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Finding aid of the Keogh Family Papers and Photographs
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography
  • Container list

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Keogh Family Papers and Photographs
    Dates: 1856-1894
    Bulk Dates: 1865-1890
    Collection number: 89.218
    Creator: Keogh, Myles Walter, 1840-1876.
    Collection Size: .5 linear feet
    Repository: Autry National Center. Institute for the Study of the American West
    Los Angeles, CA 90027
    Abstract: Correspondence, papers and photographs of Keogh returned to his family in Ireland after his death, together with letters received by the family relating to Keogh, and newspaper clippings. The family assembled two albums to honor the memory of Keogh, the first containing original documents and photographs and the second comprising a letter book relating to his service record.
    Physical location: Autry Library
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://www.autrynationalcenter.org/research_application.php or contact library staff at (323) 667-2000.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry Library, Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item identification] Keogh Family Papers and Photographs, 89.218. Autry Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by Noel Kehoe.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Myles Keogh was born on March 25, 1840 in Orchard, Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland to John and Margaret Keogh. After finishing school in Leighlinbridge, he attended St. Patrick's College in Carlow.
    Keogh had a distinguished military career in both Italy and the United States. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Irish Battalion of St. Patrick during the Papal War in 1860. After the war ended, he remained at the Vatican and served as part of the Papal Guard. For his service in the Papal War, he received a Papal Medal and the decoration of The Order of Saint Gregory the Great.
    Keogh left Italy for the United States in 1862 to volunteer for service in the Civil War. He served under Brigadier General James Shields, Brigadier General John Buford, General McClelland and General Stoneman, and fought in numerous important Civil War battles including the Battle of Gettysburg. By the end of the Civil War in April of 1865, Keogh had fought in over 80 battles, been taken prisoner with General Stoneman, and was promoted to Major.
    After the Civil War, Keogh joined the regular army as Captain in the 7th Cavalry under Custer. He was the 4th Senior Captain of that regiment, and commanded Troop I. From 1866 to 1876, Keogh served as Inspector-General to the staff of General Alfred Scully; enforced government policy concerning the Ku Klux Klan and bootlegging; and escorted the Northern Pacific Boundary Survey on the U.S. Canadian border. He did not participate in Custer's winter campaign of 1868, or the skirmishes in the Yellowstone area and the Black Hills in 1874. His service during these ten years was punctuated by sick leave and a number of trips back to Ireland; he also became engaged to Nelly Martin of the wealthy Throop-Martin family of Auburn, New York. Keogh also became a U.S. Citizen on August 25, 1869, in New York.
    Keogh fought and died with Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876. On that day, Keogh was second-in-command, leading his own troop in addition to several others. Custer's and Keogh's bodies were the only ones that were not scalped or mutilated in any way after the battle. Keogh's body was found near his mount, Comanche, as well as the dead bodies of his own troop. Initially, both he and Custer were buried at the battleground. Keogh was later re-interred with full military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York. Comanche was nursed back to health and then sent to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he remained until his death in 1891.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Correspondence, papers and photographs of Keogh returned to his family in Ireland after his death, together with letters received by the family relating to Keogh, and newspaper clippings. The family assembled two albums to honor the memory of Keogh, the first containing original documents and photographs and the second comprising a letter book relating to his service record. Loose materials in the albums (correspondence, papers, photographs, and newspaper clippings) have been housed in separate folders Collection includes letters from United States government and military officials (1865-1866) supporting Keogh's application for a commission after the Civil War. Correspondents include Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, General George Wheeler Schofield and General Alvan Gillem. An order from General Samuel Sturgis (April 10, 1878) pertains to Keogh's horse, Comanche, which survived the battle. Letters received by Keogh's sister Margaret relate to his bravery and death in battle. Included are Keogh's commission papers as Brevet Lieutenant Colonel (March 13, 1865) and Captain (July 28, 1866); his U.S. citizenship papers (August 25, 1869); and his passport (August 26, 1869). Photographs include six of Keogh in uniform and civilian dress, one of his grave, and one of Margaret Martin with a child. Also included are newspaper clippings relating to the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and to Comanche (dates for Schofield, Sturgis, and Gillem verified in: Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965).


