Newspaper Rectifies Record on Custer’s Last Stand

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The "Bismarck Tribune," the first newspaper to report the battle at the Little Bighorn and the annihilation of Custer's five copanies rectifies the record after 13 decades by pointing to a new book.

John Koster has written a compelling new book that debunks the myth that no soldiers survived Custer’s Last Stand

The "Bismarck Tribune," the first newspaper to break the news of the devastating defeat of George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, appeared to reach across thirteen decades to rectify its reportage of the famous battle. On July 6, 1876, relying on inadequate military records, the "Tribune" reported its breaking news under the headline,” No officer or man of 5 companies left to tell the tale.” Stunned and shocked Americans across the nation embraced the news that every man in Custer’s immediate command was killed. Demagogues across the land reinforced the belief until it was universally accepted. Author and historian, John Koster, however, pulled back the cover of time and found evidence of an actual survivor which he presents in his new book "Custer Survivor."

Through careful search in public and private records and presenting the findings of five handwriting experts, Koster unearthed evidence that the second sergeant of C Company did escape through inadvertent action.“ This is "prima facie" evidence that would be conclusive in any court of law,” Koster says. “The credentials of the experts are without question.”

With evidence presented, on December 24, 2009, the "Bismarck Tribune" appeared, through its review of "Custer Survivor," that it was rectifying the record ( Jeff Towner reviewing the book wrote in his strong lead, “John Koster has written a compelling new book that debunks the myth that no soldiers survived Custer’s Last Stand.” Towner went on to write a thorough analysis of the book writing in conclusion that it is “a fascinating example of one man’s part in one of the seminal events in American history.”

The "Bismarck Tribune’s" review of "Custer Survivor" follows that of the "Library Journal" ( It awarded "Custer Survivor" its highest rating, a starred and “highly recommended,” in its pre-publication review for the American libraries and Midwest Book Review in its recent December review of "Custer Survivor" for readers of history, gave it a five star rating and wrote that it is “thought provoking” (

John Koster is the author of "The Road to Wounded Knee" and has writen extensively for magazines such as "American Heritage," "Civil War Times Illustrated," "Military History" and "Wild West." He was the recipient of the SDX Award for Distinguished Public Service.

"Custer Survivor" 9781833909035, paperback at $16.95 is published by Chronology Books imprint of History Publishing Company and will be in bookstores nationally January 2.


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