. She advanced on the offensive advertisement of Messrs. Anheuser and Busch and crashed her axe through the picture. Secretary Martin of the Historical Society hastily called the police who politely escorted Blanche to the city jail where she languished until bailed out by her friends. The Topeka papers gave Blanche a very handsome writeup for her efforts and the press of the state followed suit. One account called attention to the fact, however, that such excursions were nothing unusual for this disciple of Carrie Nation, for she "had wielded her hatchet with destructive effect on numerous occasions in Topeka's illicit pubs." 
Blanche's well-intended efforts in protecting the morals of Kansas citizens were, alas, in vain. Some one immediately wired Anheuser-Busch for a new copy of "Custer's Last Fight" and the brewers responded promptly with the copy which now hangs in one of the hallways of the State Historical Society's building. Mr. Martin, however, did have the foresight to opaque out the names of the donors which appear on the legend beneath the picture.
The pictures of Mulvany and Adams have, as our account has shown, attracted wide interest for more than 65 years. Their efforts to recall the Custer tragedy, however, have not been the only ones. Because of the universal interest in this event it seems worth while to make a list of other pictures of Custer's Last Stand. The list as presented below is probably not complete, as new ones-or at least new to the writer-are still being found. Many well-known as well as obscure artists have attempted to portray the
event. In the list which follows, some comment on the pictures has been made. Biographical information, when available, also has been included for the lesser known artists. Information about the better known artists can be secured from such useful handbooks as D. T. Mallett's Index of Artists (New York, 1935) and Supplement to Mallett's Index of Artists (New York, 1940). The list of other Custer pictures follows:
1881. In 1881, Dr. Charles E. McChesney, an army surgeon stationed at the
Cheyenne River Agency, South Dakota, secured an account of the Custer battle from
Red-Horse, a Sioux chief who took part in the battle. In addition to the
narrative. Red-Horse prepared a number of pictographs, many in color, on sheets
of manila paper about 24 by 26 inches in size. Although most primitive in design
and execution, one can still visualize details of dress, action and incident from
the pictographs. Nine of the sheets are reproduced in the Tenth Annual Report of
the Bureau of Ethnology. 
tysburg. Pierpont, the "executive artist" of the Custer piece, is said to have
visited the battlefield on the Little Big Horn before work was begun, and secured
photographs, interviewed some of Reno's survivors, and studied official reports.
On Pierpont's staff were M. M. Salvador-Mege, Ernest Gros and Emile Merlot who
painted the landscape of the cyclorama; the foreground figures on the huge
painting were the work of Chas. A. Corwin, Theo. Wendall, and G. A. Travers; E.
J. Austin was responsible for many of the distant figures and the Indian village.
A number of these artists are said to have worked on the Gettysburg cyclorama as
There is no record of the fate of this huge canvas.
1897. "We Circled All Round Him," Ernest L. Blumenschein, a full-page decorative illustration showing Custer in the faint background mounted on a horse. 
1899. "Gen. Custer's Last Battle," copyright by H. R. Locke. No further information available and it is not even certain from the legend that Locke was the artist. 
1902. "Custer's Fight-Little Big Horn River," by Edgar Cameron. One of four paintings prepared by Mr. Cameron for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The others in the series were "The Discovery of Pike's Peak," "The Burning of Fort Madison" and "The Founding of St. Louis." The Custer piece was reproduced as a color supplement to the Globe-Democrat for May 4, 1902. I have been unable to trace the original painting. 
1903. "Custer's Last Stand," Charles M. Russell. Reproduced in Outing, showing dead and dying troopers, the dim figure of Custer in the center.  A color reproduction of another Russell painting, "The Custer Fight." was published in Scribner's Magazine.  Indians only are distinctly visible, the troopers on the hill being nearly obscured by dust.
1908. "The Custer Battlefield," J. H. Sharp. One of 52 paintings exhibited by Mr. Sharp in St. Louis in 1908. Reproductions and the location of the original painting are unknown to the writer. 
1915. "Custer's Last Stand," by W. H. Dunton, reproduced in The Mentor. Present location of the painting unknown. 
