Book solves 130-year mystery of Custer’s battle
By media release
Jun 28, 2006
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June 25, 2006 – Cross Publications has released its newest title, Custer’s Lost Officer,  subtitled the Search for Lieutenant Henry Moore Harrington, 7th U.S. Cavalry.

After Custer’s defeat in June of 1876 the remains of three 7th Cavalry officers could not be located.  One of those missing officers was Lieutenant Henry Harrington of Company C, 7th Cavalry.  For 128 years Lieutenant Harrington has been listed as MIA (missing in action).  While researching the anthropological holdings of the Smithsonian Institution, the author discovered the remains of Harrington, unidentified, in the museum’s anthropological collection.  Subsequent forensic analysis performed both by the author and the anthropological department of the museum shows that the remains are indeed those of Lieutenant Harrington.

“While researching the records of the physical remains I solved a second long standing mystery.”  The author stated, “I discovered that young Lieutenant Harrington is the soldier the Sioux warriors honored with the title of ‘The bravest man the Sioux ever fought’.”
The author, Walt Cross, recently discussed Harrington with another researcher who quipped that, “Finding Harrington, is tantamount to finding Amelia Earhart,” a reference to the woman pilot who disappeared in the South Pacific under mysterious circumstances while flying around the world in 1937.

Harrington, an 1872 graduate of West Point, served with General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry more than four years before his death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  Before his fateful encounter with the Sioux on June 25, 1876 Harrington rode with the 7th Cavalry during the Yellowstone Campaign of 1873, and the Black Hills Expedition of Exploration in 1874.  During the Little Bighorn battle, because his captain was temporarily assigned other duty, Lieutenant Harrington was in command of Company C, a unit of Custer’s five-company battalion.  While the rest of the regiment fought under Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen, Custer’s battalion, outnumbered as much as ten to one, was killed to a man by the Sioux and Cheyenne warriors of the Yellowstone country.

“Popular literature of the time refers to the destruction of Custer’s command as a massacre.  In point of fact it was a military defeat by superior numbers of warriors.”  Cross explains.  “The bulk of the battalion, consisting of companies E, F, I, and L disintegrated quickly under the Indian assault.  But Company C under the command of Lieutenant Harrington charged the surging warriors and then made a fighting withdrawal, staying together as a tactical unit until reaching Last Stand Hill.  There, Harrington organized a final mounted breakout after Custer’s death.  What happened to him after that is what the book is about.”

Lieutenant Harrington’s remains were never located on the battlefield.  After Harrington’s disappearance his wife Grace, believing he was a captive of the Sioux, traveled through what was then Indian Territory, pausing for a time in Eufaula on her way west.  For three years Grace Harrington haunted the environs of the battlefield.  looking for her beloved Henry.  

“The book is not just the story of a valiant and dashing cavalryman, but the story of a family trying to bring closure to a painful loss.”
Cross was able to locate Henry’s great grandson John B. Harrington of Washington D. C., himself a retired Army colonel. 

“John was kind enough to write the foreword to my book inspired by Henry, his great grandfather," Cross stated.  "John also is a graduate of West Point and served as an armored cavalryman.  During the Vietnam War John was decorated no less than three times for gallantry in action.  If there is such a thing as inheriting valor, John took after his frontier ancestor.”

Information on the book is available online at or by emailing Cross Publications at