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Famous animals - February 13, 2015

"Comanche" was the only 7th Cavalry survivor of the Custer Massacre in 1876.  Lots of Indians survived the battle. (Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress)

Q: On display at the University of Kansas for more than 100 years, this horse is believed to have been the last surviving member of George Custer’s 7th Cavalry after the Battle of Little Bighorn. What’s the name of this horse, which can still be seen at the KU Natural History Museum?

Custer's Last Fight, painted by Cassilly Adams, which depicts the Battle of Little Bighorn. (Image via Kansas Historical Society / kansasmemory.org)

A: Comanche
 
The KU Natural History Museum is the home of Comanche, the horse ridden by Captain Myles Keogh at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. After General George Custer’s 7th Cavalry detachment clashed with Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors in the battle, Comanche was the sole survivor of Custer’s detachment left wandering the battlefield. The Battle of Little Bighorn, sometimes called Custer’s Last Stand, left Comanche seriously wounded. However, the horse was nursed back to health and returned to Fort Riley, where the 7th Cavalry had been formed. After Comanche died, the animal was taxidermied at the University of Kansas, where it has remained. It was first displayed at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. In 2005, museum staff completely restored the mount and created a new display on the fourth floor. Comanche is one of the most visited exhibits in the museum.

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