1923. "Custer's Last Stand," by Theodore B. Pitman of Cambridge, Mass. The painting, 25 x 37 inches, was produced originally for illustration in The Frontier Trail, by Homer W. Wheeler.  It
was also reproduced in color as the jacket cover of Stanley Vestal's
Sitting Bull.  The original painting now hangs in Trumbell's
"Country Store" in Concord, Mass. 
most satisfactory picture of all the Custer battle scenes. The beautifully modeled foreground figures of Indian warriors and horses (see picture supplement) are shown realistically, and the imaginative effect in portraying Custer and his command dimmed by the clouds of battle dust is in keeping with the fact that many of the realities of the Custer battle are obscured by the passage of years and the battle of words since 1876. 
DR. ROBERT TAFT, of Lawrence, is professor of chemistry at the University of Kansas and editor of the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. He is author of Photography And the American Scene (Macmillan, 1938), and Across the Years on Mount Oread (University of Kansas, 1941)
1. Note that portraits have not been included in the above list. If such pictures were included, mention should be made of Whistler's "Mother" and Gilbert Stuart's "Washington." The story of Willard's "Spirit of '76" will be found in an interesting privately printed item of Americana by Henry Kelsey Devereux, The Spirit of '76 (Cleveland, 1926). I mention this fact because "The Spirit of '76" is probably the closest competitor for the author's candidates of popular favor, yet it is not mentioned in such histories of American art as Samuel Isham's The History of American Painting (New York, 1927), nor in Eugen Neuhaus, The History & Ideals of American Art (Stanford University, 1931). Neuhaus, however, does point out (p. 143) that when Hovenden's "Breaking Home Ties" was exhibited at the great Chicago Fair of 1893 "the carpet in front of it had to be replaced many times; it was easily the most popular picture of that period." Many years later the same picture was exhibited in San Francisco and St. Louis and was apparently as popular as ever.
The "September Morn" of Chabas attracted tremendous attention, partly because of the activities of Anthony Comstock, when it was first exhibited in this country in 1913 as can be seen by examining the New York Times Index For 1913. The widespread attention was but temporary, however, for "September Morn" is remembered now only. by oldsters who were impressionable youths at the time of its first appearance. The other paintings listed above are such well-known favorites that further comment seems unnecessary.
2. To the writer's mind, the most satisfactory biography of Custer is Frederic F. Van de Water's Glory-Hunter (Indianapolis, 1934). No sooner had it appeared, however, than it was the subject of violent and bitter criticism. No less a person than Gen. Hugh Johnson, of N. R. A. fame, despite a very obvious lack of knowledge, launched an attack on the book.
"General Johnson Rides to the Defense," Today, December 29. 1934, p. 16; see, also, the New York Times, December 27. 1934, p. 19, col. 6; December 28, 1934, p. 20, col. 4 (editorial); January 4, 1935. p. 20, col. 6. That the subject of Custer and the battle of the Little Big Horn is one of perennial interest is shown by the fact that in the last 25 years the index of the New York Times reveals that discussions, notices, letters, articles, etc., have appeared over 40 times. The most extensive bibliography of Custer material will be found as an appendix to Fred Dustin's The Custer Tragedy (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1939, 251 pp.). Mr. Dustin lists nearly 300 items in his bibliography which scarcely touch the truly voluminous mass of newspaper material on Custer which has accumulated since 1876. The Custer Tragedy bears evidence of painstaking and exhaustive work and is one of the most valuable sources of information on the battle of the Little Big Horn available to the student. Other Custer items that have come to the writer's attention since the publication of the Dustin book are: Charles J. Brill, Conquest of the Southern Plains (Oklahoma City, 1938), a severe criticism of Custer's Washita campaign; Edward S. Luce, Keogh, Comanche and Custer (St. Louis, 1939); Katherine Gibson Fougera, With Custer's Cavalry (Caldwell, Idaho, 1940); Charles Kuhlman, Gen. George A. Custer-also called Custer and the Gall Saga (Billings, Mont., 1940), by a real student of Custer's career; F. W. Benteen, The Custer Fight (Hollywood, Cal., 1940). published by E. A. Brininstool, another Custer student; William Alexander Graham, The Story of the Little Big Horn (sec. ed., Harrisburg, Pa., 1942), a standard work the first edition of which was published in 1926; Albert Britt, "Custer's Last Fight," Pacific Historical Review, Berkeley and Los Angeles, Cal.. v. 13 (March, 1944), pp. 12-20, undocumented; Fred Dustin. "George Armstrong Custer," Michigan History Magazine, Lansing, v. 30 (April-4 June, 1946), pp. 227-254. a biographical review.
3. See the classification of pictures suggested in the general introduction to this series, Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 14 (February, 1946), p. 2. Pictures of the Custer battle would be classed in the second and fourth groups there given.
