Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...
Ferdinand Widmayer's Story of the Battle
THE STORY OF PRIVATE FERDINAND WIDMAYER
SAYS HEARD Trumpeter Fisher2 say that he helped Hodgson across river in Reno's retreat. Sure Sterland3 left at Powder River. Slept with him in wagon there on rainy night. Sure mules - swings and leaders - taken for packs. Wheelers kept at Powder River. Says Bloody Knife went with Reno's scout. He recalls this well because after Reno had gone the boys said did not see how Custer could go anywhere without Bloody Knife.
Says Sgt. Carey4 was not left in timber when Reno retreated. Says there were three. Says might have been Trumpeter Weaver. Geo. Weaver called "Cully" Weaver. Geo. Weaver died at Ft. Meade. Thinks Trumpeter Weaver left in timber.5
Sure David Ackison, Co. E, left at Powder.6 Sure Jerry Woodruff, Co. E, left at Powder. Says Hiram E. Brown of F went with packs. Widmayer had to turn over 2 mules to him which he took with the command for packs. Says Rooney with troop at Little Bighorns saw Nathan Short. Heard that a dead soldier was found and went to see him. Bones of man and horse and carbine were found. Sling belt still on the skeleton. Says was near the Rosebud. Body lay out in open space near some brush but not in brush. No log near the remains. A good many went to see it. Sure this was before met Crook. Sure the bones of a horse also there. Says body had been dead a long time and clothing rotted. If this is correct could not have been Short, but he says the talk at the time was that it was supposed to have been one of Custer's men who got away. Says the remains of the man were buried there.
Walter Mason Camp's Notes:
1. Walter Camp field notes, folder 43, BYU Library. Ferdinand Widmayer, born in Germany, enlisted on September 26, 1873. At the time of the Little Bighorn River fight he was on detached service from Company M at Yellowstone Depot on the Powder River. He retired as color sergeant and resided in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
6. David Ackison was a private in Company E and was absent because of illness at Yellowstone Depot; and Jerry Woodruff, also a private in Company E, was on detached service at Fort A. Lincoln. Hiram E. Brown, a private in Com pany F, was on detached duty in the Quartermaster Department, and James M. Rooney, a private in Company F, was with the pack train on June 25.
Custer in '76: Walter Camp's Notes on the Custer Fight, edited by Kenneth Hammer, Brigham Young University Press 1976 p 145 - 146
Although Ferdinand Widmayer was on detached duty at Yellowstone Depot on the Powder River at the time of the battle, his story of the Seventh Cavalry trooper's body found near the Rosebud afterwards is a valuable eye-witness account.