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Annals of Journalism Open Thread: Mark Kellogg


Never heard of Mark Kellogg? Well, you should: he was the New York Herald reporter who perished with Custer and the Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He deserves to be honored in the same breath with Ernie Pyle and all the other war correspondents who died in battle.


One of his last dispatches described Custer thus:

And now a word for the most peculiar genius in the army, a man of strong impulses, of great hearted friendships and bitter enmities, of quick, nervous temperament, undaunted courage, will and determination; a man possessing electrical mental capacity and of iron frame and constitution; a brave, faithful, gallant soldier, who has warm friends and bitter enemies; the hardest rider, the greatest pusher, with the most untiring vigilance, overcoming seeming impossibilities, and with an ambition to succeed in all things he undertakes; a man to do right, as he construes the right, in every case; one respected and beloved by his followers, who would freely follow him into the “jaws of hell.” Of Lieutenant Colonel G. A. Custer I am now writing. Do not think I am overdrawing the picture. The pen picture is true to life, and is drawn not only from actual observation, but from an experience that cannot mislead me.

Four days later, they were all dead.

If you’re a Custerologist — or even if you’re not — be sure to check out Nathaniel Philbrick’s riveting new book, The Last Stand. You won’t be sorry.

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