4. It is worth a few moments of anyone's time to listen to the critical comments and the discussion of detail not immediately apparent, which result as groups of observers. both young and old, cluster around Adams' and Becker's 'Custer's Last Rally."
5. For those who wish, examination of the battlefield itself would be in order. According to Dustin, The Custer Tragedy, p. xi, some changes in the course of the Little Big Horn river have occurred since 1876 but the general features of the landscape, of course, remain the same.
6. Ibid., p. xiv. Reprinted through the courtesy of Mr. Dustin.
7. The Tepee Book (Sheridan, Wyo., June, 1916), p. 50.
8. New York Times, June 19, 1927. p. 13, col. 2.
9. The absurd pictorial climax of the Warner Brothers picture of 1941, They Died With Their Boots On, shows Custer, the final survivor, surrounded by a group of prostrate soldiers arrayed in new and scarcely wrinkled uniforms; see Life, December 8, 1941, pp. 75-78.
10. Dustin, The Custer Tragedy, p. 185; see, also. p. 184. The monument mentioned by Dustin above is one erected on the summit of the ridge overlooking the valley of the Little Big Horn river and is part of the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery, Crow Agency, Montana. On the monument are inscribed the names of those who fell during the battle. For the topography of the battle site, see the reproduction of the Morrow photograph of 1877 opposite p. 376. This photograph, by S. J. Morrow of Yankton, Dakota territory, is one of a group of 12 photographs made by Morrow, at the interment of the Custer soldiers in June and July, 1877.-See Robert Taft. Photography and the American Scene (New York, 1938), p. 307. The burial party which Morrow accompanied consisted of Company I of the 7th cavalry under the command of Capt. H. J. Nowlan. Captain Nowlan's command reached the military cantonment on the Tongue river on the way to the Custer battlefield on June 20, 1877, and after completing the burial returned to the cantonment on July 13, 1877. House Executive Documents, 45 Cong., 2 Sess., Doc. No. 1, Part 2 (Washington, 1877), v. 1, pp, 540, 544, 545. Further description of the burial party of 1877 will be found in Joseph Mills Hanson. The Conquest of the Missouri (Chicago 1909), Ch. 44.
11. Thomas B. Marquis, A Warrior Who Fought Custer (Minneapolis, 1931). Dr. Marquis has made a contribution of first rate importance to Custer literature in recording in simple language the story of Wooden Leg. Chapters VIII, IX, and X are devoted to the battle of the Little Big Horn.
12. Ibid., p. 245. Reprinted by permission of the copyright owners, The Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho.
13. Ibid., p. 219.
14. Ibid., pp. 224, 230, 243.
15. Ibid., pp. 229-231.
16. Ibid., p. 274. Marquis also attributed the low losses among the Indians to extensive suicide among the troops.
17. Dustin, The Custer Tragedy, p. 184.
18. Hamlin Garland. "General Custer's Last Fight As Seen by Two Moon," McClure's Magazine, New York City, v. 11 (September, 1898). pp. 443-448.
19. Ibid., p. 448.
20. Dustin The Custer Tragedy, p. 225.
21. Charles A. Eastman, "Rain-in-the-Face, The Story of a Sioux Warrior," New York, v. 84 (October 27, 1906), pp. 507-512. Rain-in-the-Face also stated that Custer fought with "a big knife [saber]." Two Moon (Garland, loc. cit.) reported a trooper (possibly a scout) who "fought hard with a big knife." These statements. as against the statement of Dustin (see page 365 of text) that no sabers were used, are difficult to reconcile and indicate some of the difficulties in obtaining specific facts with certainty at this late date. It should. of course. be noted, that the statements of Two Moon and Rain-in-the-Face are recollections made many years after the battle of 1876.
