1SGT James Butler

1SGT James Butler

Birth
Albany, Albany County, New York, USA
Death 25 Jun 1876 (aged 31–32)
Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA
Burial Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA
Plot Mass Grave Last Stand Hill
Memorial ID 14663448 · View Source
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1st Sgt Butler was the veteran 1st Sergeant of the 7th U.S. Cavalry. He was described as 5'5", grey eyes, sandy hair with a ruddy complexion. His civilian occupation was farmer. Butler first enlisted, with the consent of his mother, into the army on April 3, 1860 at Albany NY.

On September 5, 1860, he arrived at Ft Garland, New Mexico & was assigned to the 2nd US Cavalry. After several re-enlistments Butler was assigned to L Company, 7th US Cavalry at Ft Leavenworth, KS on June 26, 1870. L Company was commanded by Lt James Calhoun, LTC George Custer's & Capt Tom Custer's brother-in-law.

At the Battle of the Little Bighorn, L Company was attached to LTC Custer's Battalion. Two days after the battle, Butler's remains was one of the first bodies found. His body, described as scalped and mutilated, was discovered some distance from the main battlefield on or near (depending on which witness account) a ridge overlooking Medicine Tail Coulee Ford & the Little Bighorn River. There were no other bodies reported as being found in this area.

Surrounding & under Butler's body were numerous spent cartridge casings. The many casings appeared to indicate that Butler, who was a known marksman, had put up a good fight, before dying from several wounds.

Over the years there has been a lot of speculation regarding why this senior sergeant died alone & so far from the main battlefield & his comrades. It is believed by many researchers that Butler could have been dispatched as one of several couriers to hurry along Maj Reno & Capt Benteen.

Warrior particpants of the battle in later interviews reported pursuing a lone soldier from Calhoun Ridge for a long distance. Just as the pursuing warriors decided to give up on the chase; the soldier, for unknown reasons, suddenly stopped and dismounted. The warriors quickly moved in on him. It is possible that this lone soldier was Butler.

Butler was originally buried near where his marker stands today. In 1881 all known battlefield burials were moved to a mass grave on Last Stand Hill.

On October 21, 1881, his mother was awarded a survivor's pension. The mother was unaware that her son had married, & her pension was rescinded and awarded to his widow.


  • Created by: Randy
  • Added: 20 Jun 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14663448
  • Randy
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1SGT James Butler (1844–25 Jun 1876), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14663448, citing Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument, Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA ; Maintained by Randy (contributor 46846747) .