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Collection 515 - William H. White Diary, 1876 Jan. - July

Creator: White, William H., b. 1854

Provenance Note: Photocopy of a typed transcription prepared by Jim Annin, Columbus, Montana was donated by him to Montana State University in 1967. Annin's transcription was taken from another previously prepared by Helen Peterson of the Hardin Tribune Herald. The original diary kept by William White was, at the time of Annin transcription, in the posession of Peggy Kopac of Billings, Montana, but its present location is unknown.

Historical Note: William H. White was born on 6 Nov. 1854 in Indianapolis, Ind., to Robert and Rebecca White. Orphaned at the age of six, he lived in Indiana until 1872 when he enlisted in the army. From 1873 to 1877 he served with the 2nd United States Cavalry regiment at Fort Ellis, Montana Territory. White's company participated in the 1876 campaign against the Sioux marching with the "Montana Column" from Fort Ellis. Two nights after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, White's company came upon the site of Custer's and Reno's stands. He participated in the evacuation of Reno's wounded and the burial of some of the dead. About 1889, White settled near Columbus, Mont., where he owned 640 acres of farmland. Towards the end of his life he worked as an informal guide at the Custer Battlefield monument. White died in 1938.

Content Description Note: Diary describing garrison life and his experiences in the field, including the march of the Montana Column of Colonel John Gibbon in the 1876 campaign against the Sioux. The entries date from January 1 through July 23, 1876 and describe White's life at Fort Ellis, his periodic visits to Bozeman, a march down the Yellowstone to Fort Pease to relieve the garrison and its subsequent burning on March 6, 1876, incidents occuring during the march of the Montana Column starting in April, and clearing the battlefield on June 27 after the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

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Updated: 3/20/12