22. Dustin, The Custer Tragedy, p. 188; Marquis. op. cit., Chapter X; Eastman, loc. cit.
23. For the reader who wishes to review briefly the main features of the battle of the Little Big Horn the following summary may be useful:
During the summer of 1876, a vigorous and three-pronged campaign was planned by the U. S. army in an attempt to force the Plains Indians back to their reservations. One prong. led by Gen. A. H. Terry, came into present Montana from the east and reached the mouth of the Tongue river, where it empties into the Yellowstone river, early in June, 1876. Here, after some delay, the Seventh cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Custer (Col. S. D. Sturgis, the commanding officer of the Seventh, was on detached duty) was sent south by Terry to locate any concentrations of hostile tribes supposed to be in the open country of southeastern Montana. It was this move that led to the fateful engagement. About 12 or 15 miles from the scene of battle General Custer divided his command, the 7th cavalry, into four battalions, two of which were commanded by Custer personally, another was commanded by Major Reno and the fourth by Captain Benteen. At the time the division was made, the 7th cavalry was on a small tributary of the Little Big Horn. Captain Benteen's battalion was detached and ordered to move to the left and to scout and engage any hostiles encountered. Custer's and Reno's battalions proceeded down the tributary toward the Little Big Horn but on its opposite sides. Upon nearing the Little Big Horn, Reno received orders from Custer to advance across that stream and attack the Indians who were now believed to be close at hand in force. Custer turned to the right before reaching the Little Big Horn and soon found himself cut off from Reno and Benteen and overwhelmed by the Indians in the hills overlooking the river.
Reno, meanwhile, had encountered, after making contact with the Indians, such stiff resistance that he fell back to the river and was finally forced to re-ford it, taking refuge in the high bluffs above the river where he was joined by Benteen's command. Here the combined battalions were able to hold the Indians at bay for two days until relieved by General Terry and the infantry under his command. Reno's and Benteen's losses amounted to nearly 50 killed and a somewhat larger number wounded. The defense of the position on the hill [by Reno and Bentsen]," reads the official report of the court of inquiry, "was a heroic one against fearful odds."
This brief outline of the action of the 7th cavalry on July 25-27, 1876, is based on "General Orders No. 17," March 11, 1879, a report of the court of inquiry requested by Major Reno. It will be found quoted in Dustin, The Custer Tragedy, p. 210. Casualties of the 7th cavalry during the above days will be found in Appendixes II and III of ibid., pp. 225-280. The dead of Custer's immediate command totaled about 220. Ibid., p. 184.
Despite Reno's and Benteen's successful defensive stand against the overwhelming numbers of the Indians. the heroic action "against fearful odds" has scarcely attracted the attention of any artist.
24. This information on Mulvany's early life comes from obituaries in the New York Sun, May 23, 1906, p. 3, col. 1; New York Times, May 23, 1906, p. o; New York Tribune, May 23, 1906, p. 6, col. 6, and the American Art Annual, 1907-1908. v. 6, p. 112. The last account states that he was born about 1842 but does not state the source of its information. None of the above accounts specifically states that Mulvany was born in Ireland but in an eight-page pamphlet, Press Comments on John. Mulvany's Painting of Custer's Last Rally (no date, but published about 1882), there is a brief biographical sketch which doubtless was "prepared by Mulvany himself and which states that he was "an Irishman by birth. p. 8. col. 8, and the Art journal, v. 2
25. Chicago Times, August 13, 1882, supplement, (1876), p. 159. The Times account above states that "The Trial of a Horse Thief" was "now the property of a Boston gentleman." For reference to Mulvany in St. Louis, see Footnote 41.
26. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 2, 1881. p. 5, col. 1. lengthy description of Mulvany's newly-completed painting as well as an interview with the artist. It is of major importance in any estimate of Mulvany's painting.
27. Kansas City (Mo.) Times, March 17, 1881, p, 8. col. 3; March 19, 1881, p. 8. col. 3 Note that the Kansas City Journal account had appeared before the reporters as a group viewed the painting. Evidently it was the Journal description that whetted their appetites for they addressed a public letter to Mulvany requesting the privilege of seeing the painting, 28. Kansas City Journal, loc. cit.
30. Boston Evening Transcript, June 20, 1881, p. 6, cols. 3, 4. Part of the same account was reprinted (but credited to the Boston Advertiser) in the Kansas City Sunday Times, June 26. 1881. p. 5, col. 2. I am indebted to the reference department of the Boston Public Library for verifying the location of the Boston Transcript account. The account is given in the Mulvany pamphlet mentioned in Footnote 24, where it is credited to the Transcript of "June 21st. 1881." The pamphlet credits the account to "Ed. Clements."
31. New York Tribune, August 15, 1881. p. 5, col. 5. Whitman reprinted this account in his Specimen Days, first published in 1883; see Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works (Philadelphia, 1897), p. 186.
31. New York Tribune, August 15, 1881. p. 5, col. 5. Whitman reprinted this account in his Specimen Days, first published in 1883; see Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works (Philadelphia, 1897), p. 186.