    Organization: 1. Family albums and correspondence (folders 1-3); 2. Commission papers, passport and citizenship certificate (folders 4-7); 3. Photographs of Keogh (folders 8-13); 4. Newsclippings (folders 14-15)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Keogh, Myles Walter, 1840-1876.
    United States. -- Army. -- Officers
    United States. -- Army. -- Cavalry -- History -- Sources.
    Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876.
    Military orders
    Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869
    Schofield, George Wheeler, d.1882
    Sturgis, Samuel Davis, 1882-1889
    Gillem, Alvan Cullom, d.1875

    Langellier, John P., Kurt Hamilton Cox and Brian C. Pohanka, eds. Myles Keogh: the Life and Legend of an Irish Dragoon. El Segundo, Calif.: Upton and Sons, 1991.

    Container list

    Box 1
    Folder 1: Family album Leather bound notebook with written letters in first few pages. Includes two newspper clippings describing the battle at Little Big Horn and Captain Myles Keogh's obituary (laid in). Front cover is embossed with Myles's Letters.
    Folder 2: Correspondence, 1865-1894 (9 letters) Letters removed from scrapbook, located in box 2. Four concern Keogh's military service; they include a letter, dated July 18, 1876, notifying Keogh's sister of Keogh's death. There are also 4 letters dated 1877 and 1878 and addressed to Margaret, from Nelly. These are letters that Nelly Martin, Keogh's intended, wrote to Keogh's sister after his death.
    Folder 3: Commission papers Commission certificate bestowing the rank of Captain in the 7th Regiment of cavalry to Myles Keogh, dated July 26, 1866. Signed at bottom by Secretary of State Edwin Stanton and President Andrew Johnson. Confirmed on March 1, 1867.
    Folder 4: Commission papers Commission paper certifying Myles Keogh, of the U.S. Volunteers, the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by Bervet on March 13, 1865. Signed at bottom by Secretary of State Edwin Stanton and President Andrew Johnson.
    Folder 5: Passport Removed from scrapbook, located in box 2. Dated August 26, 1869.
    Folder 6: Citizenship Certificate Citizenship certificate for Myles Keogh admitted as U.S. Citizen on August 25, 1869, in New York.
    Folder 7: Photograph, Papal Army, 1860 Cabinet photograph of Keogh when a lieutenant in the Pontifical Zouaves, taken in Rome, 1860. He wears at Papal Guard uniform and Papal Campaign medals. Photo is copied from a carte de visite and has an inscription on the back.
    Folder 8: Photograph and scrap of paper, 1864 Photograph of Point Lookout above the Tennessee River in Georgia, 1864.
    Folder 9: Photograph, Civilian dress, October 5, 1875 Cabinet photograph of Colonel Myles Keogh, of the U.S. Army, taken in Louisville, KY, October 5, 1875. Includes inscription on the back of the card.
    Folder 10: Photograph, General Buford and Aides-de-Camp, n.d. Cabinet photograph of Colonel Keogh standing at left with four of his colleagues to the right.
    Folder 11: Carte-de-Visite, n.d. Carte de visite of seated woman holding child on lap. Appears to be addressed to Margaret, whose correspondence is housed in folder 2.
    Folder 12: Photograph, n.d. Bust portrait of Colonel Myles Keogh of the 7th Cavalry. In civilian dress. Taken in Louisville, KY.
    Folders 13 and 14: Newsclippings, 1870-1890 (approximately) Removed from scrapbook, located in box 2. Folder 13 contains the original clippings; folder 14 contains copies of the clippings that should be used by researchers.
    Box 2: Scrapbook