The Colonel from Leighlin who died in one of the greatest battles to grip the public imagination The Battle of the Little Big Horn or what became known as Custer's Last Stand.

The story of Myles Keogh is one of panache, adventure, bravery, and sacrifice all packed into a relatively short life span of thirty six years. Born at Orchard, Leighlinbridge on 25 March, 1840 his tumultuous career started at the age of 20 when he joined the Papal Army of Pius IX. As a lieutenant in the Battalion of St. Patrick, he saw battle for the first time when he distinguished himself in the defence of Ancona for which he was decorated by the Pope. Fellow Leighlin man and school mate, William J Delaney S.J.who was studying in Rome at the time became chaplain to the battalion. When the short war to unite Italy ended, the lack of excitement in regular service led him to seek further adventure.

Shortly after the out break of the American Civil War, Carlow's soldier of fortune joined the Federal Army, took part in 80 battles, was decorated many times while being wounded only once. While in his mid twenties, he acted as a commander of 3 000 cavalry men with the rank of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. Later he joined the peace time army as a captain and found himself in the 7th US Cavalry Regiment under the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer.
In the Summer of 1876, the centenary of American Independence, a large scale campaign was waged against the Sioux, Cheyenne and other Indian nations in what is now the states of Montana and North and South Dakota. It was in the valley of the Little Big Horn, a desolate plain, that the Indians won the last battle to protect their inheritance over General Custer's forces, later known as Custer's Last Stand. Comanche, Keogh's horse and faithful servant for eight years was the only survivor on the battle field. It is said that all of the bodies were scalped and mutilated except those of General Custer and Myles Keogh

Sioux accounts of the battle indicate the great efforts made by one cavalry officer to rally his men. The Sioux chief, Red Horse speaking of the battle in 1881 referred to an officer who rode a horse with four white feet.... The Sioux say this man was the bravest they had ever fought.

So highly was Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Myles Keogh regarded in the Army of the United States of America that a new fort close to the battlefield was named fort Keogh in his honour. No longer a military post, fort Keogh is now a US research station..

You can see a larger picture (72K) of Myles Keogh here.

to RTC Carlow
MN 30th May 1995