Sunday, July 25, 2010

Giovanni Martini: The Luckiest Cavalry Trooper

Giovanni Martini (who had anglicized his name to John Martin) was a trumpeter in the 7th cavalry regiment. At 15:30 (that’s 3:30 p.m. to you civilian types) on June 25, 1876, trooper Martin was riding along with 210 other troopers in a column behind Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer when they came to a rise and looked down to see the most enormous Indian village any of them had ever seen. Colonel Custer called Martin to his side, and had his adjutant write up an order to Captain Benteen (Custer wasn’t sure that Martin could make himself understood due to his thick Italian accent). The order read “Come on. Big village. Come quick. Bring packs.” And with Custer’s order in hand, trooper Martin rode back to meet captain Benteen’s column.

The last thing he ever heard from Custer was a shout of “Now we have them, boys!” Martin managed to make it back to Captain Benteen although Martin’s horse did stop an Indian bullet. Martin was destined to die in Brooklyn in 1919. He had another 43 years to live. The other 200 men with Custer had about 43 minutes.


Rex, the Wonder Blog said...

Great site with lots of solid info. Except for Martin's true surname. He was named Giovanni Martino before coming to America, and was raised by a family after being abandoned as a baby. Check out this excellent site for more info:

The researcher expects to publish the whole story soon!

LS said...

"Custer's Bugler: The Life of John Martin (Giovanni Martino)" was published in early 2012 (Universal-Publishers, Inc. of Boca Raton, FL). So far, the reviews have been solid, with most praising the intense research. The site referenced above ( has more information including excerpts and a ton of photos not included with the book. Thanks.

LS said...

Oh, one more thing: Woof.