32. Quoted in the Mulvany pamphlet cited in Footnote 24 and credited to "Mr. Allison." The pamphlet dates the account "December 18, 1882." Miss Edna J. Grauman of the reference department. Louisville Free Public Library, has very kindly made an examination of the Louisville newspapers of the above date but could find no reference to the Mulvany picture. An examination of the Louisville Commercial for December 18, 1881, p. 2, described the painting and the Louisville Courier-Journal for December 18, 1881, p. 4, also had mention of the painting as follows:
"This grand work of art is drawing crowds daily to the Polytechnic Society. At the special request of nearly all who see it season tickets have been issued at fifty cents each, entitling the holder to admission at all times, visitors on entering the room stand in awe and admiration for hours in some instances. It is truly the most thrilling and realistic picture ever brought to this city. The exhibition room adjoins the Polytechnic Library, entrance on the north side."
Miss Grauman also identified "Mr. Allison" as Young E. Allison, prominent Louisville writer and editor.
33. Mention and extensive discussion appear in the Chicago Times, August 6, 1882, supplement, p. 5, col. 8; August 13, 1882. supplement, p. 8, col. 8; August 20, 1882, p, 5, col. 8; August 27, 1882, supplement, p, 6, col. 8, and Chicago Tribune, August 13, 1882, p. 7. Col. 7. 1 am greatly indebted to Miss Frances Gazda of the Newberry library, Chicago, fm the above extensive array of information. Miss Gazda writes me that the last mention of display of the painting is reported on September 9, 1882. In addition to the newspaper mention of the painting given above, the Mulvany pamphlet (see Footnote 24) quotes from the Chicago Weekly Magazine, the Chicago Citizen, and still another account (not located) from the Chicago Times.
34. Chicago Inter Ocean, November 24, 1895, p. 35, col. 3, a six-paragraph account of Mulvany and his work.
35. Chicago Times, August 27, 1882, supplement, p. 6, col. 8. The Times for August 13. 1882, supplement, p. 8, Col. 8, mentions a painting "On the Alert," but whether it is a Western picture is uncertain.
36. Ibid., August 27, 1882, supplement, p. 6, col 8, reports that "it will be returned to New York and thence go to Paris for reproduction in photogravure"; see, also, Whitman's comment on p. 373. Mention of the exhibition of the painting in Chicago in 1890 is found in the concluding paragraph of the following account from the Denver Republican, September 23, 1890, p. 8, col. 2, which is reprinted in full as it gives considerable additional information on Mulvany's celebrity as an artist. I am indebted to Miss Ins T. Aulls, of the Western History department, Denver Public Library, for the account:
"Mr. John Mulvaney [sic], the artist who painted the celebrated picture of Custer's rally in the fatal fight of the Big Horn. is in Denver with friends. He arrived last Saturday night. For several weeks past he has been visiting his brother in Salida. He has been sketching all through the mountains during the past summer-up the Shavano range, along the line of the Colorado Midland and in the beautiful stretch of country about Marshall pass. His sketches, most of them, were done in colors. and many of them are paintings in themselves. From these rough and sketchy studies he proposes soon to give to the public some oil-paintings, on an elaborate scale, of the picturesque scenery of the Rockies.
"He has with him a new painting which he has just finished. It is entitled 'McPherson and Revenge.' It is an incident from the battles about Atlanta. The most prominent figure in it is General John A. Logan. He is riding down the front of the rifle-pits and the improvised breastworks. Ha is materializing out of a white cloud of smoke that the guns of both sides have sent rolling across the field of battle. His horse is as black as night; as black as his own tossed hair. He seems a genius or a demon of battle. The soldiers have sprung out [of] the breastworks. They are waving their hats in the air. shouting and yelling their enthusiasm for that Splendid leader, who is sweeping down their hue. The picture is full of color; full of action, and the portrait of Logan is a telling likeness. The painting is 12 x 6 feet in dimensions, and is framed in an elegant gilt frame, twelve inches broad. The picture was only finished recently. It was never exhibited before m its finished form. It was on exhibition at the national convention which nominated Harrison for president. Some of the speakers of that memorable convention referred to it. It was only an earnest then of what it would be.
"Mr. Mulvaney still has 'Custer's Last Rally' in his possession. It made his fame. The picture is now in Chicago on exhibition. It has made a small fortune for its painter."
37. New York
1906, p. 9.