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  Custer’s First Messenger!?

Debunking the Story of Sergeant Daniel A. Kanipe


This work is the product of five years of extensive research, the culmination of which debunks a story which has been held as fact for over 135 years.  It clearly establishes that Sergeant Daniel A. Kanipe was not a messenger sent back by Lt. Colonel Custer and neither carried nor delivered a message to or for any officer of the 7th United States Cavalry.

On June 25, 1876, the 7th Regiment, United States Cavalry, a then modern Army unit under the command of an iconic Civil War hero, engaged an overwhelming force of hostile, Stone Age like warriors.  This battle resulted in the most humiliating loss the United States Army ever suffered on American soil. 

One aspect that has been universally accepted to this very day is that Custer sent two “orders” back to the other battalions of the command.  The first “order” was verbal, and it is alleged to have been delivered by Sergeant Daniel A. Kanipe, to Captain McDougal, commander of the pack train guard.

When researching Kanipe’s claims, his purported role of messenger, and his self proclaimed hero status as noted in the many versions of the story told by him or in his name; one finds that none of his claims are supported by fact. Kanipe’s role, presence, and effect on the Reno Court of Inquiry are thoroughly examined along with the rationale beyond why Kanipe was not called to testify.

In depth analysis of why Kanipe was in the valley when he meets Benteen and what he really intended to do in the valley.  His failure to mention and/or pass Boston Custer is analyzed and the effect this has on Kanipe’s veracity is noted.

There were no verbal orders for Captain McDougal, as claimed by Sergeant Daniel Kanipe.  Most every statement that Sergeant Kanipe ever made with regard to conduct or aftermath of the Battle of the Little Big Horn was a blatant lie.  The story of Sergeant Daniel Kanipe and its influence on the history of the Battle of the Little Big Horn must now be purged to remove the erroneous twists it has added.

For the first time ever, the relationship between Daniel A. Kanipe and Walter Mason Camp is examined in depth and the potential effect this relationship had on Walter Mason Camp’s theories regarding the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Every theory of how the Battle of the Little Big Horn was fought must be revisited and revised.  For now it is known, that it is an absolute fact that Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer sent back a single solitary order, and that was the written order delivered by Private Giovanni Martini to Captain Frederick Benteen.  Upon learning the truth, every battle student will have to revise their theory of how the Battle of the Little Big Horn began, what actions Lt Colonel Custer took in the early stages of the battle, and expurgate from their concept of the battle all the bogus tales told by Sergeant Daniel A. Kanipe.

Contained within this book are over 25 letters from Daniel A. Kanipe to Walter Mason Camp and nine photographs of Daniel A. Kanipe and the Little Big Horn Battlefield all of which are believed to be previously unpublished.